Spending time in God’s Word has become very important to me. I find myself drawn to Scripture that tells me who I am in Him and how God feels about me.
I wrote about a verse Jude a few weeks ago that tells us we are beloved, called, and kept.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how God feels about me. I even changed my Instagram name to knownseenliked because I needed to focus my head and my heart on the true identity that God knows me, sees me, and likes me.
All of this focus on me feels wrong. I get a little sting inside that says, Shouldn’t you be focusing on who God is?
Is it wrong? Is my sting right? Should I be focusing more on God and less on me?
My youngest Hezekiah does this really cute thing, but it hit me yesterday that it was very telling to how our brains work as human beings.
Every time I say something complimentary to Hezekiah, which I try to do because I want his 3-year-old heart to know he is amazing and loved, he rejects what I’ve said and tells me his name — which he adorably says as Kia.
Here’s how the conversations go:
Me: “You are such a good boy.”
Hezekiah. “No, I Kia.”
Me: “You are so cute!”
Hezekiah: "No, I Kia!”
Me: “You are a good brother.”
Hezekiah: “No, I Kia.”
I laugh every time. His insistence that his identity is just his nickname hasn’t stopped me from telling him all the things he is in my eyes. As a parent, I want more than anything to nurture love and kindness in him towards others and himself.
As humans, it is not easy for us to accept positive comments. We are protective and defensive. We easily accept criticism without question, but we are skeptical of praise and complements.
I know this because I had a Christian counselor tell me that I was doing this. He made me start writing down things people said to me that were complementary. It felt silly, but I did it because I wanted to get better. I was so mentally unhealthy, berating myself with negative self-talk.
Earlier this year I saw Curt Thompson speak at the IF:Gathering, and he presented the brain science behind the principle of accepting compliments differently. He shared that research shows that it takes our bodies about 3 seconds to absorb and believe a negative comment and about 30 seconds for us to absorb and believe a compliment. He encouraged us to not push away and deflect a compliment out of humility or false humility because when you do that, you have no chance of ever accepting it. He asked us to take a deep breath and let those kind words that were just spoken about us sink in. He asked us to go back to those words later in the day when we had time to really let our mind believe those words.
If this neurobiologist, psychiatrist knows it is important for good things said about you to be absorbed and I as a parent long for good things said about my children to be absorbed, then can we agree that God wants the good things He has said to His children to be absorbed?
It is important that we listen to the good things God says about us, and I’ve come to believe that that small sting inside of me that says I should only be focused on what is said about God is evil shame that does not want good for me.
Shame is the enemy that keeps us blind and in a corner. It keeps us from connecting to others and sharing our faith.
Obviously, we need to commit time to learn God’s character, and what we believe about God must line up with what Scripture says about God.
This knowing God does not mean knowing how God feels about us is then unimportant. Don’t skip absorbing what God says about you because of humility, false humility, or shame.
God says you are Beloved. God says you are known. God says you are seen. God says you are liked, friended, and included. God says you are chosen. God says you are called. God says you are commissioned. God says you are kept.
New Head & the Heart song this week. Ekkk!
If you’re interested in reading Curt Thompson’s work, he has published these two books: