Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

You Don't Have to be "Just That Way" Any Longer

You Don't Have to be "Just That Way" Any Longer

Do you see yourself according to how your past mistakes have defined you? Do you find yourself believing that you will always be a certain way?

I’ll admit it. I’ve found myself saying, at times, “That’s just the way I am.” But I realize now how pathetic that sounds.

Maybe, like me, you’ve found yourself saying things like:

  • "I have control issues. That's just the way I am."
  • "I am an adult child of an alcoholic and I struggle with certain dysfunctional behavior. That’s just the way I am."
  • "Because of what I’ve been through in my past, I’ll always be insecure. I'm just that way."
  • "I will never trust another person. That’s just the way I am.”
  • “Sorry I got so defensive. You should know I’m just that way.”

A sure sign that we are stuck from pain in our past is when we excuse our behavior by saying “That’s just the way I am.” Or, when we continue to believe that we can never grow beyond a certain place, emotionally or spiritually.

In my book, When a Woman  Overcomes Life’s Hurts, I point out that a crucial step to healing and wholeness is to renew your mind to think differently. If you have a relationship with God, the old you that was “just that way” is gone. And the new you is one who is “just like Him.”

In Galatians 2:20  the Apostle Paul says this, which I believe is a great motto for our lives: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” And our song of newness is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17  “…if  anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

So why are we not living like the new, regenerated creature? In my life, I've found that it's easy to go back to the old way of thinking if  I'm not making a conscious effort to remember who I really am and to redirect my thoughts.

Here are two practical ways you and I can renew our minds and receive our new identities—the ones that are just like Him:

1. Let God Define Who You Are. This happens when you get into God’s Word and understand what He is saying to you through the Scriptures. Let God define who you are—not your parents,  your past, a teacher from long ago, a friend who used to criticize you, a boyfriend who walked out on you, or a boss who thought you weren’t capable of much. The more you read of God's description of you, the more you will begin to see yourself as a regenerated, transformed child of His and act like it.  

God defines you by calling you:

  • His child – John 1:12 says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
  • His friendJesus said “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
  • A saint – In Ephesians 1:1 believers in Christ are called saints. Your actions may not always say it. But your condition in Him says it. You are seen as perfect by Him because You are covered in the righteousness and goodness of Christ.
  • Forgiven – Colossians 1:14 says you have been redeemed (bought back) and forgiven of all your sins—past, present and future. So your past sins—or your past wounds—can no longer define you. Your slate is wiped clean.
  • Complete – Do you feel like a “work in progress”? Many women describe themselves this way, referring to how they are not yet what God desires of them. But God’s Word is the final authority and it says “you are complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10). The work has already been done. You just need to live in that truth and wear it.  
  • Secure – both eternally and daily, in Him. You are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2), free from condemning charges (Romans 8:31-34), and free from the possibility of abandonment (Hebrews 13:5).
  • Unconditionally loved – Romans 8:35-39 says “nothing” will be able to separate you from the love of God—not death, life, circumstances, sin, poor choices, a season of rebellion, nothing!
  • Royalty – He says you are seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).
  • His masterpiece – He says you are His “masterpiece” created in Him for good words which He prepared for you before you were ever born (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
  • Fully capable by His power – God’s Word says you are able to accomplish “all things” through Christ who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).

The more you and I get into God's Word, the more we will be inundated with not only how he sees us, but with principles on how to live like His child.

2. Lock Up the Negative Thoughts. In order to let God—and not the voices in your head—define you, you must learn to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). When you hear negative thoughts from your head defining you, capture them—instead of letting them run loose. Be determined to only hear the thoughts that are obedient to God, the thoughts that are consistent with His Word’s description of you. Tune your ear to hear the thoughts of God's that say:

  • “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” (Jeremiah 31:3).
  • “I have called you friends” (John 15:15).
  • "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).

Who are you really, my friend? Renew your mind—and receive your new identity—with the beautiful descriptions of you found in God’s Word. And walk with your head higher, focused on the fact that you are not just that way. You are, instead, just like your Father.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of several books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold) When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, and Women on the Edge.  For a self-assessment test to see if you're still being affected by past hurts in your life, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Publication date: January 22, 2013