Thanks, But I Don’t Believe You

He calls me by my name
Not by my shame
“Tesia Grace you are Beloved
And I give you My grace”
Why don’t I believe it
Why can’t I receive it
What is going on in my brain?
Why do I hold onto the pain?
My heart is so afraid
For Jesus to invade
Afraid if He takes control
It’s the pain I’ll receive in full
But He loves me
Don’t I know this?
Why can’t I deep down experience and live this?
Time and time again
He shows me who I am
Every time I’m in shock and awe
Thinking “Who am I? Just so flawed”
Even in the midst of love
I’m thinking of the ways
I need to respond and repay
I don’t deserve this kind of love
I am less than, worthless, nothing
But you all say that I am something
How do I get to that place
Where I receive this love with grace?
By seeking Jesus’ face
If I know my Savior more
Then I believe I am adored
I can walk in confidence and say
“I am a child of God,
Gladly I trust and obey”
Thank you all for reminding me
Of who I am when I can’t see
Just how much the Father loves
Through your hands I’m touched from above
My heart is mending and this kind of love is painful
Thank you all for being
A part of my healing
I can’t even begin to say
How your words really changed my day
I don’t think you’ll ever know
The stitch in my heart you just helped sew
God is so good and I am so grateful
Towards myself I will stop being hateful
Thank you all for showing me God’s kindness and love
I receive it, I believe it, I am blessed, I am Be-loved.

I wrote the above poem as a “thank you” to a group of people who blessed me with words of encouragement and flowers. I didn’t understand how so many people could love on me, and I still feel so unloved and in despair. How multiple people could encourage me and tell me all these things they see in me, yet I still was so dissatisfied with myself. I didn’t believe them. I couldn’t see what they saw. In my heart I said, “Thanks, but I don’t believe you.” I was stuck in self-condemnation and self-loathing. Then I started condemning myself for being in self-condemnation. “I should know I am loved. People just told me why they love me, and showed me how much they appreciate me. If this isn’t enough, I’ll just need more and more each time I am in despair.”

In the middle of December someone challenged me to ask God what my new name was; what He calls me. So I did this one night. A little uneasy, but also anticipatory for the response, I asked God what He calls me.

“Beloved.”

It came so quickly I thought it must be a fluke, or my humanness getting in the way. My own name, Tesia, means “Loved by God.” So I thought, “God, You love me. I know You love me. What is my real new name?”

Silence.

He calls me by my name, not by my shame. He calls me “Beloved—Dearly Loved, Darling, Dearest, Precious, Adored, Much Loved, Treasured, Prized, Highly Regarded, Admired.”

That was three months ago. I thought, “Unloved??? How am I back here again? Why do I keep ending up at this place?”

“Having an inaccurate view of yourself leads to danger and ultimately, destruction.” –Anonymous

Because I don’t love myself. The deeper layer of the Onion of Healing is loving myself. The love of others will never be enough if I myself don’t believe I am lovable. Don’t believe I am truly loved by God. Doubt is at the root. I don’t see me how God sees me.

“Authentic faith is not merely believing in God. It is believing God.” –Art Azurdia

I believed the lie that the cross only covered my past sins, not my present and future. That perfection is required of me from now on. I believed the lie that sanctification is my responsibility. That once given awareness, I must do the work and change myself. The lie that faith is something I produce, not a gift from God. Still operating in performance based love. Still trying to “do” in order to be worthy of receiving the love. I have an unrealistic, perfection expectation of myself. My expectation of perfection sets me up for failure. Sets the stage for Self-Condemnation.

A lifetime of self-loathing won’t be undone overnight.

Self-Condemnation is a master of espionage; inserting lies disguised as my own thoughts. She magnifies my faults and failures. Even when I hit the mark I’m aiming for, Self-Condemnation helps me find a reason why I’m not good enough in another area. She tells me I’m a constant failure no matter how hard I try. Seeing only what I lack and never celebrating what I have.

I believed her. Those beliefs took root in my heart and became entwined and entangled in my identity. Self-Condemnation became a familiar friend. I thought she was fighting for the good side and part of my sanctification. All the while I did not know she was a double agent whose loyalties lied with the enemy. By believing Self-Condemnation instead of God, I put ammunition in the Enemy’s hand. Worse than that, I pulled the trigger myself. He didn’t have to do any of the work. The Devil just sent Self-Condemnation with the Gun of Doubt. I’ve got plenty of bullets to shoot myself with. Plenty of reasons why I’m a failure, why I’m not good enough, why no one should love me. “I did good, but I could have done better.” “I wish I didn’t…” “I should have…” “I need to…”

By believing Self-Condemnation, instead of crying out to God, I’m saying, “Thanks God for telling me I am righteous, redeemed, loved, worthy, blameless in Your sight, and pure, but I don’t believe You.”

“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” –Isaiah 1:18

The Lord desires to forgive me. He instigates settling the matter. How is condemning myself for my own sin in any way pleasing to God? Does He delight in me when I am beating myself up over something He has already forgiven me for? Who am I to say I am unforgiven and unlovable when the very God who spoke creation into existence says I am forgiven and loved?

Awareness is the first step in sanctification, but I can’t stop there.  That’s where I’ve been stopping and getting stuck in self-condemnation. I have to go all the way to repentance and surrender. Admit (and accept) I am imperfect and have been condemning myself. Repent of coming into agreement with the Devil by believing these lies about myself. And then surrender it at Jesus’ feet and leave it there. Ask Him to come and be Lord of my life again. Lord of my mind, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Ask Him to help my unbelief and believe I am who He says I am. Believe He is who He says He is.

Alongside Self-Condemnation, Doubt is rooted. Both deeply enmeshed in the garden of my heart. Several days ago I was still stuck in the first half of that poem. So afraid for Jesus to fully invade and take control. So afraid if I trusted Him with my healing and my heart—totally and completely—I would be hurt. I would receive pain. I wouldn’t be healed. I doubted that He is the God of miracles. Doubted that He wants to heal me.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” –Ephesians 2:4-5

It is because of His great love for me. He loves me. Imperfections and all. The real question is, do I love me? If I were to never change one more thing for the rest of my life, but stay exactly as imperfect as I am, do I love me? Jesus loved me long before I was in this condition. He loved me while I was still His enemy.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” –Romans 5:8,10

Today I choose to reject self-condemnation and doubt. I reject perfectionism. I cannot boast in God’s saving grace if I expect myself to reach a place in which I don’t need saving. I trust that Jesus will uproot all the doubt and deceit in my heart. I have faith He will heal my brokenness. I believe I am exactly who God wants me to be at this very moment.  I am a child of God. I rest in His loving arms and I cry, “Abba, Father.”

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].” –Romans 8:1 AMP

Thanks, and I do believe You.

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