Do you allow the opinions of others to dictate how you think about yourself? If so, Gladys Famoriyo calls on you to ignore those opinions, and see yourself as God sees you
Do you ever feel unsure of who you really are? If so, you are not the only one. Many of us wander around with no sense of identity or understanding of who we are, much less of what we want. This is no surprise when you consider the fact that we get tagged with various ‘labels’, such as ‘loser’, ‘unlovable’, ‘forsaken’ and ‘damaged’, as we make our way through life. This ends up skewing our sense of who God created us to be. We base our identities on who/what others say we are, and then spend our lives trying to fit into their mould. As a result, we never feel comfortable within ourselves, nor can we get on with the purpose of our existence.
If you feel you have lost sight of your identity, the best place to start is to see yourself through God’s eyes. Pick up the Bible and see what He says about you. For instance, He says He made you in His image (Genesis 1:27). He affirms you with the fact that you are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). So, getting a glimpse of who God – and not others – says you are is crucial. Take this on board, and you are well on your way to discovering your real self and who you have been created to be. To progress further, consider the following strategies to help you along.
Learn more about yourself
Whilst this is not rocket science, you would be amazed how easy it is to lose sight of ourselves. With all the different hats we wear, our experiences and the busyness of life, it gets a tad obscured. Over the years, I have lost track of the number of clients I have worked with who find themselves in this quandary. When asked basic questions about themselves (such as below), many seemed to hit a brick wall. Some simple questions I ask are:
- What are your likes and dislikes?
- What do you consider to be your strengths and the areas you need to develop? (Notice I did not say ‘weaknesses’.)
- What special gifts/talents or skills do you possess?
- What gives you a sense of joy and satisfaction?
- Given the opportunity, what would you like to spend the rest of your life doing?
If you have a hard time struggling with this, perhaps you may need to pause yourself and reflect on them. By starting this process, you start a journey of self-discovery. You start getting clarity about the person God created you to be. By the way, have you noticed that when you fail to answer these questions for yourself, others will fill in the gaps for you? Others start to dictate what you should like/dislike, or what career path to take, based on their perception of your strengths. The media is guilty of this, but so are those near us, too (friends/family, employers, leaders, etc). When that happens, you spend your life dancing to the tune of others. Moreover, you lose your joy and peace.
Change the record!
Perhaps by now, you have discovered that you have assumed the wrong identity. If this is the case, make the decision to change your outlook and the principles that govern your life. Using God’s Word as a basis, map out the person you really are and how you want to live your life. For example, perhaps you have been limited in one or more areas of your life, because you have been labelled as someone who can’t achieve one thing or another. Whilst you may not be able to silence the naysayers, you may want to create a rule that says, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Then meditate on this until it becomes part of your very being. That way, you start to change the tunes you dance to. You no longer answer to ‘loser’ and such.
Next, find more godly labels and replace the ones you were given. Thankfully, the ‘mud’ others throw at us does not have to stick. We have God’s Word to cleanse us and renew our minds.
Stand your ground
The fact is, when you start the process of untangling yourself from the ungodly, worldly labels, and purpose to align yourself with your God-given identity, others will challenge you. (Sadly, this can include our brothers/sisters in Christ.) Therefore, I suggest you stand your ground. To help you, consider wearing the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). After all, you are in a battle. Ask Him to change the way you think, because your thoughts fuel your behaviours (Romans 12:1-2). Your goal is to uncover the magnificent person God created you to be, and to walk away from the world’s notion of your identity.
In closing, I heard a beautiful story by Max Lucado, entitled You Are Special, that touched me. It is a heart-warming children’s tale that I believe all adults must read; it affirms our God-given identities and encourages us to take off the labels others place upon us. Perhaps this book may be your starting point. Or maybe you simply need to get into God’s Word more. Whatever you do, drop the labels, remove the veil, and bask in the magnificent person God created you to be.
For details of her ministry call 0870 750 1969 or visit www.gladysf.com
Gladys Famoriyo is a speaker and author of ‘Quit Hiding, Start Living!’, ‘Healing A Discouraged Heart’ and ‘Overcoming Emotional Baggage’.