Base Your Identity On This

self-esteem

I stared at my first college report card. Most of the grades were As and Bs. Not bad.

But there was one grade that stuck out. Aural Music Theory: C. Not good.

All semester long I had struggled with this class. The professor asked us to do a whole list of seemingly impossible tasks: “Listen as I play this chord on the piano and identify its quality. Write down this rhythm as I tap it out. Listen to this melody and write it out note by note.” I knew I wasn’t getting an A in that class.

But a C. For someone who had always prided herself on good report cards, a C was depressing.

I was never good at athletics. In grade school, I was always the last kid picked for teams. I knew I would never win a beauty pageant. My sister got all the natural good looks in the family. So I based all my self-esteem in the fact that I was pretty good at memorizing facts and understanding algebra and taking tests.

What did it mean if I wasn’t good at school anymore?

Most of us tend to base our identity in our looks, our skills, or our intellect. Maybe you’ve always been the cute girl. Or perhaps you could run fast from the time you were in first grade. Or like me, you were always the one who could ace a test.

We take pride in who we are.

Now, it isn’t necessarily wrong to find satisfaction in the gifts God has given us. The problem comes when we base our identity in those gifts. We run the risk of losing the ability to like ourselves when all of our self-esteem is wrapped up in being able to please certain people or perform certain tasks. Because what happens if we can’t do them anymore?

God wants you to see that you are not just Beauty Queen, Athlete, or Comedian. You are His child and He loves you not because you are pretty or smart. He loves you because He loves you.

Romans 5:8 says:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were beautiful. It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were winning races.

It does say: God shows His love for us while we were still messed up. It does say: Christ died for us when we didn’t look like much.

God loves us. Period.

And that is where your identity and pride should be based. Your self-esteem won’t be rocked as long as you keep in mind this one timeless truth: God loves you as you are.

Remember, you are not only Gifted Athlete, Amazing Brainiac, or even Ordinary Girl. You are a Child of the King.

Question: Where do you tend to base your identity?

Divine Makeover001

This post is adapted from my book for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Are you looking for a meaningful Christian gift for a young lady? Consider Divine Makeover, a book that encourages young women to find their beauty and identity in Christ. It has a lot of fun along the way with clothing analogies and fashion tips. Find it here and here.

Why Giving Up Control Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

giving up control

“Sharla, you most certainly would be classified as a Field Marshal.”

My sister-in-law’s words caught me off guard. I was sitting at the dinner table enjoying a relaxed meal with my extended family.  We were passing potatoes and sharing stories when my sister-in-law began talking about a personality test she was using at work. She was so excited about the test that she started to guess how each of us might be classified.

She went around the table, identifying each person: “You would probably be called a Mastermind.” “I think you would be a Champion.” “You might be a Healer.”

I wondered what I might be. Mastermind or Champion sounded impressive. But when my sister-in-law looked at me and called me a Field Marshal, I was stunned. How could she compare me to a bossy military commander who ordered troops?

Was she right? Did other people perceive me as bossy and controlling? Even though I wasn’t convinced I was the one wearing a field marshal uniform, my sister-in-law’s comment forced me to look at myself. Well, I did like to keep things organized. Like an army officer, I took charge of my surroundings: clothes arranged by color, kitchen utensils by use, and books by author’s last name. But did that make me a control freak?

OK, maybe I wore that field marshal uniform more often than I wanted to admit. I noticed my inner control freak often came out when working with others. I couldn’t help offering “suggestions”: “Don’t you think it would be better if we did it this way?” “I’ve found this method to be much more successful.” “I really don’t think that’s right.”

Then I realized I sometimes did the same thing with my heavenly Father: “God, my life would be so much better if You answered my prayers according to my plan.” “This is not the way my life should be going!”

When I looked at myself honestly, I couldn’t deny I had a few control issues. So I took my sister-in-law’s words to heart and tried to change my ways. I realized that my relationships with God and the people in my life could be improved if I stepped out of the commander’s uniform.

If we’re truthful, we all like to be in control. But when we’re ready to change, the first step is realizing that God is the One wearing the field marshal suit.

James 4:7 says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

The Greek word for submit is actually a military term meaning “to rank under.” In other words, if I am submitting to God, I am willing to obey Him. I am the one who takes orders, not gives them.

Okay, I admit this is not easy, especially for someone labeled a Field Marshal. It goes against everything in me to let God be in charge of my life. I want things to go my way.

But then I remember: God is God and I am not. No matter how badly I want to control the universe to my advantage, the truth is—God is in control. When I pull against His leading, I am only struggling out of His loving hand.

A surprising thing happens when I stop straining and allow my heavenly Father to lead me. When I let Him direct my life, I find that I’m happier than when I foolishly think I’m the one in charge. When I stop pounding my fists and demanding my way, I can open up my hands for God’s blessings.

When I stop pounding my fists and

 

 

Divine Makeover001

This post was adapted from my book for teens and young women:

Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Do you need a Christian gift for a graduate? A special present for a confirmand? A resource for a summer study with some awesome teens?

Check out Divine Makeover at CPH and Amazon.

For When You Feel Ordinary

ForWhenYouFeelOrdinaryI took a step back and looked at the bride. She was radiant in her white gown. A smile lit up her face when she saw her reflection in the mirrors all around the room. Her beauty was obvious.

During my college years I worked at a bridal salon each summer. I got to work with stunning bridal gowns, lovely bridesmaids’ dresses, and gorgeous formals. I could run my fingers over smooth satin and intricate lace. I was able to see the latest designs covered with sequins and pearls. Each dress was a work of art.

But what made the job especially interesting was to see the transformation of the girls who came in to try on the dresses. Since it was summertime, most of them came in to the store wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a tee shirt. Not particularly glamorous.

When a girl arrived for her fitting, I showed her to a room covered with mirrors and brought in her dress. I slipped the dress over her head. From the smiles visible in every mirror, I could tell she felt like a princess. In just a few minutes, she was transformed from an ordinary girl in summer shorts to a dazzling beauty in a stunning gown.

The Holy Spirit does something like that for us in our hearts. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are born with dirty hearts. We are hopeless and helpless. But when we first receive the gift of faith, the Holy Spirit begins our divine makeover. He starts by clothing us in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-27 says:

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

WeddingDress

What does it mean to put on Christ? When we put on clothes, they cover our bodies. When people look at us they see the outfit, not our skin. When we put on Christ, He is the one that others see. In God’s eyes we are no longer ordinary girls, we are princesses in His kingdom.   We are radically changed.  

Putting on Christ is not just playing dress-up. The Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out. A beautiful gown may make you look like a princess, but when you are clothed with Christ, you truly are a princess—a child of the King.

Question: When have you felt transformed by a dress?

This post was adapted from my new book for teen girls:

Divine Makeover001Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful  Check it out!

 

 

original photo source

Base Your Pride On This

self-esteemI stared at my first college report card. Most of the grades were As and Bs. Not bad.

But there was one grade that stuck out. Aural Music Theory: C. Not good.

All semester long I had struggled with this class. The professor asked us to do a whole list of seemingly impossible tasks: “Listen as I play this chord on the piano and identify its quality. Write down this rhythm as I tap it out. Listen to this melody and write it out note by note.” I knew I wasn’t getting an A in that class.

But a C. For someone who had always prided herself on good report cards, a C was depressing.

I was never good at athletics. In grade school, I was always the last kid picked for teams. I knew I would never win a beauty pageant. My sister got all the natural good looks in the family. So I based all my self-esteem in the fact that I was pretty good at memorizing facts and understanding algebra and taking tests.

What did it mean if I wasn’t good at school anymore?

Most of us tend to base our identity in our looks, our skills, or our intellect. Maybe you’ve always been the cute girl. Or perhaps you could run fast from the time you were in first grade. Or like me, you were always the one who could ace a test.

We take pride in who we are.

Now, it isn’t necessarily wrong to find satisfaction in the gifts God has given us. The problem comes when we base our identity in those gifts. We run the risk of losing the ability to like ourselves when all of our self-esteem is wrapped up in being able to please certain people or perform certain tasks. Because what happens if we can’t do them anymore?

God wants you to see that you are not just Beauty Queen, Athlete, or Comedian. You are His child and He loves you not because you are pretty or smart. He loves you because He loves you.

Romans 5:8 says:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were beautiful. It doesn’t say: God shows His love for you while you were winning races.

It does say: God shows His love for us while we were still messed up. It does say: Christ died for us when we didn’t look like much.

God loves us. Period.

And that is where your identity and pride should be based. Your self-esteem won’t be rocked as long as you keep in mind this one timeless truth: God loves you as you are.

Remember, you are not only Gifted Athlete, Amazing Brainiac, or even Ordinary Girl. You are a Child of the King.

Question: Where do you tend to base your identity?

Divine Makeover001This post is adapted from my new book for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Are you looking for a meaningful Christian gift for a young lady? Consider Divine Makeover, a book that encourages young women to find their beauty and identity in Christ. It has a lot of fun along the way with clothing analogies and fashion tips. Find it here and here.

In Control

DiVineblogtour_3

“Sharla, you most certainly would be classified as a Field Marshal.”

My sister-in-law’s words caught me off guard. I was sitting at the dinner table enjoying a relaxed meal with my extended family.  We were passing potatoes and sharing stories when my sister-in-law began talking about a personality test she was using at work. She was so excited about the test that she started to guess how each of us might be classified.

She went around the table, identifying each person: “You would probably be called a Mastermind.” “I think you would be a Champion.” “You might be a Healer.”

I wondered what I might be. Mastermind or Champion sounded impressive. But when my sister-in-law looked at me and called me a Field Marshal, I was stunned. How could she compare me to a bossy military commander who ordered troops?

Was she right? Did other people perceive me as bossy and controlling? Even though I wasn’t convinced I was the one wearing a field marshal uniform, my sister-in-law’s comment forced me to look at myself. Well, I did like to keep things organized. Like an army officer, I took charge of my surroundings: clothes arranged by color, kitchen utensils by use, and books by author’s last name. But did that make me a control freak?

OK, maybe I wore that field marshal uniform more often than I wanted to admit. I noticed my inner control freak often came out when working with others. I couldn’t help offering “suggestions”: “Don’t you think it would be better if we did it this way?” “I’ve found this method to be much more successful.” “I really don’t think that’s right.”

Then I realized I sometimes did the same thing with my heavenly Father: “God, my life would be so much better if You answered my prayers according to my plan.” “This is not the way my life should be going!”

When I looked at myself honestly, I couldn’t deny I had a few control issues. So I took my sister-in-law’s words to heart and tried to change my ways. I realized that my relationships with God and the people in my life could be improved if I stepped out of the commander’s uniform.

If we’re truthful, we all like to be in control. But when we’re ready to change, the first step is realizing that God is the One wearing the field marshal suit.

James 4:7 says,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

The Greek word for submit is actually a military term meaning “to rank under.” In other words, if I am submitting to God, I am willing to obey Him. I am the one who takes orders, not gives them.

Okay, I admit this is not easy, especially for someone labeled a Field Marshal. It goes against everything in me to let God be in charge of my life. I want things to go my way.

But then I remember: God is God and I am not. No matter how badly I want to control the universe to my advantage, the truth is—God is in control. When I pull against His leading, I am only struggling out of His loving hand.

A surprising thing happens when I stop straining and allow my heavenly Father to lead me. When I let Him direct my life, I find that I’m happier than when I foolishly think I’m the one in charge. When I stop pounding my fists and demanding my way, I can open up my hands for God’s blessings.

Question: What discoveries have you made when you have let God take control?

 

Divine Makeover001

This post was adapted from my new book for teens and young women:

Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful.

Perhaps you have been looking for a resource for your youth group or a study to do with your daughter. Or maybe you need a confirmation or graduation gift for a lovely young woman.

Check out Divine Makeover at CPH and Amazon.

The Secret to Unfading Beauty

1 Peter 3-4

Today’s post is an excerpt from my new book for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful. 

“Hey mom, can I buy this mascara?”

“Can I get this lip gloss? I’ll use my own money. Pleeeease?”

“Will you ever let me wear makeup?

When I was thirteen, these were the questions I pestered my mother with constantly. After reading teen magazines, I was convinced that makeup was what I needed to be beautiful. Just a little mascara, a bit of blush, and a dab of lip gloss and I would be able to look like the models on the glossy pages I read over and over. A few cosmetics were all I needed to make everyone at school like me—to make me like me.

Plenty of products

Judging by the thousands of beauty products available, I’m not the only one who has ever had those thoughts. During a quick trip to the drug store today, I stopped to browse in the makeup aisle. I was astounded by the number of mascaras available for sale. Under the Maybelline sign alone I counted twelve different colorful tubes of the stuff. Almay had five. Cover Girl had thirteen. In all, I found 73 unique products guaranteed to enhance my eyelashes!

That doesn’t even take into account all of the other items offered in the cosmetic aisle. We can buy products to make our cheeks appear rosier, our eyebrows darker, and our lips shinier. Thousands of choices are available to buff up our appearance—our physical beauty.

True beauty is inside

When I looked up and down all the aisles of the store, I couldn’t find any products to help me enhance my inner beauty. I didn’t see any gels or lotions to help me develop a beautiful heart. Which is sad, because that’s the kind of beauty God wants us to have…..

To continue reading, click here to see the rest of the article at Fervr.

Divine Makeover001Do you have a daughter or granddaughter celebrating a graduation or confirmation this spring? Consider blessing her with a copy of     Divine Makeover!