I've been doing a lot of "soul searching" lately, and I feel like victory is close for one of my life long struggles. Subconscious beliefs. Or, in a slightly less psycho-babble way of putting it, "core beliefs."
Core beliefs are the basis of our personalities. We come into the world as babies; innocent, blank slates. As we get older, our endless faith in human wisdom makes us into little vacuums who suck up everything we perceive in the world around us as TRUTH. Without realizing what we are really doing, we internalize and process every word, facial expression, and approval or disapproval of everyone we look up to, from parents to teachers to friends. By the time we are adults, we have spent literally years accepting and molding these observations into the core beliefs that we live by, such as:
- Food is comfort.
- Sex is evil and dirty.
- *Insert race, gender, sexual preference* are the cause of all of our problems in the world.
- No one will like you if you aren't perfect.
These, among thousands of other unhealthy, unfounded core beliefs become ingrained in our minds and guide us to live out our lives accordingly.
If we feel like sex is dirty, we will probably avoid intimacy, and maybe even destroy relationships from the inside, in order to avoid it. And maybe intimacy, love, and a family is all you've ever wanted, but because this is your core belief, your subconscious mind is always at work to destroy those things in order to fulfill what it sees as "right."
Here's something you need to know about core beliefs: they are mostly lies. While some deep truths become part of our core beliefs, the vast majority of our beliefs were created by watching someone we trust and trying to mold ourselves in order to please them.
I have a preteen daughter who loves to clean. I think she's crazy, but this is beside the point. I think that her drive to keep everything neat and tidy came from constant approval when she did this right, and disapproval when things weren't clean. She equates "deeds" with reward and approval. So now whenever she is over at someone's house, she will mindlessly start picking up and cleaning their house because she desires to feel approval from the person whose house it is.
We are all like this. We crave approval from others. But what are we willing to do to gain it?
Today, specifically, I want to talk to you about my #1 most driving and dangerous core belief, because it's one I hear from many, many people.
I'm not good enough.
We tell ourselves we aren't good enough for a certain partner, or a certain job, or that if we put ourselves "out there" we will fail. The big one is that we feel we aren't good enough for God to love. Yep. I'm all up in your kool-aid today.
Let's try to lining this up with scripture to see if it rings true.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Is he not the One who (...) shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? Job 34:18-19
Those are just two examples from scripture that relate to how God sees us. Do you still think He ever looks at you and says, "Nope, not that one. They aren't good enough."? Let's break this down a little further,
1. Our loving Father shows no partiality because He created us in His own image, and we are the works of His hands. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His masterpiece. I don't know about you, but imagining God looking at you without accepting you, His masterpiece, would be like da Vinci looking at the Mona Lisa and saying, "eh, not my best work..."
2. God sent Christ in our place. He sent His perfect Son to die for us, while we were still living in our imperfections. In fact, our omniscient Father sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, knowing we were going to sin! All of us who had not even been born in that time hadn't even had a chance to sin, and yet He was sent to die for those sins. Our slates were cleaned before our lives ever began.
How on earth could you go on believing that you aren't good enough for His love, His grace, His acceptance when you really think about these points?
Knowing that Christ died for us even while we were still sinners means that His death has already covered us in every sin. Even when we cuss. Even if we steal. Even if we go bankrupt. Even if we don't get the job. Even if we lust. Even if we are addicts. Even if we cheat on our spouse. Even if we live our whole lives out without reaching our goals. Even if we get a divorce. Even if we fail in the eyes of every person around us. He accepts us and loves us.
You are good enough. You were already good enough before you were ever born, because Christ bridged the gap in all of our inadequacies before we even came up short!
It is time to take a good look at the TRUTH, and let that truth become a part of our inner beliefs. Every time that you struggle with feeling like you have gone too far, or have done too much for God to really love you and be close to you, remember these truths: He created you in His image because you are His. You are His masterpiece. No one is too mighty or too unworthy for His love. And there is nothing about you that would be so bad as to separate you from His love.
We must immerse ourselves in the truth in order to overcome the lies that we have picked up over time. I recommend making this truth into your personal mantra for a time. Each time you say to yourself, "I am not worthy of love," counter it with the truth, that you were made in love, by love, and for love, because God created you, and He is love. For every core lie, there is a core truth that you can replace it with. In fact, there are biblical affirmations that you can search by topic to speak over your life when you run into a wall of lies. You don't have to be a slave to your subconscious beliefs! Take every thought captive. If it isn't truth, grab it, put it in a box, and replace it with truth!