“Who are you?” is the question my husband asked our granddaughter every time he saw her. It is a game he started the first time they met. She was just a toddler of three. She always responded with a grin and the affirmation, “Alexa.” Alexa has grown to become an independent, confident young teen. The last time we saw her, she beat him to the punch. Darting in the doorway, hands on her hips, head cocked to the side, she challenged him with her question, “And who are you?” in her most grown up voice. Laughter followed as they hugged each other hello.
How important is the question? Who we believe we are creates the reality of a life of promise or one of desperation. Notice the question we are asking is: who we believe we are. Belief is the key word, not the reality of who we are.
Acceptance is one of our most important needs according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We need acceptance and approval in order to feel needed, valued, and loved. This driving force starts when we enter the world. We look for acceptance from family, friends, co-workers, and associates in many different ways: for our appearance, work, ideas, beliefs, values, possessions, talents, abilities, etc. The need to be accepted and valued is the root cause of most addictions and problems.
What happens to your world if you believe you are somebody you are not? The brain operates much like a computer taking in information from the world around us. Children take in information from the people, places, and situations they are exposed to, creating and developing beliefs and values.
What we think determines how we feel, and how we act and/or react to a situation. If we have positive beliefs about who we are, we make better choices. Negative beliefs cause poor choices creating disappointments and failures.
Christians base their beliefs and values on scriptures. Yet many Christians fail in their life choices, careers, and social interactions, suffering from addictions, anxiety, depression, fears, phobias, and mental disorders. Why?
The answer can be found in about twelve inches, the distance between our heads and our hearts. Who we say we are and who we believe we are do not match. The beliefs we claim to be true are not reflected in the authenticity of our lives. We say we have certain thoughts, beliefs, and values, yet when held up to the hash critic of reality, we fall short; we miss the mark. Christians look no different than the secular world and we wonder why people are not drawn to Christ.
The hope and promises offered in scripture reside in our heads as intellectual belief. Yet, what we believe to be true in our hearts drives our decisions. If we believe the words of Christ in our heads but believe the lies of Satan in our hearts, our lives will reflect the lies of Satan as if they were true.
Knowing the truth of who we are, and believing that truth with our entire heart, can turn a life of depression, anxiety, addiction, worry, and illnesses into a life of promise filled with joy and hope.
Take steps to open your heart to the transforming power of the risen Lord. Write the truth on post-it-notes of various colors and post them throughout your home. Speak truth into a tape recorder and play the tape as you sleep. Speak the truth and affirm who you really are into a mirror. We challenge you to try these exercises for three months. You will see a dramatic difference in your life.
(Excerpts: “Journey of the Soul … Cracked Pots and Broken Vessels” and workbook, “Stop the Violence … Seven Stages to Sanctify,” by Dr. Phyllis and Rev. Carrol Davis, wherever books are sold)