You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you. (Isaiah 43:4, NIV)
All it takes is an instant for me to forget my royal identity and start labeling myself with lies. Like the time I froze up over a spatula while hosting a baby shower. I’d opened the doors of our tiny rental house, keenly aware of the four-foot scrape on the linoleum floor, and other dings and dents left by previous tenants. The pressure of playing hostess to a bunch of southern belles who knew how to act at a baby shower (way better than I did) was stifling. That’s when it happened. Someone asked for my cake server. Knowing I didn’t have one in the wedding-gift stash, I rummaged around in the junk drawer for an alternative. When I finally produced a semi-melted, black plastic spatula, I saw what looked like disdain as the other ladies scrutinized it.
And that’s when I froze. My spirit crushed as I accessed my most painful memories of being bullied in junior high school. In an instant, I was that sixth grade girl, fearful, weak, a nobody. I harshly labeled myself:
“You don’t fit in.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
How God Sees Me
Elijah knew his unique identity in the Lord. But he also knew labels. A prophet of God, he had a special message. One filled with heart for God’s people. And yet, King Ahab, with all his royal clout, labeled Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” Ouch.
I love how Elijah dealt with this, and the general dejection of running for his life:
He took care of business – divine business. Read the story of Elijah praying for fire down from heaven in 1 Kings 18:21-39. It’s awesome.
He got alone and took his heart to God. “I have had enough, LORD.” (1 Kings 19:4)
And what did God do? He provided for his needs.He fed him bread for the journey ahead.
So what can I learn from Elijah, who was human, just like I am? (James 5:17)
When I feel unloved, I take my hurts to God. He holds my hand and collects my tears in a bottle. (Isaiah 42:6, Psalm 56:8)
When I feel like nobody, I remember that I am precious and honored in God’s sight. (Isaiah 43:4)
When I feel like I don’t fit in, I remember He has not rejected me. (Isaiah 41:9, 10)
Friend, take your hurts to God. He’ll give you bread, sustenance, for the journey.
One Small Step
What lies are your inner bullies telling you? Are you listening to and affirming them?
Prayerfully write down who you are in God. Post on your bathroom mirror, your phone background, and above your kitchen sink. Let these beautiful truths sink in as they become louder than the mind clutter bullies.
“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.
No way, they all agree.
All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.
A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:
Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.
Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”
And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.
I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.
It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”
Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.
Learning to Trust God
After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.
I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.
I need to trust God to choose.
I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.
Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.
I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.
My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.
In this six-session Bible study (DVD/digital video sold separately), author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Lynn Cowell explores how confidence-in-question keeps us from boldly experiencing what God intends for our lives. Dive into six stories in the Bible of not-so-well-known women who found themselves needing confidence to make their move, and how they uncovered the faith to get it. Lynn encourages women to leave behind all the unnecessary insecurity this world induces and find confidence in God alone.
Learn from the Daughters of Zelophehad, the Women of Exodus, the Sisters of Bethany, Rahab, Debora, Abigail and Michal how to:
Intentionally build your confidence on the one thing that cannot be taken from you.
Recover from defeating decisions to move forward toward a strong self-worth.
Position yourself to not lose your poise—even in the worst circumstances.
Identify and address the fears that keep you stuck, with practical steps to walk in your calling with confidence.
This study is for any woman who’s ready to dig into God’s Word to find confidence and boldness to do great things. This book includes personal Bible study as well as group discussion questions. The study can be completed by individuals as well as in groups.
Designed for use with the companion Make Your Move Video Study (sold separately).
Are you afraid to make a move? Do you feel held back? Sometimes we can be the greatest force of holding ourselves back in life. But we can learn how to find confidence when our minds have already defeated us.
Listen in as Kathi interviews Lynn Cowell and they discuss the concepts in her new book, Make Your Move ~ Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears And Failures. Join in the conversation and be inspired to make your move from a place of paralyzing fear to an unshakable confidence in God’s promises.
**BONUS** Leave an answer in the comments section: “What would I be doing if I was not afraid?” and we will randomly pick three people in this next week to get a free copy of Lynn Cowell’s book.
Meet Our Guest
Lynn Cowell is a national conference speaker who is passionate about helping women of all ages understand the importance of Christ confidence. She is the author of several books including her newest for women Make Your Move: Finding Unshakable Confidence Despite Your Fears and Failures, and Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You just for girls ages 8 – 12.
Lynn’s messages equip women to:
Find their confidence and identity in God’s unfailing love, rather than in their own abilities.
Recover from defeating decisions to move forward toward a strong self-worth.
Identify and address the fears that keep them stuck, with practical steps to walk in their calling with confidence.
Lynn and her husband, Greg, have been married for over 30 years and are the parents of three young adults. They enjoy spending time together, especially when it combines the mountains, well-worn sweatshirts, and anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Lynn, her family, and the occasional backyard deer, live near Charlotte, North Carolina. Connect with Lynn today at www.LynnCowell.com and on Facebook and Instagram at Lynn Cowell.
Get Out from Overwhelmed!
Kickstart to Clutter Free
You can be free from Clutter once and for all. Get the Kickstart to Clutter Free eCourse today.