Image of self

There is an old hymn where the chorus says, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

The hymn comes from Psalm 84:11-12. Verse 12 reads, “O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”

Are you trusting and obeying? Or are you obeying and then trusting?

There is a difference!

Placing obedience before trust means we are living to try to please God through our actions, we are trying to “earn” our salvation and our identity in Christ. That just isn’t possible. It was already given to us as a gift and it is ours. We can’t earn it when we already own it. We just need to learn to walk in it.

If we do not start with trusting God, especially with trusting what he says about who we are and where our identity comes from we end up trusting in our own abilities, resources, skills, mindset, etc.

Trusting the Lord isn’t about earning our place. It isn’t about offering a sacrifice. It isn’t about performing and doing all the right things.

Trusting is about accepting, receiving, embracing, and believing.

Most of us are living this out backwards. We are living out the obedience before the trust. How would it affect your life if you switched and started living out of trust, a trust that then leads you to obedience?

One of the issues that survivors of abuse struggle with is trusting their own judgment and perceptions. This has been an especially difficult thing for me and is one that even now as I am doing really well I find I can still fall back into regularly. It is a larger issue for me because of the type of abuse I received and who abused me. I have listened to their words and taken them to heart causing me to feel that I am unacceptable and have a bad heart. It has taken a lot of work to get to the point to realize that I may have poor judgment and may not communicate my heart well, but that my heart and intentions are not corrupt and evil. Due to identity issues and insecurities I often find that when others around me question a decision I have made or actions I have taken I take their assessment and blow it up into something larger.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the condition of our heart and how important it is to look at our heart and what is going on there.

Recently I was reading in my study bible and it discussed how we need to have hearts that are open to receive instruction, discipline, and guidance not only from God, but also from others. This world teaches us to be independent, to think for ourselves, to rely on our understanding. God’s word tells us to rely on him, to seek community, to listen to the counsel of others, and to give up our rights in submission to the Lord. Through Christ we find new life, a renewed mind, and a transformed character. However, we have to learn to walk in that. It is offered to us when we receive Christ as our Lord, but we have to accept it as our new way of life. The Israelites walked through the desert for years with God in their midst and they still struggled with this, so if you are still learning and struggling to live this way don’t beat yourself up about it. Just take a deep breath, repent of your lack of faith, and turn back to God.

Our judgment is shaped and renewed as we walk with God. The more we walk with him the more we learn the Lord’s ways and become like him in character. I am learning that my judgment may not be like Christ yet, but I am confident that today I am closer to Christ’s character than I was last month and definitely more like him than I was last year. Learn to trust your heart to the Lord, and he will give you a new heart. Then your judgment comes from his heart and not your heart so you will be like him in character and you can trust your judgment because it comes from him and not from you.

magnificentHave you seen the Narnia movie Prince Caspian? In that movie Peter Pevensie travels to Narnia and after saving one of the dwarfs, Trumpkin, he introduces himself. He doesn’t just say Peter, or Peter Pevensie but instead he introduces himself as High King Peter the Magnificent.

How do you introduce yourself? Do you just say your first name, or do you communicate something more? Are you expressing something you might not even be aware of? How do you really feel about yourself and how is that expressed to others?

A few years ago a dear friend of mine was attending Toastmasters, a group that helps you learn public speaking skills. Through that group and some counseling she was attending she created a document that answered the question “Who am I?”

I can start to answer that question, but how would you answer it?
I am Sherie, a tender-hearted and passionate woman who loves God with all her heart and seeks to live in a way that honors others and shows them genuine and authentic love, true Christian love. I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, aunt, niece, cousin, neighbor, co-worker, leader, mentor, and volunteer. I am dedicated, loyal, committed and a person of integrity and character. I am a survivor of spiritual abuse and spiritual rape. I am a grandchild of divorce and alcoholism. I am a preachers kid. I am a college graduate. I am a lover of adventure. I am a musician, a life-long learner, a photographer, and a people lover. I am beautiful, chosen, special, anointed, empowered, gifted, and blessed. I am a daughter of the King!

I recently finished reading Identity Crisis: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You by Frank Santora. It is a great book to readjust your image of yourself so that you have a Godly perspective. God created each of us with purpose, desire, and love in his heart. He made us to accomplish something, and he loves us deeply, but we walk around doubting, questioning, and failing to embrace these truths. This world speaks so many messages against us, and leaves us feeling like we are insignificant and unimportant. Due to that many of us will develop what Santora describes as the “grasshopper mentality”. This comes from the story of Joshua and Caleb where 12 scouts were sent into the promised land, but only two came back with good reports. “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33)

Let me define “grasshopper mentality.” Here are its symptoms:

  • Having a small view of yourself
  • Seeing yourself as insignificant and unimportant
  • Having to acute a concern for your shortcomings and difficulties
  • Having a feeling of inferiority which causes you to perceive everything that happens in your life as a reflection of what you cannot do or what you cannot be
  • Thinking of yourself as a person who can’t do something even before you try
  • Viewing yourself as an individual who doesn’t have what it takes to be more than average or, even worse, to be only average
  • Looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection of someone you don’t like very much
  • Sizing things up and determining that you’ll never get beyond where you are right now
  • Being satisfied with the lifestyle in which mediocrity (being no more than average) is your goal
  • A destructive second-rate feeling the makes you feel unqualified to be a vessel of God’s goodness

Here is why this kind of mentality is unacceptable to God:

  • He created you in his image
  • He has empowered you with his strength
  • He has given you personal talents and abilities to reflect his image
  • He unhesitatingly sacrificed his only Son to redeem you.  He turned his back on Jesus on the cross, so he wouldn’t have to turn his back on you.

 Do you have a “grasshopper mentality”? I expect you do in some ways, most if not all of us do. What can you start doing today to change your mentality so you will see yourself as a “more than conqueror” which is who God created you to be?