When I met my husband, I was in my final months of Bible College. He had just planted a church so as soon as we were wed, I joined him in ministry. After graduating, I sought secular work while the church was still small. The favor of God opened doors and I was quickly promoted until I was marketing VP for a global company.
I was a wife, mother, pastor and director. Each role gave my life a sense of value. The titles and kudos that went with them built my confidence. They made me feel whole. The stage was set for success. Or was it?
My self-esteem was based on what I did and my identity was wrapped up in my roles. But this was a problem. If my job makes me feel good about myself, what happens if I lose it? If being called ‘Pastor’ makes me feel valuable, how will I cope with the rejections of ministry? If I need people’s praises to build me up then their criticism will definitely tear me down. God wants our view of our value to be based on His, and not man’s, opinions.
God would not raise me up on shaky foundations. He had to go to the source of my identity flaws. He revealed roots of rejection hidden beneath the surface. He broke down my veneer in order to build the real me back up.
Jacob had God-fearing parents, was called to ministry and he loved the Lord. However, he had a difficult journey. Right from the start, his dad showed disdain towards him. He gave him a name which means deceiver. So every time anyone called him, it was as though they were shouting, “Hey, cheat!” Not only that, his father openly preferred his twin brother.
I believe that Jacob’s inner picture was framed by a mixture of negative words and rejection. The Bible says that words frame our worlds so it was not long before Jacob was living his name. He tricked Esau out of his birthright and deceived his dad into giving him the first born blessing that was rightfully his brother’s.
Despite any shortcomings, God will never give up on us. Jacob messed up and went about things the wrong way but the Lord was with Him through it all. During the years when I took confidence from my gifts and tried to toot my own horn, God, in His love and mercy, still used me and blessed me.
Jacob left home to start a family. He met Rachel (and Leah), married (twice) and had lots of destiny children. He worked hard and became extremely successful, probably subconsciously trying to prove his importance by his achievements. However, marriage, family, ministry or wealth can never create lasting self-worth.
The day came when Jacob decided enough was enough. He made a decision: I am not leaving my prayer closet until something changes. God did not breathe fire from heaven. He did not release earth-quaking power. The Lord, who knows everything, asked him his name. You see, Jacob’s name symbolised the pain and failings of the past. It represented his dad’s disdain and reminded him of the error of his ways. God was asking Jacob to face the truth. The Lord never wants us to brush over our hurts or ignore our issues. God desires truth. When we face the truth, we begin our journey with Jesus to wholeness and freedom.
If God were to ask you your name, what would your answer be? What label best describes your true view of yourself? Perhaps you have become so disheartened that you feel like one big disappointment. Maybe you have been so rejected that you see yourself as forsaken. You may just think that you are a little less valuable than most other people. On the surface, I seemed so successful, yet deep down, I did not believe that I was good enough.
Jacob faced the truth and it birthed a new beginning in his life. I encourage you to do the same. Stop reading for a moment and tell The Lord how you see yourself. Tell Him why you see yourself that way and ask Him to start the process of healing your heart.
The Lord made a new pronouncement over his son: “You will no longer be Jacob, the rejected cheat. From now on, you are Israel – Prince with God.” The Lord gave him a new identity based on love and acceptance.
God wants to give you a new name. Instead of rejected, He calls you accepted. Instead of inadequate, He says you are complete in Him. Instead of a let down, the Lord says that you are His delight. To become the man or woman that He has called us to be, we need to allow God to heal our foundations, to restore our view of ourselves. He heals our hearts and then seeks to give us a new identity based on His love and acceptance.
Every blog I write deals with a different heart issue to help get you ready to fulfil your God-given destiny. If you would like to be free to be your best, get my new book 30 Day Detox for your Soul. You will be amazed at what God will do. It’s available in kindle and paperback via Amazon. If you really want to be free to be your best, book a space on the next Healed for Life. See https://www.jonaughton.com/healed-for-life/ for details.