In this chapter, Lysa talked about the negative labels she gave herself. To be honest, I struggle more with the labels other people put on me. I’ll give you an example. When I was 15, I had Severe Reactive Depression. I couldn’t see a future for myself, so doing my G.C.S.E.s seemed pointless. When I told this to one of my classmates, she said: “You’re just a dropout”. Ouch! That hurt. It hurt then, and I still think about it 16 years later; and because I don’t have a paid job, sometimes on a bad day, it can feel like she was right.
Another time, I struggled with something being said on a regular basis. After several months, I felt I had to step away from the situation. The response I got? “Maybe you’re unteachable.” That stuck too, even though I’m fairly sure it wasn’t true, but Lysa’s right: They can only stick if you let them, so let’s unglue them. What are these labels actually saying? Dropout – no hope of ever making anything of your life. Unteachable – no hope of ever learning. Hopelessness. Is that what God offers us?
Lysa admitted she spoke to herself in a way she’d never let anyone else speak to her! She obviously has a filter somewhere in her head – telling her what’s acceptable and what’s not, and I filter what’s said to me, too. My filter is: Would Jesus say that? Sometimes I think: No He wouldn’t, and other times: Well, maybe He would, but He’d say it more gently, and He’d always offer an opportunity for change.
A lot of the time, when we pin negative labels on ourselves or they’re forced on us by others, we lose sight of what Lysa alluded to at the end of the chapter: We’re unfinished Masterpieces. When we read about God sanctifying us through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23), that literally means making us holy and blameless. Why would we need to be made holy, if as soon as we became Christians we were there already? The Christian life is a journey. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience” … Fruit grows; it doesn’t appear overnight.
If you’ve read this chapter and struggled with negativity, that’s the thought I want to leave with you: You’re still on the journey. You’re unfinished pieces of art, being crafted by the Master, so don’t give up on yourself. Be confident that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” – Philippians 1:6.
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This is a “Faith Without Borders” post. It’s not too late to join and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, or you can leave them here in the comments. We’d love to hear from you, and remember to go to Jess’s blog on Friday for her post on chapter 4.