From the time I was a little girl, I always struggled with placing the opinion others may have had of me ahead of what I knew what was true within myself. I would rely on the approval of others to let me know I was doing the right thing. I would seek validation from people who never had my best interest in mind. I lived in constant fear of being disliked by those around me.
Coming to college really helped me to understand that the only person I should strive to please is God. No one knows what’s best for me better than the One who knew me before I arrived here on Earth.
After I finally gave God the space to work on my heart and my mind, I was able to let go of those irrational thoughts and feelings.
But now, I faced a new type of challenge of I would have to overcome. I began to deal with the constant fits of anxiety. Stressing about the day to day tasks, big and small. I’d procrastinate with my work. Claiming it was due to the thought that “I work the best under pressure!” I would have consistent ideas that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t capable.
It had hit me that only person left standing in my way of being the person I am called to be, was me. After building my identity on the opinions of others, it was now time for me to deal with my own issues.
I would have to begin again, from the inside out.
So, at the beginning of this year, I asked God that He would strip away all the things within me that were not of Him. I asked Him to help me tear down the identity that I had built on the foundation of other peoples’ opinions and rebuild a new one created by Him.
Remember in Finding Fresh Focus when I said, “Be careful what you pray for?” Instantly, it was like God began knocking on my doorstep.
He began with the renovation of my mind.
The devil is described as the “Father of Lies and Half-Truths.” One of the many ways he upholds that title is through the thoughts he plants in our minds, disguised as our own.
At one point, I was beginning to believe the many lies the devil would whisper. And the thing with his lies is they always start really small, which may them more natural to latch onto.
Those tiny lies in my head like “this task is too hard” would build and snowball into “I shouldn’t even be in school. Howard is way too big of a place for me to handle.” He would feed me lies about myself, my abilities, my friends, and my surroundings.
So, when it came to knowing which were my own thoughts or the thoughts of the enemy, I knew of one place where I could find the truth: The Word
When I questioned if I was loved, Romans 8:38-39 reminded me that absolutely nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When I felt afraid or anxious, Deuteronomy 31:6 assured me that “He will never leave [me] nor forsake [me].”
When I felt weak, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 encouraged me to “boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I began to feed myself the truth found in God’s word. Whenever one of the enemy’s lies tried to infiltrate my mind, I was able to not only cast it down but combat it with the truth. I transformed my mind to align with what God said about me so that I would never have to question again.
He then began to work on my heart.
After recommendations from my close friends, I started following the messages of Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church on YouTube. My mama jokes with me that he is my real pastor because I faithfully watch his series every week.
At the beginning of the year, he uploaded a series entitled “2019 Vision//Release.” In this series, he discusses how for the entirety of 2019, God wants His people to release everything that may be holding us back, or even that we are holding onto, that is keeping us from being who God called us to be.
I was immediately overridden with emotion following the completion of the series and the ones that followed. When I told God that I was ready to let go of the identity that had been built up for so many years, it didn’t occur to me that facing issues of my past would be the 1st step of the process.
God began showing me the past hurts and past relationships that I thought I had forgiven long ago. He showed me that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was at forgiving.
I just was really good at compressing.
He forced me to face those unresolved issues and forgive those who may have hurt me or let me down. But most importantly, I had to forgive myself.
Releasing things from the past, I started to question who I really was. I was holding on to negative behavior, memories, and emotions so tightly that when I began to loosen my grip on them, it felt like I was losing myself too.
It felt scary to let go of the things that I thought made me who I was. It felt like I was losing my solid foundation and exchanging it for quicksand.
But the scripture Pastor Mike used in his sermon gave me insight as to why I felt this way.
“If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.”Proverbs 29:18 MSG
I couldn’t see then that the Lord was breaking down the foundation I was standing on, the identity I created, and it made me feel as if I was sinking in the sand. But when I was able to understand that He showed me these things so that I can realize they did not define me then and still don’t define me now, I could latch on to His hand for stability.
I had to retain what I learned from those moments but release myself from the guilt, shame, and everything else associated.
When I was able to finally release the things holding me back and the things I was holding on to, God was able to further reveal to me my identity in Him.
Knowing who I was in Him allowed me to gain new confidence. I was able to walk upright, knowing that I was marked by God. Knowing that I was set apart and different.
It’s never too late to ask God for an identity renovation.
People can be saved their entire lives and still not experience the fullness that God has called them to because they won’t allow Him to do some internal modifications.
I challenge you today to invite God to the doorstep of your heart and mind. Allow Him access to completely overhaul your life so that you may enjoy a new life in Him!