“Tami, take this notepad and write down every name you’ve ever been called,” my pastor’s wife said to me during one of our counseling sessions.
It took no time at all to scratch out a couple of columns of put-downs, foul names, critical labels. They were etched in my brain, and flowed readily through my arm, the pen in my hand, and onto the tablet. Some of them were so crude that I was loathe to put them to paper.
Ashamed, and sure I was about to be exposed for the “creep” I was, I handed the pad back.
She gave the list a cursory glance, then placed it back into my hands. Looking deeply into my eyes, she said, “Do you realize that this is who you really believe yourself to be? Is this what God says is true about you?”
I shrugged my shoulders. As far as I knew, He was keenly aware that I was much worse than what I’d written down.
“Is this what the Bible says is true of you?”
I knew the correct answer was, “no,” but somehow believed that I was the exception.
“Well,” she said with that penetrating gaze she’s so good at,” Let’s ask the Lord, okay?”
We bowed our heads, and she asked, “Jesus, what do you think of Tami? Is she really all those names she listed? What do You call her.”
Inwardly I cringed. Here it comes.
The first thing that came to mind was dismissed – it had to be my imagination. Ugly titles began to flood my mind after that; ones that were all too familiar.
“Did He say anything?” she asked. “What was the first thing that came to your mind?”
Sheepishly I responded, “Beloved.”
Her warm smile conveyed so much love. “Oh, isn’t that sweet?”
(I wasn’t convinced, but nodded agreement – all the while thinking, I doubt that was Jesus.)
Before I could voice my disbelief, she asked, “Lord, is there anything else?”
This time I giggled. She asked what I’d heard.
“Delightful!” I exclaimed.
That was the beginning of a new identity for me. For the first time I was able to accept what the Bible says about anyone who is in Christ. Today I can rattle it off at a pretty good clip, and – more importantly – believe that it is true for me:
I am the blood-bought daughter of the Lord Most High. I was chosen, accepted, adopted, redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified, and am seated in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. He sees me as holy, blameless, and above reproach, and as His masterpiece.
How about you? What ugly names were spoken over you? Do you believe they are true – deep down have you owned them? Take them to Jesus and see what He has to say about the matter.
This particular time He spoke into my mind. Other times He has given me mental pictures of something He wanted to convey. There are lots of ways that He communicates with me…heart-shaped rocks, hummingbirds, butterflies, a Scripture that leaps off the page. He will have a unique way of communicating with you, too.
If what you “hear” Him say is counter to the lies you’ve heard – and is in line with Scripture – you can know of a certain that you really did hear from Him. The enemy comes to kill and steal and destroy. He’s not about to try to give you a true picture of how God sees you.
This will change your life! Something in your mind shifts. How you view the Lord is adjusted to a more accurate perspective as well. You get to hear his heart for you. Remember, Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free;” – free to be all He created you to be.
Mmm. I love that!
There is nothing mystical about talking with God. The Bible is replete with examples of people who carried on conversations with Him – spoke to Him and heard from Him. He longs to speak truth into our lives. We must learn how He speaks to us.
Now when someone tries to label me I can remember this:
You did not create me, therefore you cannot define me!
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