Perspective change is a beautiful thing. We can’t see things differently, however, until someone else lends us their eyes. God has lent me His, and what I saw through them has changed my life. My last post was about the deeply engrained way that I have always seen myself: broken. Ten years ago, my life completely changed when I finally and thoroughly understood (believed to the depths of my being!) that I was completely accepted and consumingly loved by God, despite my inability to completely clean myself up and become acceptable. I finally truly understood what Jesus Christ had provided that for me (not just soul salvation, but an entirely new identity). I felt like the orphan who had just discovered that she was, in fact, the daughter of a king. And I began to live out of that inheritance and that identity. That beautiful existence has never diminished, and has only grown stronger and more substantive over the intervening years. It is also the very passion that has propelled me to serve others.
But that, dear reader, was how God saw me. I was finally safe in His presence, His thorough assessment of my life, and His too-beautiful-to-fathom love for me. But that was not what the world saw, and it was not what I saw when I looked in my inner mirror. I was no longer trying to please God, but I was most definitely still trying to finally satisfy my own standards for myself. Along the path of my journey to healing, I have gradually died to living for others’ approval, although there are still a few key people who are in authority over me or whose opinion matters greatly to me that I still long to find me satisfactory, if not valuable. This is only a handful of people at this point, however, and it rarely governs my actions, even if I am aware of their appraisal.
My most critical judge of myself has been me. I have done everything I knew to do to satisfy this harsh dictator within myself, and while I have not been miserable inside for a very long time, I have always been at least vaguely aware of the grading system that evaluated my progress. Some of you will be painfully familiar with those rare but lovely, sunny days when our inner measuring process finds our productivity or accomplishment pleasing. If so , you will also be keenly aware of the many, many days when your inner assessment deems your progress to be unsatisfactory.
Despite my best efforts, I had not been freed of this terrible burden. We often refer to this as being “overly hard” on ourselves, or of being “our own worst critic.” No matter how we refer to it, it boils down to one thing: judging ourselves. This issue of the way I see myself has been building for the past year. God has been increasing my painful awareness of this issue, and He has put countless stepping stones in my path to lead me to this place of healing. But how, I passionately implored Him, can I see myself any differently than I do?
You cannot talk yourself into a new belief system, nor can you will your way into one. My journey with God has taught me one crucial and inescapable fact: unless God speaks that new perspective to me, it cannot become mine. Many times, God does this through Scripture. Sometimes He uses other human beings to bring His life-altering word to us. And sometimes, He speaks it directly into our spirits in such a way that our perspective turns on a dime, and we have an entirely new paradigm shift – one that is permanent. God has used each of these methods in my life, but the most powerful changes have come through this latter method. Lest you be wary of hearing God’s voice in this manner, let me assure you that when God speaks like this, not just through the normal nudges, impressions, and guidance of the Holy Spirit, but when He speaks powerfully in this way, TRUTH is so clear that you can no longer understand why you didn’t already see this truth. It becomes conspicuous in its imposing, substantive reality. There are no doubts, there are no questions. When God speaks like this, it is final, and it is life-giving.
For those of you who prefer a shorter read, let me just say to you that I can never again see myself as I have always seen myself. I am not being dramatic; I am being honest. My old perspective has been blown away by the light of God’s truth, and the cleansing water of His word has bathed my entire inner being in glorious newness. Everything within me came to life in a new way, as if even my physical cells are vibrating and singing in response to God’s re-creation word. The perspective that needed to change was not about superficial matters, although those matters certainly received constant judgment. The perspective change was about who I am, at the deepest core of my being, in my own estimation. And more importantly, and the linchpin that God demonstrated, was the reason for that personal estimation. But how could the reason change when I had evaluated all the information as thoroughly as any ultra-contemplative person could and had always drawn the same conclusion? Ahhhh… There was an important piece of information missing that would shed light, and then God would lend me His eyes to reinterpret my entire life. And what I saw there changed me utterly. If you would like a glimpse into this experience, read on in The Me I See, Part 3.