Once in Youth Group, we were talking about compliments. We issued a fun challenge: If someone gives you a compliment, you had to just say, “Thank you!” We realized our culture teaches us to be somewhat uncomfortable with compliments. To deflect or explain or change the subject. Someone’s intent to encourage us turns into an awkward exchange. That is so sad! So in our group, we started by taking some time to compliment each other and respond with a simple, “Thank you!” Then it got real, and we upped the ante. We had the kids respond to a compliment by saying, “Thank you, that’s true.” Wow, that was a challenge! Try it sometime!
We are so trained to see the lack, to see what’s missing, to use a lens that compares and comes up short – especially in regards to ourselves. This is a reflection of what we believe we are at the core, what our identity is.
Often in the City Salt Kids’ classes, we talk about our identity. Who we are. Who God created us to be. We even have a list of verses that the state who God says we are, and we practice believing this about ourselves. It’s so fun to work with our Littles, because they have no problem believing what God says! They believe it about themselves, they believe it about each other, and they believe it about everyone. Easily.
Around Middle School, this begins to change. This is a developmental time in a kiddo’s life, where their brains are actually beginning to be able to think differently about themselves and the world around them. And the world is sadly teaching them to not think much of themselves.
As we continue to grow, the world continues to beat this message into us doesn’t it? To compare ourselves to others, to never be enough, and even in the places we know we are good we aren’t allowed to share or talk about it, at the risk of sounding prideful.
It has been so fun to cover this topic in our woman’s bible study this session as well. We are going through a study by Kris Vallotton, called the Supernatural Ways of Royalty. We are taking a lot of time to look at who God says we are and what we believe about ourselves.
The other week, we had a fun time with this quote from Kris Vallotton:
“You are not what you think you are, and you are not what others think you are, but you become what you think the most important person in your life thinks of you.” -KV
This is so easy to see in my kids’ lives. For example, my third grader loves to play basketball. It just is a part of him. In the house, he will shoot a Nerf basketball at a plastic hoop for hours, playing out whole games in his head. This year, as he started playing on a team, we noticed he wasn’t taking a lot of shots. We encouraged him to shoot when he’s open, but he just didn’t seem to have the confidence. Finally, my husband had a brilliant insight. He sat my son down and told him the truth – that he has a really good shot and he believed my son should take shots in the game. From the next game on, things were different. My son would shoot! He didn’t make them all, in fact not most of them, but he keeps shooting and he has a new confidence because he knows his Dad thinks he has a good shot.
I think this principal applies to all of us, doesn’t it? The words that the important people in our lives have spoken over us, the words we have said over ourselves, the beliefs we have developed, all paint a picture of who we believe we are. And sadly, the picture we paint of ourselves is often way off from the one God paints of each of us. And God, our Dad, wants to sit us down and remind us who He says we are!
I heard it put this way once: You see a painting on the wall. If you insult the painting, you are also insulting the artist and the model. We are the painting, God is the artist, and Jesus was the model. And as our Creator, we get to renew our minds with what He says about us!
Romans 12:2 tells us that our outer transformation starts with changing our thoughts. We can begin to ask God how He sees us, and by spending time with Him and in the Word, we can begin to understand who we really are!
The first step in believing what God says about us is to know what He says. In the Bible, in Ephesians 2:10, it says we are God’s handiwork. And 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us we are a new creation! What does that even mean? SO much! We are something brand new, never before seen creation that was created by God Himself! And who should we look to, for understanding of who we are? Of course, the Creator!
A crazy thing happens as we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. We also begin to see others as God sees them. Instead of being clogged up with comparison and self-protection, we can begin to have God’s eyes to see people as He made them and to call that out in them. As we realize we are deeply loved and have enough, we can pass that message on!
Below is a list that we have been keeping with us in our Bible Study. It lists just some of the things that God says we are. If He says we are, we get to believe it! We have been practicing letting God talk to us through this list, and renewing our minds with how He sees us as new creations! Not perfect, but loved!
My challenge to myself, and to you if you’d like, is to do the same. Let your Dad, Father God, talk to you about who you are. Let Him define how you see yourself and see others. You see, He has His A-team players in the game and He wants to give us the confidence that He loves us and believes in us! John 13:34 tells us Jesus said, “A new command I give to you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” As we receive and realize who God created us to be and how much He loves us, we will have the ability to love others as He loves us! So good!
Take some time to read through the list below.
Are there some that it is easy to believe about yourself? Some that are harder?
Ask God if there are any of these elements of your identity He wants to talk to you about. Take some time to look up the verses, journal about these with God, declare them over yourself. See how this begins to give you a lens to see these things in the people around you as well!
I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I am blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)
I am complete. (Colossians 2:10)
I am accepted. (Ephesians 1:6)
I am loved. (Jeremiah 31:3)
I am delightful. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I am forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7)
I am victorious. (Philippians 4:13))
I am beautiful. (Psalm 45:11)
I am more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
I am chosen. (Colossians 3:12)
I am holy. (Colossians 3:12)
I am dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
I am God’s handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am worth fighting for. (Exodus 14:14)
I am healed. (Isaiah 53:5 and 1 Peter 2:24)
I am worth it. (Romans 5:6-8)
I am set free. (Galatians 5:1 and Romans 8:12)
I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am royalty. (1 Peter 2:9)
I am God’s daughter/son. (Galatians 3:26 and John 1:12)
And as we walk in that confidence, know who He is and who we are, it is contagious and His light will shine through us!
About the Author
Pam Sand is a fun and encouraging team-builder that brings the best to those around her. She loves young people and is committed to serving and mentoring kids with opportunities to grow closer to God and each other. She joined our staff team in 2012 and oversees the ministry of ages from birth to eighth grade. Pam and her husband, Jared, have been married since 2005 and have three boys.