Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Have A Heart To Heart

I'm not sure if it is all the Vitamin D from the sunshine I soaked in today or what, but I just felt the urge to update my blog. So here I am. I would like to set a realistic goal of updating it like once a week or so, but do not want to make any promises (especially to myself) that I can't keep. So let's just see how it goes, shall we? One day at a time. That saying works for all sorts of things, including but certainly not limited to blogging.

So, how in the world are you? Doing pretty well here. I mean, I have my struggles, but lately I have been experiencing some pretty cool things in the area of personal growth. And that growth is something I'd really like to share with you all. Partly because I need to share the testimony of what God has done in my life regarding this particular subject and partly because I think it might be helpful to some of you.

It may or may not surprise you to know that I have always struggled in the area of self-worth. I have always been aware of this, but recently realized just how BIG of a role this plays in a person's life. To me it didn't seem like a big deal. An issue? Yes. A big deal? No. I have recently discovered just how mistaken I was because as I took to heart some wise counsel on the subject and put into practice the suggestions made to me, I realized that this issue was effecting EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE.

Let me paint a picture for you. I did not love myself. I did not see my worth as a human being or a child of God. I thought that I did, but I truly did not. I constantly berated myself for not measuring up in any and all areas of my life. I said terrible, terrible things to myself constantly. This negative self-talk was so pervasive, that when I started to think about how I would stop it and ultimately reverse it, I was overwhelmed. How could I change my very being? It had gone beyond words, it was who I had become.

However, I did listen to the wise counsel I received and tried to put it into practice. Basically it boiled down to the fact that I had certain beliefs about myself and those beliefs were based on the words that had been spoken to me and that I spoke to myself. I was told that if I could replace those negative words with positive words and truth, then I would start to believe differently about myself. I will be honest, I was skeptical at best when this was suggested to me. I was also put off by the thought of saying nice things (words) to myself. Why? Because I knew I wouldn't believe them and it would feel fake. So, I set instead a goal of simply stopping the negative thoughts (words). I figured if that worked, I might eventually be able to also replace the negative words with positive ones.

SO. I did that. I started trying to simply be aware of all my thoughts and when a negative one came into my brain, I would just say, "No, I'm not going to think that." It was the best I could do at first and was actually quite overwhelming because as I said before, the negative thoughts were constant and pervasive. Eventually this became a habit and I was ready to move on to the next step, replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones. I chose to do this with scripture. I made a list of verses that were full of truth regarding my worth in Christ, typed them onto a piece of paper and placed them in my purse. When I started to have "those" feelings and felt "those" words come to mind, I stopped the thought, pulled the list out of my purse and replaced the thought with the TRUTH about me according to my Maker. It was cumbersome at first, but eventually it became second nature.

It sounds simple, doesn't it? And it is. And it isn't. Either way, it works. Or at least it worked for me. This paradigm shift in my thinking has truly changed my life for the better. I am amazed at how it has changed me in so many positive ways. It has gone beyond words, it is who I have become! Praise God! I can honestly say that I am almost completely FREE of those negative thoughts. I am truly bewildered and amazed by this fact daily. But wait, I haven't told you the best part. The best part is that this whole process has helped me to realize some things about God that I only thought I understood before. And that is the depth of His LOVE and GRACE for me, and my value to Him. Not only do I have a better understanding of that love and grace, but I have also figured out how to truly ACCEPT it. Thank you, God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I know this has been quite lengthy, but it is only a glimpse of the journey I have been on. I hope and pray that these words will reach someone who needs to hear them as desperately as I did. If you struggle with this and would like to talk more about this with me, I would be honored to do so with you. Please send me an email or leave a comment with your contact info and we will chat over FB, phone, or even coffee if possible. I would love to share with you, pray with you, and help if I can.

I'd like to leave you with some verses and a couple of songs that have been my truth and comfort in this process.

"You are altogether beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you." Song of Solomon 4:7

"Your hands shaped me and made me." Job 10:8

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:29-31

"The king is enthralled with your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord." Psalm 45:11

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

(This one I can't seem to embed, but trust me, it's worth the click)

How He Loves by The David Crowder Band

I pray you discover your true worth in Him, my friends!


beth said...

It was good to check on your blog and see a new entry. BUT, it was AWESOME to read through and learn of how God has touched your heart recently. I'm so glad, dear friend. Because...I've always known how amazing you are. :) I know I'm part of a very large number of people who are grateful to call you "friend." But, all of that doesn't mean much if you aren't grasping how deeply, completely, and perfectly you are loved by your creator, savior, Heavenly father. So, praise God for the work He's been doing in your life. I can totally relate. I think we've been on parallel journeys. :) Praise Him for His faithfulness in pursuing His children. :)
Here's another verse to add to your of my favorites...
"The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
Love you, friend!

Shelley said...

Beautifully said Alana! I've missed seeing your sweet words on here.

Janelle said...

What a beautiful testimony! God wants us to live in FREEDOM in every area and I am thrilled that you have conquered this mountain. I remember that day with this mountain looming ahead of you. I am proud that you found the courage to take that one step...and then another...and then another.

I have been honored to have walked alongside with you on some of your journey. You are my friend. Always and forever!


Denise said...

i've been here alana. i could have written this describing me. stopping those negative thoughts has given freedom. has for the first time helped me live in grace. and by living it i can extend it (especially to my family).

there was a season i felt i had overcome this entirely, BUT i still have a difficult time replacing those thoughts with God's truth about me. i still have to work at saying no. satan is a master liar, and his lies were (are) so familiar and make sense in the most senseless way. so though i have made great strides, i'm still a work in progress in this area.

thank you for your transperency.

miss you blogging friend!

MarytheKay said...

Oh, Alana, that is a beautiful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing... Thank you, too, for the verses. I am going to print them out for myself--and for my girls.

...jus me said...

Alana, I'm sorry but this has nothing to do with your post. I know you used to comment on Kimmy's blog Snickerdoodles, and I have never heard how she is doing. Do you know or have you heard anything? You can let me know on here or my blog, whichever you would like. She has just been on my heart for such a long time.

Alana said...

Hi ...jus me. I have not heard anything from Kim lately. I have also wondered how she has been doing.

Rich said...

It has been a tough journey, but, Alana, you are more precious to me than ever, and I feel that we are closer than we have ever been. Let's continue to grow…together.

...jus me said...

Thank you has just been such a long time! Wish her Mom or Jacob would post something. Thank you for getting back to me.

Shelley said...

I just read this again Alana and just wanted to say Thank You. Thank you for being a true friend, for being so transparent, and for giving me my own purse verses! They are blessing me already!

Sara Carmichael said...

Such a timely post. I just heard How He Loves by Kim Walker/Jesus Culture today from a FB link someone posted. So amazingly awesome. I think I've struggled with the same issues some in my life. Mine have always been tied to past sins and not fully forgiving myself. I love what you've done by first not allowing yourself to think about the negative thoughts and second to replace it with Scripture. Another thing I struggle with is a complaining/depressed attitude (in my thought life) about life in general, and something that has really helped me is worship songs, especially those which incorporate Scripture. Very powerful in replacing the depression with joy. Anyway, I just thought it was neat how the Lord really lead me to this post today. Confirmation of how much He loves me. Thank you.

Lynn said...

God's truth is so much better but so much harder to hear sometimes than Satan's lies. You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing this piece of your heart, my friend. Very inspiring.