Bad Inner Talk
For the longest time I lived with the belief that if anyone knew the real me, they would reject me. I felt the person I was, the real me, was not good enough. If I wanted people to like me, I would have to hide certain aspects of myself and only allow them to see those things that I felt were acceptable because, deep down, I thought I was and always will be a failure.
Last week we looked at why Christian leaders fall. I understand the temptation because I lived it out. The whole time I was struggling with this negative view of myself, I was also trying to be a Christian leader serving in the local church, sharing Jesus with others, leading Bible studies, discipling others, etc. I truly loved Jesus, and I was doing my best to show Him and others how good I was.
When you are wanting to be in Christian leadership, you feel any acknowledgement of struggle or failure will disqualify you. Therefore exposing anything negative about yourself is extremely scary because you risk losing any potential of having a ministry. However, when we don’t share with others the thoughts in our heads, we keep them in the dark and allow them to grow bigger.
The Inner Thoughts in the Parable of the Prodigal Son
Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15) who actively rebels against his father and takes his inheritance. In it, we also see the other son who will not enter the celebration of the return of his brother. The story overwhelms us with the love of the father toward both sons.
The story also shows so much more. We are given a glimpse into how both sons got to that point. The younger son feels he is no longer worthy to be called a son. He hopes that he would be allowed to maybe become a servant in his dad’s household. The older son already felt like a slave and could never get the appreciation on his father.
Neither of them could enter into how their father really felt until they were able to express the beliefs they had. This is why we need others in our lives. The lies we believe always make sense when we keep them in our head; sharing them with others exposes them to the light so we may find true healing.
The Older and Younger Brothers Were Alike
Most Christians are one of these two brothers. We are children of God, but we will not fully enjoy the full love God has for us because of false beliefs about how we view ourselves or God. We may regularly study the Scripture or listen to sermons, but if we don’t address these things we feel as true, we will also be on the outside looking in at the life God wants for us.
No matter how much we know to be true about God, we will eventually act out of what we believe instead of what we know. For me, if I believe I am a failure, I will eventually cause myself to fail. If I believe people will reject me if they really know me, I will maintain a distance from really allowing people into my life, even my wife.
Leaders who believe they have to earn everything they get will be intimidated by the success of others. If they believe that God won’t work on their behalf, they will try to control every aspect of their ministry to protect themselves from potential failure. We cannot truly walk in love and service of others without trusting God to take care of us.
Relationships Are Our Safeguards Against Failure
The reason that vulnerability and relationships are our safeguards against failure is that we need to share these things we feel are true in order to find freedom from them. This is how we bring stuff into the light. Talking to people we trust about the roadblocks in our lives or the temptations we face, allow incorrect beliefs come to the surface.
Without expressing these thoughts and feelings, you will be led by them without even knowing it. I have no doubt you know the Scripture, but things come into our lives all the time that get us to think other things are more true.
Do you worry? Than you are having trouble believing God will provide or protect you. Do you have anger? You are losing confidence in God’s amazing love and forgiveness. Are you experiencing envy or jealousy? You starting to think that God will withhold His blessings for you.
Unless we consciously work on it, we will always live out of what feels more true. Safe people allow us to become aware of those wrong beliefs and to actively work against them. It is the safety of caring relationships that creates a space where thoughts and feelings can be explored to root out all that is not in agreement with what God says.
There Is No More Condemnation
When we know we will find acceptance in whatever we share, we are no longer afraid of what we may find. Instead you look forward to getting things into the light that you may have greater freedom in every area of your life.
This is why paid for all of our sin on the cross. We now have no condemnation and can boldly come before God to find help and freedom. We don’t have to hide our faults for fear of rejection and punishment because God made it a pathway toward experiencing more of the abundant life Jesus provides.
Vulnerability is Strength and Releases Life
I hope that each of you will take risks to be known by other people. You are amazing and the more you reveal about yourself will give God more to work with on you. He created you (body, mind, and soul) and called you good. He wants to you to live out of all that He has put in you.
If you are afraid to be known in some area, you will limit what God can use. And, the more that you start to accept who God made you, the less likely you will be drawn toward sin because it is just not who God created you to be.
Other people will help you see, love, and be all of who God made you.
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.