I recently read a post about something author, editor, and speaker Jeff Gerke called “soul selfies.” He says a soul selfie is, “the deepest, most firmly believed snapshot of who we really, truly are in our most essential self.”
Have you ever thought about your soul selfie?
How do you define yourself deep down? Not the self you want people to see, not the person you present to the world, but the self you fear everyone will discover?
We all struggle with this, and it might be different for each walk of life. Sometimes, though, these are labels we carry with us from our early years and have trouble letting go. And so often they’re negative.
Some of mine are:
- I’m a mess.
- I’m a failure.
- I’m a disappointment.
- I’m confused.
- I’m fat.
- I’m not good enough.
These pesky little selfies affect EVERYTHING. They color my moods, my reactions, my thoughts. They affect me as a wife, mom, sister, and friend. They affect me as a writer, as a person, as a child of Christ.
Jeff Gerke discussed this too, how these deep-down definitions permeate our thinking, how sometimes we cause our lives to align with the thoughts we think are true. The woman who believes she is “not good enough,” might find herself in a string of abusive relationships. When I obsess over my weight, I binge eat. When I think I’m a failure, I experience writer’s block. When I think I’m not a good enough mom, I am less able to engage with my kids because I can’t figure out what to do. I spend so much time fearing these negative things will come true, I seem to create them. I am my own worst enemy!
How about you? Think over the soul selfies that haunt you. Maybe write them down. How do these internal labels affect you as a mom? As a friend? As a coworker? As a child of God?
And now I want you to join me in rethinking those negative selfies. If you wrote them down, use a Sharpie marker and write GRACE over the top of each word. Yes, grace.
Take a moment to soak it up.
So, my thinking I’m not good enough? GRACE. Thinking my worth is tied to my appearance? GRACE. Thinking I’m a failure because I’m not perfect? GRACE.
[Tweet “God is the giver of grace. Jesus does not see us with our definitions!”]
He considered us worth the sacrifice of His life. He considered us worthy of his love. So we shouldn’t use those negative labels to define ourselves.
Yes, I’m a sinner. We all are. Yes, I’m not perfect. None of us are. But Jesus does not expect perfection of us. No, he loved us in our imperfection and died so that we could be close to him. He is not seated on a throne in heaven with a giant measuring stick ready to shout, “You failed to measure up!”
So why are we so hard on ourselves? Seriously. I have no idea. But I do it ALL THE TIME.
Does that mean sin isn’t a big deal? No. Sin is costly. It cost Jesus his life in a very terrible way, but he did not die without a reason, without a purpose, without a result. And that result is: Sin no longer controls us! Sin no longer owns us. Sin no longer defines us!
Instead, we should define ourselves by God’s word:
- Grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Child of God. Galatians 3:26
- Loved. John 3:16
- Equipped for good deeds. 2 Timothy 3:16
- Gifted. 1 Peter 4:10
- Capable of love. 1 John 4:9
- Worthy of love. Romans 5:8
- Fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-15
- Not alone. Deuteronomy 31:6
- Beautiful. Romans 10:15
We are His workmanship. We belong to God. We do not have to fear what this world thinks of us or what we think of ourselves. We have been given freedom in the grace of Christ. Embrace it and pass it on to others. We are His. We are beautiful.
Will you join me in rethinking your soul seflies? Maybe spend a moment each day in prayer to thank God for who he made you to be. Perhaps memorize some of the above or below verses and meditate on them, on your worth in Christ, on your new soul selfie:
Daughter of the King of Kings!
“But,” you say, “I’m still stuck. I can’t get over these negative labels. What now?” Here are some scripture verses to soak up:
Are you worried about your past mistakes?
- Psalm 25:7. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; According to Your lovingkindness remember me for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord. (NASB)
- Psalm 103:12. As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (ESV)
Worried about the future you can’t control?
- 1 Corinthians 15:27: For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. (God is in control of all things.) (NASB)
- Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Worried you’re not “good enough”?
- Titus 3:5a: He saved us, not because of [our] works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy… (ESV)
Instead of beating ourselves up over those negative definitions we carry inside us, let’s focus on the soul selfies provided by God. We are beloved. We are cherished. We are not held prisoner by the yesterday’s mistakes. We are not defined by the sins of our past. We are all children of the one true king, saved and redeemed and equipped to do good for others.
If you’d like more encouragement on this topic of thinking differently about yourself and embracing your identity in Christ, grab a copy of Meet the New You.