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Who Do You Think You Are?

Hi Sacred Tree Family! We have officially made it past Valentine’s Day and no matter what your opinion is on this holiday, I pray that you find yourself feeling more assured of just how loved you are by your Father!

Last week we learned how distortions in our view of God can cause us to have incorrect beliefs about His character which hinders our ability to trust Him, connect with Him, and ultimately our ability to be able to love him with all of our heart, mind, and spirit as the greatest commandment instructs. We went over some strategies to help reconcile our view of God with the truth of who He is. This week, we are going to take a similar approach, but with ourselves. Yes, this week is all about learning to love ourselves! Ourself is often the hardest person for us to love and we often overlook the importance of being able to do so. However, Matthew 22 shows us how vitally important loving ourself is and that it cannot be overlooked. Since we are instructed to love our neighbor as ourself, we MUST be able to first love ourselves well in order to be able to fulfill our command to love others. Easier said than done, right?

So why is loving ourselves often so difficult? What gets in the way? Well, it comes down to the same barrier in our ability to fully love God- a distorted view. When we have a distorted view of ourselves and don’t understand our true identity, it makes being able to love extremely difficult. Again, it’s hard to love someone you view in a negative way. So what causes these distortions and how can we change them?

First, we need to understand core beliefs. Core beliefs are a person’s most central ideas about themselves, others, and the world. These beliefs act like a lens through which every situation and life experience is seen. Because of this, people with different core beliefs might be in the same situation, but think, feel, and behave very differently. Even if a core belief is inaccurate, it still shapes how a person sees the world, themselves, others, or God. Harmful core beliefs lead to negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whereas helpful core beliefs lead to more balanced reactions and perceptions.

Our life experiences and interactions with others help shape our core beliefs. When we have been wounded by these experiences our core beliefs are shaped in a negative way and we are more prone to get identity from these experiences rather than processing them in a healthy way. This results in us believing lies about our identity and worth that may hinder our ability to truly love ourselves.

Just as we did with God, it is imperative that we reconcile our current view of self with the truth of who we are. This week, we are going to do another exercise to help us do just that. I want you to write down all of the attributes of your ideal self. Then review what you wrote and identify where you may be placing unrealistic expectations on yourself. Review these ideal attributes again and see if you can find areas where you may actually be meeting some of your own expectations. Finally, I would encourage you to read Ephesians 2 to get an idea of what God says is your true identity. After reading, ask yourself if you would change any of the attributes of your ideal self to better mirror what God says about you.

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