Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Holley Gerth's new book, You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be (Revell, 2012).
How often have you fallen short of perfection and let the frustration you feel make you think you’re inadequate? How many times have you compared yourself with other women and felt badly about yourself? How frequently have you wondered whether you really have what it takes to fulfill God’s purposes for your life, or even just to survive in this fallen world that’s full of disappointment?
If you’re like many women, you’ve likely felt that way plenty of times. But from God’s perspective, even once is too much. That’s because, in God’s eyes, you’re an amazing woman.
Seeing yourself the way God does is the key to living the way He wants you to live. In the process, you’ll learn to embrace who you are so you can become all God created you to be. Here’s how:
Get to know yourself. Ask God to show you more about the person He made you to be. Find your strengths: personal characteristics that you can use on behalf of God in service to others (from being creative to being resilient). Find your skills: specific ways of expressing your strengths that build up other people and benefit God’s kingdom (from encouraging to planning). Reflect on the relationships in your life, from your closest friends and family members to your casual acquaintances. Consider which types of people you may be best wired to serve (those you feel especially drawn to, those you’re at your best with, those you feel the most compassion for, and those that your unique strengths and skills seem to help). Recognize that your distinctive set of personal characteristics is just as sacred as anyone else’s, because God made you and others in His image.
Replace lies you’ve believed with biblical truth. Let go of lies that don’t reflect what the Bible says is true, like these lies: “I have to be perfect,” “I need to be more like someone else,” “I don’t have anything to offer,” “Being confident will make me prideful and selfish,” and “I am who others say I am.” Keep in mind that there is no condemnation in Christ. So whenever a condemning thought enters your mind or someone communicates condemnation to you, realize that it’s not true. God Himself has the ultimate say about who you are: and He says that you’re unconditionally loved and incredibly valuable. Memorize specific Bible verses that describe how much God loves and values you, so you can replace untrue thoughts with true thoughts whenever necessary.
Listen to God rather than your emotions. What you feel can seem right and real, but when your emotions don’t line up with what God says about how you should view Him, yourself, and other people, you can’t trust them. Your emotions are constantly changing as you react to different circumstances, but God’s truth remains the same, no matter what. Don’t suppress your emotions; feel them freely, because God made you an emotional being. But also test them to discern whether they’re leading you closer to God or farther from Him. Only those emotions that lead you closer to God reflect an accurate perspective on your circumstances. If your emotions are leading you to do something that will distance you from God, they reflect wrong thinking that’s out of touch with reality. Always choose to do what’s right, despite what you happen to feel at the time.
Figure out where you are on life’s journey, and ask God for what you need there. Every person’s journey through life features destinations that are similar to the ones that the Bible describes God leading the Israelites through. Where are you on your journey right now? You may be in “Egypt,” where you’re in bondage, out of control, oppressed, or separated from God’s presence. You may be “encamped,” where you’re waiting, God may seem silent, doors aren’t opening for you to move forward, or you feel the need to rest or heal. You may be “setting out,” where you feel an urge to take the next step, God seems to be speaking to you and guiding you, doors may be opening for you to move forward, or you’re sensing the need for change (even if it’s hard or uncomfortable). Or, you may be in the “Promised Land,” where God is giving you a desire or answering a prayer, you feel that you’re where you belong, you’re joyful and anticipating more blessings, or you’re passionate about possessing and defending what God has given to you. Wherever you are right now, ask God for what you need and trust Him to provide it.
Connect with others in the best ways. Learn how to relate to other people in the distinctive ways that God has wired you to do so best. Keep in mind that you should live to please God alone, not other people. So don’t worry about what other people think of you if you’re faithfully following where God leads you. Be open with others, but also set boundaries to protect yourself from unsafe people who don’t treasure you, as God does. Figure out your social setting preference (whether you prefer getting together with people individually, in small groups, or in a crowd), your primary relationship structure (leading, partnering, or serving), and the needs that you’re most compelled to help meet (practical, emotional, relational, or intellectual). Apply that information when you’re trying to discern specific ways in which you can best contribute to the world and honor God. Rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you to the best ways to relate to others and serve them.
Take good care of yourself. Invest regularly in your own health emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially, and physically so you’ll be well-prepared to serve God and others.
Do what God wants you to do with your life. Focus each day on doing just what God wants you to do, when He wants you to do it, with love. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Instead, set goals that fit well into your life and simply do what you can, the best you can. Keep in mind that the process of discovering who God made you to be and putting that into action will enfold throughout your entire lifetime. Each step you take will bring you closer to fulfilling God’s purposes for your life.
Adapted from You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, copyright 2012 by Holley Gerth. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Holley Gerth is an award-winning writer, licensed counselor, certified life coach, and speaker. She is cofounder of (in)courage, an online destination for women, which received more than one million page views in its first six months. She also reaches out to readers through her popular blog, Heart to Heart with Holley and through her partnership with DaySpring, a subsidiary of Hallmark. Holley lives in Arkansas with her husband, Mark.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: email@example.com send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: March 5, 2012