Each of us forms our identity on all kinds of things. From the things that interest you and how you decide to spend your time can give a pretty good picture of who you think you are. It goes deeper than that though because what shapes those outward choices is what’s going on inside you. Your inner world of what you say to yourself, your belief systems, and your values shape how respond to life and the decisions you make.
And what you value and believe in and your inner thought life are all under your control. What you allow yourself to dwell on is a choice.
We’re all driving on this road called life and each of us are in complete control of how and where we drive our car.
If you’re like me, some thoughts have made some deep grooves in our minds that are really hard to drive out of as the tires are caught in pretty deep. It’s like I just went back and forth, over and over again, the same thought patterns, and many of those thought patterns were deeply harmful to my well-being. But it just means you need a shovel, maybe even a tractor, to dig you out. No matter what, you have choices. No matter how ugly or how tangled the grooves are.
My problem when I was trying to get myself out of the ruts and potholes in my head was I couldn’t find a worthy road that didn’t have it’s own broken pavement and sinkholes. Sometimes I thought I found a decent road to take only to find myself slipping back into the deep grooves of negative thinking. Roads like trying to get into the perfect shape, wear cute clothes, make and keep good friends, find the best romance, eat the best food, be the best mom, … get the idea? Each and every one of those things will fail. None of them are strong enough to build my identity on. I’m not saying those different aspects of life aren’t meaningful and valued, but they aren’t strong enough to hold me up. I have gained and lost weight my entire life, I have had and lost many friends, romance with another human being for the long-haul has complicated, messy challenges. So should my identity, my essence of who I really am, ride the tide of success and failure of those things? None of them can hold up under the mess of life and each of those things still had ruts connected to my gnarly grooved road of insecurity.
But there is One who can. God proved His love for us through the cross. When He knew we were caught in our mess, He loved us. Jesus leads the way to a well-made, solid road that does not give way into muddy grooves and broken potholes.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it [a]overflows).
John 10:10 (AMP)
Jesus’ road of grace and salvation is well-paved, immune to deterioration, and full of life. It’s so full of goodness, it overflows. If your tires are caught in the grooves of frustration, darkness, and negativity, I promise you you’re not on the road God wishes for you.
God has been teaching me for a long time that if I’m caught up in anxious, stressed, irritable moods I’m definitely on the wrong track. When there, where I am is not from Him, but it’s up to me to agree with Him and let Him give me a tow out of my mess. God either makes promises and keeps them, or He doesn’t. His Word can’t be partly true. I’ve chosen to believe His promises are true, so when I’m sunk in my wretched pot-holes I can now recognize where I am is not life-giving and it’s not of God. God gave me this particular passage in a particularly dark struggle with my grooves of negativity:
Even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth!
Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and]
intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].
Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape,
when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139: 12-16 (AMP)
He taught me to speak these verses aloud when I was miserable, and trust me, it is the LAST thing I want to do when in my ugly mess. Those negative, deep ruts and grooves were driven into the ground, over and over, out of shame and self-judgement and I promise you the last thing I wanted to do was utter promises that God created me. But each time I obeyed God, if even very grudgingly, and did indeed say these words out loud, the hold of shame crumbled away and I could easily step onto the road of Light and well-being. Over time, these verses have become a meditation of joy, beauty and gratitude.
I’m forming my identity on who God says I am. He doesn’t make mistakes. I’m on solid ground when standing on His truths.
There are no words to express the healing and repair God’s Spirit can do deep inside a person. He truly knows the fibres of our being and mine sing under His touch. I hope and pray yours do too, dear reader.