When I was a little girl growing up in church, many times they would call all the children of the church up to the front for the guest minister to pray over. We would all be lined up waiting for the preacher to get to us and wondering what he might say. I would hear all these amazing things about the kids down the row, then I would hear the preacher say things to my sister like, “You’re bold and courageous! You’re a power house! You’re a lion!” And I would be standing there just waiting to hear what awesome things he might say over me. Suddenly, he’d get to me and his voice would become very soft and he’d almost whisper, “And you’re just precious! You’re a little sweetheart. You’re a peacemaker and a little lamb.” I thought, “That’s not fair! I want to be the lion!”Even though those were good words, I think I inter-preted that as, “You’re shy. You’re quiet. You’re pas-sive.” Then, later in life I went through many painful and negative experiences that created such a poor self-image and low sense of self-worth that I became one insecure, inferior girl who basically felt insigniﬁcant. Exactly what Satan was hoping for!
Well, it’s no wonder that Isaiah 41:9 means so much to me. It clearly says, “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” I want you to think about that verse applying directly to you. God has chosen you . . . no matter what you’ve done, no matter what has been done to you… and He has not and will not cast you away! That’s a good scripture for you to memorize and confess out of your mouth every time Satan puts insecure thoughts in your mind! “God has chosen me and has not cast me away!” In other words, you are the per-fect person for the job, the promotion, the marriage, the family, the dreams that are in your heart!You might be thinking, But my husband cheated on me… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”But my dad abused me… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”
But I was raped and rejected… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”But I was dumped by someone I loved… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” But I didn’t get the job… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”But I’ve really made some huge mistakes in my life… “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”In order for you to fulﬁll your life assignment or to do what God has put you on this earth to do, it will absolutely require that you know that God has chosen you – no matter what. And I have discovered that God chooses the least likely people to do the most amazing things through. Look at some of these ﬂaws in people that God chose and used in a powerful way throughout the Bible (taken from The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren) – and see if you can relate to any of them:“Abraham was old, Jacob was insecure, Leah was unat-tractive, Joseph was abused, Moses stuttered, Gideon was poor, Samson was codependent, Rahab was immoral, Da-vid had an affair and all kinds of family problems, Elijah was suicidal, Jeremiah was depressed, Jonah was reluctant, Naomi was a widow, John the Baptist was eccentric to say the least, Peter was impulsive and hot-tempered, Martha worried a lot, the Samaritan woman had several failed mar-riages, Zaccheus was unpopular, Thomas had doubts, Paul had poor health, Timothy was timid… Misﬁts.”But God used each of them in His service. He will use you, too, if you stop making excuses!I don’t know about you, but I can relate to many of those ‘misﬁts’. At the same time, if God can use them then why can’t He use you? Why can’t you go after those dreams that are in your heart that seem so impossible right now? Jer-emiah 1:5 says, “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work.” God has a special work for you to accomplish during your time here on Earth and He is fully expecting you to carry it out. You have to have a positive self-image if you’re ever going to fully carry out your assignment.Andrew Carnegie said, “Men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt. One goes in looking for gold.” I believe you are more than an ounce of gold. God sees your potential. You need to see your potential. God sees what others don’t see. Look at the story in 1 Samuel 16 where God was going to anoint David to be the next King. Jesse brought all of his sons in to be chosen – EXCEPT David! Right away Satan was trying to belittle David and make him feel insecure in the fact that they wouldn’t even consider him as a possibility. But God saw what other people didn’t see! They brought the oldest son (who was big and powerful) and said, “Surely the Lord has anointed him.” “But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”I want you to know that God is truly looking on your heart. You may have messed up pretty bad in the past and Satan has convinced you that you could never be used of God now. He told me the same lies! He still tells me those lies – that’s why stories like David’s are so encouraging. God chooses the least likely. And God is not looking at your per-formance once you’ve repented – He is looking at the con-dition of your heart. He forgives you. He’s not mad at you. He’s not punishing you. He wants to use you.God knows that you will never fulﬁll your destiny if you never see yourself chosen. If you continue to wallow around in all of your mistakes and continue replaying all those neg-ative words that have been spoken over you, His hands are tied. I love the story in the Bible where Jesus told the disci-ples, “gather up the fragments that nothing be wasted.” You may think that your past was nothing but a fragmented waste! All those years were wasted. Your childhood was wasted. Your marriage was a waste! God is saying, “Gather up those fragments that nothing be wasted.” He chose you with your past, your weaknesses, your temptations, your struggles. Rick Warren goes on to say, “Other people are going to ﬁnd healing in your wounds. Your greatest life message and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. The things you’re most embarrassed about, most ashamed of, and most reluctant to share are the very tools God can use most powerfully to heal others.” – Rick WarrenGod chose you …just the way you are! Now once you’ve accepted that, you need to do 2 more things to improve your self image: know how to think differently and know how to speak differently about yourself! Nothing will change in your life until you begin thinking differently. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” If you see your-self as a loser, you are. If you see yourself as insigniﬁcant, you are. If you see yourself as trashy, worthless, crazy, psycho, messed up, used up – you are!
But if you see yourself as forgiven, loved, valuable, chosen – you are!Norman Vincent Peale tells a story about a tattoo parlor in China where American sailors would get tattoos. He noticed one tattoo in the window dis-play that he couldn’t believe anyone would really get. It said, “Born to Lose”. He walked inside to ask the tattoo artist if people really got that tattoo. In bro-ken English the man answered, “Before tattooed on body, tattooed on mind.”Well, how do you change the way you’ve thought for 10, 20, 30 years? Ro-mans 12:2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” What do you renew your mind to? The word of God! That must be settled in your heart. Renewing your mind is a two-step process. It’s getting rid of the old way of thinking and replacing with a new way of thinking… about yourself! What you desperately need more than anything is to hear the Word consistently. The more you hear God’s Word, it starts to override all those lies Satan has told you. The Bible says that the entrance of God’s Word brings light. What happens when the light comes on? You begin to see things you didn’t see when you were in the dark. If your mind is tormented with fearful, insecure, de-bilitating thoughts, then you’re not hearing enough Word. If you lay down at night and your mind is racing with hopelessness, fear, anxiety, painful memo-ries, then you need to get a plan to hear the Word more today than you did yesterday.Next, you need to begin speaking differently about yourself. It doesn’t mat-ter if someone else has said, “She’s the wild one. She’s the quitter. He’s crazy. He’s a loser. She’s prone to making bad choices. She’s a failure.” God’s Word is ﬁnal authority! You need to decide whose words have more power over you? God’s? Or some person? And stop agreeing with the devil! How do you change the way you speak?1. Stop putting your own self down! If you saw a person yelling insults at another person, you would probably want to tell them to stop. Why do you accept that kind of behavior from yourself? You may think it, but don’t say it.2. Avoid exaggerations – “I’ll never get that job.” “I’m always the last one chosen.” “I always make that mistake.”3. Accept compliments. Practice saying, “thank you.”4. Start speaking God’s Word over yourself.You have to “pick up your sword of the Spirit” which is the Word of God coming out of your mouth and speak it out loud over yourself. Yes, you’ll feel like a nut the ﬁrst time you do this, but it works!!! I promise you. Every time rejection tries to consume your mind and prevent you from stepping out, speak this verse out loud: “I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you (and harden you to difﬁculty), Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10I highly encourage you to do the following 3 things if you want to improve your self-image and walk into God’s will for your life:1. Make a list of positive confessions to speak over yourself. (i.e. I am con-ﬁdent and courageous. I am disciplined spirit, soul and body. I am highly fo-cused. I am creative. I do not procrastinate.)2. Make a list of Bible scriptures to speak over yourself. (To the right I have listed some of my favorites) 3. Do it consistently. (You can’t do something 3-4 times and expect to see changes. Make it a part of your daily routine.)Remember consistency is the key to change in every area of your life. As you consistently hear the word and speak the Word over yourself, your self-image will be completely transformed… and as you change your self-image, you will signiﬁcantly change your future! If God can use me, the least likely, He can use you, too.