When my kids were young, we were members of our town pool. As soon as we joined, I signed my kids up for swim lessons and the swim team. The lessons were a hit, but the swim team had mixed reviews. It didn’t help that the practices were early in the morning or that the water was cold that time of day.
My youngest daughter embraced the experience immediately. My oldest, on the other hand, was not as excited as I thought she would be. I was confused because I knew that she loved to swim. After just a few practices she refused to get in the water.
Despite my failed attempts to sweet-talk and bribe her she refused to participate.
I asked her over and over again why she didn’t want to swim. Her contradictory explanations for sitting out only confirmed my suspicions. She wanted to compete, but something was holding her back. Instead of letting her quit I made her go to every practice to watch.
Little did I know, as my girl sat poolside with her little brother and me, she paid close attention to what her coaches were saying. Eventually, she gathered up enough courage to join the others. She dove into the water and swam the incredible butterfly stroke I’d ever seen an eight-year-old swim. I was stunned, and so were her coaches.
Fast-forward a week or so, Ava was now swimming consistently, but despite the praises, she received she still had no interest in competing in the swim meets.
One morning during breakfast my husband and I were encouraging her to compete. As we talked to her about it, she finally opened up and told us she thought she wasn’t a very good swimmer.
“Are you kidding me? You’re an excellent swimmer! Your coaches believe you are doing fantastic.”
I told her about the conversation and how well they thought she was doing. They said she was doing terrific. I suggested that if she tried swimming in a meet, she might be surprised at how fun it was. She wasn’t buying it. I listed her coaches’ qualifications and experience. I explained that if anyone were able to assess her skills, it would be them.
I asked her “Do you think you know more about swimming than they do?
“No” she replied.”
“Then how come you don’t believe what they say about you?”
Nothing I said convinced my girl she was good enough, so I let it go.
She continued to practice with the team, and after a few days, I saw that despite my daughter’s improvement in swimming she still had no interest in competing. I realized I wasn’t dealing with a child that didn’t have the interest or even the talent to swim, but with a little girl who had believed a lie!
That lie was: I’m not a good swimmer. I am not as good as all the other kids; I can’t do this.
At that moment I realized that I too had believed lies that keep me from being who I was created to be.
I thought my value and worth came from what I did (or didn’t do) for a living, how much I got done in a day, and how clean my house was. That lie made me feel less than and consequently affected the kind of woman, wife, and mother I was.
I was a stay-at-home mom with a never-ending to-do list.
I was organized but not as prepared as I thought I should be.
I’d clean one room in my house while my kids were making a mess of the other.
Papers consistently appeared on the counter and dishes accumulated in the sink on a regular basis.
I believed that if I could get my act together and perform well in any of these areas that I would have significance.
Then I could pursue the dreams God has placed in my heart.
Then, I’d be enough.
BUT here is what God says:
He chose me and appointed me so that I might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last (John 15:16 NIV).
He said I am His handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
He said he would perfect that which concerns me; His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever, he will forsake not the works of His own hands. (Psalm 138:8 AMP).
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:12-14).
As I looked up these scriptures, I saw that qualifying statements did not follow them.
These scriptures convey my worth in the eyes of God, His interest in my life and the unconditional love He has for me. Despite all of God’s “qualifications and experience” why wasn’t I buying it? Why was my life not reflecting it? Why was I looking for worth in things that are worthless?
I wasn’t sure what the next step was for Ava, but I knew what it was for me. I repented, asked God to forgive me for not trusting Him and His authority.
I invited Him to fill me with His truth.
I CHOOSE to believe what God said about me despite what I felt.
Now when I come across a promise that speaks of my worth, I do not take it lightly. I re-read it out loud, memorize it, set it as my screensaver, or do whatever it takes to get it deep down in my heart.
Once I experienced freedom, I couldn’t sit back and let my daughter stay stuck. Little by little I taught her how to recognize the lies that held her back how, and how to counter them with the truth.
Things for my daughter didn’t change as quickly as I’d hoped, but the following season she did compete with her teammates. The year after she quit, but that’s okay because I knew she no longer believed a lie about herself, but instead swimming competitively just wasn’t her thing. She was more interested in cooking, lacrosse, and sleeping in on summer mornings.
What is the lie you have been believing about your worth?
What is a biblical truth that can trump that lie?
If you’d like to make a habit of believing truth, start with getting your mind in gear.