I remember as a young child being painfully shy. Anytime my parents would have people to the house, I would always hide in my bedroom (or closet to be more specific). I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house, so I had several hiding places there as well: a shelf in a spare bedroom closet, under a spare bed, in a cubby hole in the coffee table – yes, I was that little! I would run and hide anytime there was a visitor – even if I knew them. I remember hiding from my aunt, uncle and cousins at times! Luckily I grew out of this as I got older; however I have never been the overly out-going person who steals the room – even now I leave that to my big-personality husband!
I never really knew why I was so shy, just that I had this overwhelming fear of people that I didn’t know well. I apparently didn’t know that I had to actually talk to people to get to know them well either.
I also had this strong need for approval, which I still do to some degree today. I worked hard to make sure I had straight A’s throughout school, I obsess over being the highest rated employee, I would volunteer for anything and everything that needed someone to help – in hopes that someone, somewhere would notice and compliment me. There were times that I compromised my values and myself at times for friends or acquaintances just to make sure that I was “liked”. (Yes, I am one of those who checks for “likes” when I post something to Facebook, so thank you to those of you who do!) If you are familiar with Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, my love language is “words of affirmation” – surprise!
Throughout my life, I have placed so much value on who and what other people have thought of me. I really thought that what others believed to be true of me was actually true. For example, when I was a little girl, my dad called me “princess”, so I believed I really could be a princess. Growing up when kids would call me a “nerd” or a “dork” because I wore glasses and was smart – I believed it. And in my teenage years, when guys would tell me that I was “pretty” and “interesting” – I believed that, too (getting me into a lot of trouble). In my young adulthood, I believed the enemy when he told me that I was not worthy of the life that God had designed for me – after all, I have done some pretty rotten things in my life.
I have lived with this stronghold of believing what others think of me since childhood.
Side Note: For those not familiar, a stronghold is anything that has a STRONG HOLD on you and your life that is against God, or in other words, simply untrue. Paul talks about it in 2Corinthians 10:4-5, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Over the last year, with the help of God and my wonderful husband, this stronghold is slowly crumbling. You see, my identity is not in others; my identity is in Christ Jesus.
1 John 4 says:
(4) You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
(13) By this we know that we abide in Him and He is in us, because He has given us of His spirit.
(15) Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
(17) By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
My identity is in Christ Jesus – whoever rejects me, rejects Him. (Take that! Ha!)
God made each of us individually different, (starting in the womb) deliberately. He did not make a mistake. When sin entered this world, evil came right along with it, allowing us to be misled into the fears, doubts and worthless feelings we sometimes have. The enemy and his cronies will poke, prod and push buttons in any way possible to make us believe lies about who we are – and who we aren’t.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Rain and wind = Satan and his gang of demons (yes, Satan blows!)
House = You
Rock = Jesus
In my teenage years and early adulthood, I let the rain and wind steer much of my life and my decision making. The damage that this rain and wind caused led me into a situation in which I lost control – leaving me vulnerable and in harm’s way…
What I’ve learned:
- I know that I will still wrestle with this stronghold from time to time in my life; however now I know the truth of who I am and whose I am.
- I know that this has held me back so many times in my life from doing things that I have wanted to do and from what God has called me to do.
- I know that this has also led me to do things that I normally wouldn’t.
- I refuse to allow Satan to maintain control of this area of my life. I choose to be free!
- Who are you? Who or what do you find your identity in?
- Are there any untruths (strongholds) that you believe about yourself?
- How have these strongholds held you back in your life?
- What truth has Jesus revealed to you about yourself?
- Who do you choose to be?