March 13, 2020

Don’t Listen to Yourself

On my way home from the movies recently, I was listening to the new album I bought—Look up Child by Lauren Daigle. The playlist was on shuffle, and suddenly from the speaker came the song ‘You Say.’

Now, I don’t know if it was because I had just watched Military Wives and was feeling all gooey (excellent movie) or because I’ve been thinking a lot about our upcoming pre-conference and Weekender (on our ‘Identity in Christ’ and ‘Voices’), but the lyrics of the first verse really stuck in my head.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know . . .
. . . In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

Who Are You Listening To?

When the guys planned the topics for the Weekender, they decided to focus on a book from our new First Steps series—Voices—written by Andy Prime. It’s a great little book that walks through the book of Proverbs. It struck me then that our women’s pre-conference actually complemented the Weekender topic.

You see, one of the loudest ‘voices’ I listen to is my own. If I’m honest, there are many times where I don’t speak well into my own life. I, like the lyrics from the song, fight the voice in my mind telling me I’m a fraud, not good enough, that I’ll never measure up. My inner-voice can be horrendous: I tell myself I’m ugly, I compare myself to others, I say to myself this time you’ve gone too far, God will never forgive you for this. . . . Ugh! Maybe you can relate.

In the Journal of Biblical Counselling, author Todd Stryd writes:

“Self-hate reveals itself in snippets and side comments. Sometimes you hear it audibly from others. Most often, it’s inaudible and comes from inside your own head. For you, it may be an everyday occurrence. For others, it creeps in during times of stress and weakness. Either way, when it happens, you are your own worst enemy, and despise yourself for it.”

Now, I know I’m not the only one who does this. Time and time again I sit with women who tell me the same sort of things—just their own personal version. Truth is, I don’t actually need anyone to give me a hard time because I’m usually doing a bang-up job myself. Twisted and sinful I know but, like Daigle’s lyrics, I keep fighting.

When I’m tempted to give this voice headspace, I physically tell myself the same thing I tell my girlies: I need to stop listening to myself and start talking to myself. That might sound crazy, but what I mean is that I need to stop listening to the lies in my head and my heart and instead remind myself of the truths found in God’s Word.

Stryd continues “Liberation happens when the person entrapped by self-hate hears a different voice. This voice challenges self-hate’s story and speaks the truth about identity, blame, and the rules of life. This voice is the voice of God.” So I need to remind myself of the glorious news that my identity is rooted firmly in Christ, and in Him alone. Stryd goes on to say, “Though he (God) accurately sees our weaknesses and sins, he defines our identity.” This has to be what we focus on—that God defines our identity.

Who We Really Are

Do you see how it all comes together? The truth that our identity is in Christ is the antidote to the lies of our inner voice. Look at how Peter describes it: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

According to Peter, we are:

  • A Chosen Race: or as some versions say, a ‘special house’. When we become Christians, we become “God’s ‘spiritual house’.” I love this. What a mind-melting privilege that God—the holy God of the universe—would choose to dwell in us by the Spirit. When God chose us, it wasn’t a mistake. It was for a purpose. This should impact how we see ourselves, and should help us fight the sinful lies of the flesh.
  • A Royal Priesthood: The first time I read Leviticus and encountered all the rituals and requirements for the priest to approach and enter the holy of holies, my brain was fried. And rightfully so. The priests were entering the very presence of God, so it was right that they were filled with awe and reverence. Yet now, today—this very minute—we can come into God’s presence, without performing any special rituals, because Christ is our great high priest. He entered the holy of holies once for all, (Heb. 9:24), so all who trust in Him can approach God with unrestrained confidence.

All too often, we try to find our identity in what we do, how we look, who we are married too (or not), our kids, or even what happened to us as kids. But our identity is about so much more than the mad thoughts we have about ourselves, the personal goals we achieved, or what other people think about us or have done to us.

Unshakable Identity

As we’ve looked at briefly here, our identity as Christians is firmly rooted in Christ—and in Him alone. We are God’s chosen race, set aside as His royal priesthood. This should be what defines us and brings meaning to our lives.

Yes, I know—some days that’s harder to do than others. You’ve had a glimpse into my unhelpful self-talk that sinfully twists things, placing me at the centre of my own universe. But we must fight on. Dethroning, usurping, dragging—if necessary—ourselves from the centre of our own universe and putting Christ in His rightful place. After all, if He’s worthy to sit on the throne of the universe, He’s worthy to sit on the throne of your life.

Let’s look again at 1 Peter 2:9 as we finish. Something strikes me at the end that encourages us to keep on keeping on. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

Nothing could be better. Not only do we have this marvellous truth, but we also have the glorious hope of what is to come, which is eternity with Him. This is what we need to tell ourselves daily. And when we do, we need to listen.

At the 20schemes Women’s Preconference, Fontaine Selway (Fonz), our women’s worker from Gracemount (Edinburgh) is going to be kicking off our conference with a session on 1 Peter 2:1–12.

To receive a copy of this session, sign up to our monthly newsletter at [email protected]. This month, our newsletter focuses on ‘introduce a women’s worker’ and aptly, Fonz is our focus.

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