I wonder how many times during a week that we could catch ourselves thinking negative thoughts about ourselves? For me those thoughts usually go along the lines of “If only I hadn’t said that” or “If only I looked like that then I could…” or “That person can do this so much better than I can”.
Or is that only me?
The problem is that not only do those thoughts portray negative things about ourselves in the present, but they also limit our potential for the things we can achieve in the future.
The incredible thing about being a Christian is that no matter how we may feel about ourselves at a particular point in time, the truth is that we are children of God (John 1:12) who were created in His image (Genesis 1:27). We are created with a purpose to be witnesses to the incredible things Jesus has done (Acts 1:8) and to show others the goodness of God (1 Peter 2:9). In God’s eyes our potential is limitless, but so often we let the limiting perceptions that we have of ourselves get in the way of becoming the people God has called us to be.
I became a Christian when I was 15 years old; until then the concept of being a masterpiece created for a purpose was one that I had never come across. I still vividly remember the evening when the faith that had become familiar to me through the lives of some of my friends became a personal reality through the words of Psalm 139. One of my youth leaders was reading the Psalm as part of a youth talk and afterwards I prayed with her and gave my life to Jesus. From that moment I have been on a journey of discovery, finding out what it is that God has in His plan for me. Thankfully, that calling is based on the truth of being a child of God rather than my limiting self-perceptions.
As we go through life discovering what it is that God is calling us to, it is essential that we learn to see ourselves through God’s eyes. In Josh McDowell’s book See Yourself As God Sees You he recognises that “your core identity – and particularly your perception of it – plays a vital role in determining how you carry yourself in daily life.” He also states “your identity as a child of God will make a world of difference in how you view your life, your struggles, your relationships with others, and your relationship with God.” So how do we achieve this in a world where the media constantly reminds us of the brokenness all around us, where a new breakfast cereal promises to revolutionise the next season of our lives, or a new moisturiser guarantees that we won’t look any older? McDowell’s recommendation is that in order to transform our sense of identity and hold on to the truth of who we are created to be, we need to immerse ourselves in environments where the truth about who we are abounds.
What do these environments look like for you? Maybe it is a spouse or close friend who will always remind you of your identity in Christ. Maybe it is your work colleagues who will encourage you to try something that you never thought you could achieve. Who are the cheerleaders who will walk with you through this journey of discovery and keep reminding you of who it is that God has created you to be and called you to do?
 Josh McDowell, See Yourself As God Sees You (Cumbria: Paternoster Publishing, 2000), p5
 Josh McDowell, See Yourself As God Sees You (Cumbria: Paternoster Publishing, 2000), p7
 Josh McDowell, See Yourself As God Sees You (Cumbria: Paternoster Publishing, 2000), p166