A saleslady followed me as I hurried through her tiny shop in the Albanian airport. With a few English phrases and a heavy accent, she attempted to peak my interest in various trinkets. But I didn’t see anything that appeared authentically eastern European.
I picked up a jewelry box. Pleased by my attention to something, finally, the saleslady leaned in and whispered,
“It’s handmade in Korea.”
Amused, I returned the jewelry box to its shelf and rushed off to the gate with nothing except a story about Albanian souvenirs made in Korea. I found this experience hilarious and even wrote a blog post about authenticity, based on the jewelry box from Korea.
Eight months later I returned to Albania and traveled to Kruja, a town known for its quaint shops of handmade goods. And there, I realized that “Kruja” sounded like “KreeYA” (or “Korea” to my foreign ears). I had misheard the saleslady, and the jewelry box was authentically Albanian after all.
My story had a punch line, and the joke was on me!
But truth be told, the ears of my soul have experienced hearing problems too. Perhaps you can relate with where I am most susceptible: somewhere deep inside my soul, I hear that my worth is based on my performance or tangible measures like job status or blog stats or “likes” on social media.
I falsely believe that I am accepted because of what I do rather than what Jesus has already done.
Of course, this deep-down whisper that I need to have it all together to be worthy is a lie from the enemy, a falsehood that deserves to be placed back on the shelf. But I tend to cradle it for a while.
Sometimes it sounds like this:
I wish I were more like that person.
What I have to offer is too small.
I am invisible.
Even as I struggle with insecurity in my writing/blogging (should I give up? is it worth it?) I enjoy the opportunity to review books occasionally. A few weeks ago, I signed up to read and review Holley Gerth’s You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide. I confess it wasn’t a “oh-I-really-need-to-learn-from-this” as much as it was a “okay-I-like-free-stuff-send-me-the-book” decision.
God is so good and He knows what we need before the realization ever crosses our minds. And so, Session Two: What’s True No Matter How We Feel was written for me. The book review invitation was sent just to me. And the postal carrier smiled knowingly when she came to my door.
(I’m kidding, of course, but isn’t it sweet to be reminded of how God knows us and speaks to us in such creative, personal, and affirming ways?)
In Session Two, Holley encourages me to hold to what’s true, no matter how I feel. She writes that the enemy wants to make us like anyone but Jesus. Deception, insecurity, comparison, and discouragement are his strategies. Often, he utilizes a subtle, familiar question:
Did God really say ….? (to Eve, in Genesis 3:1)
In Holley’s words, it’s here – Genesis 3:1 – where insecurity makes its debut, and the question takes on various versions:
Did God really say you’re loved?
Did God really say you’re accepted?
Did God really say you’re chosen?
Did God really say you’re forgiven?
What if Eve had paused for a moment, considered the truth of what God had said, and refused to receive the enemy’s seed of doubt? Of course we won’t know the answer to that question, but we have moments of decision too.
God wants us to understand who He created us to be so that we can fulfill the purpose He has for our lives. And He has told us in His Word. It’s clear and authentic. When we hear the Truth, we don’t have to wonder where it came from.
Yes, God really did say that He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
Yes, God really did say that I am adopted into His family (Romans 8:14 – 17).
Yes, God really did say that I am His workmanship, chosen and created specifically and uniquely by Him (Ephesians 2:10).
Yes, God really did say that He has removed my sins from me, as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
In the Life Growth Guide, Holley offers tools to help readers tune in to these life-changing truths. By walking through the guide, I’ve become attentive to what I’m hearing, mindful of what God says about me in Scripture, and equipped to replace lies with the Truth:
When the enemy tells me that I am a failure, I trust that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me (Romans 8:37).
When the enemy tells me that the past is a source of shame, I claim the promise that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
When the enemy says that that my struggles will drive me to despair, I consider my trials as joy because their result is maturity and perseverance (James 1: 2- 4).
Psalm 33:4 says that “The word of the Lord is right and true.” As we sit with God’s written Word and seek His Spirit, our spiritual ears are increasingly tuned to His voice. If accusation comes from within, we can discern it as a sour note and replace it with the truth. When we need correction, God’s Word convicts but never condemns. His Word, in Scripture and through the Holy Spirit, is always consistent with His true and trustworthy character.
Our hands are incapable of containing the whole of God’s voice, of course, but imagine with me the joy of wrapping fingers around such an authentic treasure and never, ever returning it, with disinterest, to a shelf.
Let’s open our Bibles and start there.
I encourage you to check out the resources which accompany You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be. Visit www.HolleyGerth.com/amazing.
There are several ways to use the Life Growth Guide in conjunction with Scripture. The six sessions are designed to be utilized individually or with pairs/groups – in person or online.
- Who God Created Us to Be
- What’s True No Matter How We Feel
- Our Amazing Journey with Jesus
- God’s Plan for Our Relationships
- God’s Purpose for Our Lives
- How We Can Thrive for a Lifetime
I’m currently participating in the You’re Already Amazing Life Growth book club. Each week I receive an email reminder and I watch the corresponding video at HolleyGerth.com/amazing. (There is a free online video for each of the six sessions). The videos are also available on DVD. As a bonus, Holley has created some goodies to go along with the You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide. Go to her website to print, pin, or share these pieces of word art to remind you of what’s true!
I received a copy of the Life Growth Guide from Revell in exchange for my review. The expressed opinions are purely my own.