Here’s the truth …
“For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6 NLT).
Enough! I have spent years allowing others to define how I see myself. It started with my mother who, once I would finish one task would already have several tasks waiting for me, as though completion of the one was never good enough. It sent me all the way to graduate school later in life to get a doctorate degree in my field! It would put an exclamation mark on my schooling so that I could never have to be told that there were more classes to take, more things to learn. Of course, I have always been a lifelong learner, but what I have decided to learn about ever since has been on my own terms!
Now, years later, I still seem to be giving people permission to define how I should see myself instead of letting God’s view of me reign supreme. I know that God sees me as an accomplished, outgoing, generous person. Others have rejected me, though, making me feel like I am none of those things.
I was once passed over for a position because the wife of the director was to be given the nod instead. I was once exiled from a church because my views about how God’s money and God’s leaders should be handled was not appreciated. I was rejected by lots of boyfriends over the years because I was too spiritual, too wild, too far away, too close, too serious, too impatient, too average, etc. I was once uninvited by a group of women because I was friends with the wrong people. I was once made to feel guilty by a friend who had recently gotten married because my boyfriend had a more lucrative job than her husband did. I was once replaced by someone else for a position over a loud speaker. I was once told I wasn’t entrepreneurial enough to run a ministry that I had indeed been running successfully for five years. And you can fill in the blank with countless other examples of rejection. How does one pick her head up off the pillow with that kind of rejection rolling around in the recesses of her brain? How many doctorates would it take to reinvent myself so that I can be proud of who I am? Even worse, people who are wounded inflict wounds on others, so how many times have I rejected someone else because of my own experiences of being rejected?
My pastor recently spoke about the woman at the well mentioned in the book of John, and it got me thinking about all of those hurtful times when I, too, might as well have been told for years that I was a mere woman and a less-than Samaritan who had no business talking to a Jew, especially with a past of having had five husbands. You see, we are all the Samaritan woman throughout our lives if we believe that God thinks about us the same way that people have thought about us.
We need to rise above the chatter. We need to take captive the lies told about us and set them free instead of allowing them to be a broken record that plays over and over again at the spot where the song says, “You’re worthless.” We need not let people whom we often don’t even respect tell us with their words and/or actions that we are not good enough to be a part of their group. Who cares what you think? I have a Savior who says otherwise about me. I have a Savior who calls me His friend. That should be our answer to them.
Jesus made sure that the Samaritan woman knew that He knew everything about her when He offered her His living water. She needed to know that even in her rejected state, she was loved and not rejected by Him. He had a plan for her to become someone who would worship Him and be used by Him for important Kingdom work, even though men before had used her and tossed her aside. My pastor painted the picture of countless people in the town who had known her and were related to the five husbands so had made decisions about her, making her want to travel to the well in the middle of the afternoon when it was hottest so as to avoid interaction with others. Do you travel to a well, searching for water in your parched land, hoping that you can just get through a day when you don’t feel reminded of the failure that you have been made to believe that you are?
For me it’s Giant Eagle, our local grocery store. There, I run into people I once knew from high school who were not nice to me back then. I run into people from the church where I was asked to leave. I run into people from the place where I was passed over for a job so that the director’s wife could get it. I run into people who think that I am strong when, really, I am very weak from the years of being told how weak I am.
Enough! No more! I am a child of the Living King! I have been given talents and a voice and I will not be silenced any longer. In a desperate cry for God to quell the negative words that I was told about myself recently, God gave me this verse to comfort me: “For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6 NLT). Folks, we are His special treasure. Imagine what that looks like! Think about a piece that you keep safely tucked away because it is precious to you and you don’t want anything to happen to it. Is it a piece of jewelry, a letter of affirmation from someone, a family heirloom, a photograph of you with someone by your side who really loved you? God values us even more than you value your item. God sent His Son to die in your place to prove it.
Remember that the next time people make you feel less than and tell them, Enough already!
… and that’s the truth as I know it!