Courage to Be the True You

Courage to Be the True You

July 31, 2017

“Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Ephesians 4:14 (NLT)

Devotion Graphic

Climbing the stairs, it felt like I was going on an adventure to the past, but I was only heading to the attic.

It had been so many years since I’d cleaned my attic, and I was looking forward to going through all the boxes filled with memories. It didn’t take long to discover a box from my childhood, and there on the top was my little, gold diary.

Did you have a secret diary growing up? If so, I wonder if you’d find in yours what I found in mine: a girl struggling not to worry about what others would think of her.

Here are some of my swirling thoughts from sixth grade:

March 23: Right now, I don’t think much about boys. I may act like it, but I don’t.

March 26: John called and asked me to “go” with him. I didn’t want to, but my best friend told him I said “yes.”

March 27: Today, nothing much happened. I don’t know how my friend got me in this mess with John, and I don’t know what to do. Lord, get me out!

March 28: I broke up with John. Boy, am I glad I did. But he asked me to go out with him again. Ugh!

What a struggle! Although that trouble was with a boy, there were other times I wrote about frustrated feelings with friends and family, and confusion about what to do.

Do you know what the real issue was with many of my problems? I was fearful of people.

I wasn’t sure of the girl I was, or the girl I wanted to be. I often found myself acting all sorts of ways so I could be the person I thought my friends and family wanted, instead of being true to myself.

As I’ve grown, I’ve come to understand more of the truth in God’s Word. He has shown me I don’t have to spin like the Tilt O’ Whirl at an amusement park — trying to be everything to everybody. I don’t have to get on that emotional and exhausting ride. I’m becoming more and more brave every day to be the one He’s created me to be.

Ephesians 4:14 tells us: “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Paul is teaching that we don’t have to believe all the things people say about God. We need to believe what God says about Himself in His Word. That is where truth can be found.

The same is true when we spin this way and that, believing things that aren’t true about ourselves, then trying to be someone we’re not. It makes us shaky inside — insecure. God can give us the strength, bravery and confidence we need to believe who He says we are. And as we become mature in our faith and self-worth, we can then help others, such as our children, as they grow into adulthood.

God can help them, too, so their lives don’t feel constantly pushed one way and then the other. He has the power to make us all brave. God can give you the courage to be the true you.

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to do what I think is right; I want to do what You say is right. Help me learn to be brave and ask You for wisdom instead of feeling like I’m constantly being pushed around by people and by my ever-changing emotions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 1:6, “But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (BSB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Lynn Cowell’s new book, Brave Beauty, for girls ages 8-12 years old, releases August 29. Pre-order your copy by August 28, and you’ll receive five free gifts! Click here to find valuable freebies to claim with your pre-order today!

CONNECT:
Visit Lynn’s blog for more encouragement on how to cultivate bravery, especially as our children prepare to head back to school. She is sharing a free I Am Brave printable. You can also enter to win a copy of her new book Brave Beauty!

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What type of situations cause you to feel like you can’t be yourself?

How often do the decisions you make have to do with the decisions others are making? If this is often, why do you think that is?

Ask the Lord to give you the courage today to simply be the woman He has created you to be, not the woman you feel others want you to be.

© 2017 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Marlene says:

    Thanks for this devotional. God always knows what you need when you need it. After a family member making me feel insecure abut who I am, I know see that my intention was to honor God by serving my parents. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    • Marlene, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” Turn it around a bit. When your family member comments on your attitude and action, think “Would Jesus say this?”

      Yes, Jesus can make us uncomfortable when our actions are out of line with his will, but it always comes from a heart of love. Jesus might say, “You can do better than this,” but he never says, “You are crazy, you are stupid, you are unworthy.” Jesus always brings out the best in you.

  2. Thank you for your devotion! Yes, it is so true that those insecurities can reek havoc on our lives. I love it that your book brings this to light for a generation of Christian women behind us. It is mind boggling how many destructive avenues there are today that really hurt the spiritual and emotional well being of our children. Thank you for highlighting those struggles because oddly enough even as grown women sometimes we still wrestle with this old familiar topic.

    • We sure do, Sandy, which is exactly why I want to help young girls build and set there confidence on Christ alone so that it does not falter when these insecurities try to take over their hearts.

  3. Thank you for this so very relevant word. I have often been criticized by family and friends because I won’t conform to what they think I should. I feel in my spirit that there are things that just are not meant for me to do or be and the more I read and study the Word of God, I know longer feel as hurt by their remarks as I used to or sad because I am not included in some family activities.

    • This is absolutely beautiful, Brenda! May we all find the bravery the Holy Spirit provides to know the truth, live the truth and watch it change everything in our lives!

  4. Lord please give me the courage to simply be the woman you created me to be. Amen. Thank you Lynn for this.

  5. Gayle S says:

    I’ve wasted a lot of energy over the years trying to be what someone else wanted me to be – praying for courage, wisdom and guidance to be who Jesus made me to be.

  6. Ramona Shi says:

    Wow. I was just thinking about this today and telling someone how this is the greatest prayer of my life currently. To stop trying to please people and just be me. To define myself, love it and express Me irregardless of who accepts me or not. It’s so difficult but I have no choice but to believe it is possible with Christ despite years of that cycle.
    In addition, recently God reminded me that I don’t have to sit around stressing about things I became while trying to be someone else. I’m not referring to sinful things(though the same applies) but to traits I picked up as I went along trying to be everything to everyone. I don’t have to stress myself over trying to figure out the parts of me that shouldn’t have been and Try to remove them. It sounds crazy maybe but it was really consuming me. He reminded that I should just go to Him as I am. He accepts me in all I am. Every part of me. There’s no should or shouldn’t be. There’s just all I am. I need to accept all that I’ve been through/put myself through. And All He wants now is for me to focus on where He leads from this point forward.
    He shall do the re-moulding. I don’t need to do it for Him. I need to stop getting ahead of myself in the healing journey and just let Him do it. And He will. Because He wants me whole.
    Declare truths over yourselves everyday ladies. Be intentional about renewing your mind to the truth based on God.
    We have victory over people-pleasing/low self esteem!
    Because the victory belongs to Jesus!!!!
    God bless!!

    • Thank you. This resonates with me so much.

    • Thank you, Lynn and Ramona. I can relate so much to this devotion.

    • Ramona – when you said, “I don’t have to sit around stressing about things I became while trying to be someone else.” I completely get it!

      This pressure is a big reason that I wrote Brave Beauty. I see this pressure – to become who others think we should become – is very powerful and begins so very young!

    • Wonderful, Ramona.

    • Thank you so much for this. It is where I desire to be. Each day is new and I am learning new things about who God has intended me to be all along.

  7. Sandra Osborne says:

    When my husband and I are talking to someone about any type of business, and I have no idea what to expect

    • It’s alright to not know everything or anything. Trust God and say these words to you, “My Father has made me like this, and He loves me. Nothing other matters more.”

  8. Brandi K. says:

    I could not quit crying while reading this devotion. It never ceases to amaze me how God works. I too have dealt with the same issues since my teen years. Even just yesterday struggling to believe I’m enough for those I love most, my husband and children. Despite all of their love and praise I still listen to the lies of Satan as he whispers in my ear that I’ll never be enough. I needed to read this devotion today. I needed to be reminded of the truth of God’s word. I pray God will continue to pour His truth into me and that it will begin to drown out all the lies of the enemy. Thank you for this devotion and sharing your heart. God knew it was just what I needed today!

    • Me too Brandi! These are exactly my thoughts.

    • Brandi –
      The fact that you SEE and you KNOW the source of these thoughts is the beginning of the victory you will receive through the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep putting those confidence-defeating thoughts – giving them no room. Have near God’s promises so that as you push out these doubt-filled thoughts you can replace them with His truth. Your spirit will fill with courage and you will move toward the freedom He died to give us all!

    • Brandi, You are enough! God has placed you with your family. It’s where YOU belong. I pray that you feel joy today.

  9. This!!! I remember as a young girl feeling so defeated and praying the same prayer every single night. Lord, help me to just be myself and stop worrying about what other’s think. I still need to pray it and remind myself, I am exactly who He created me to be. The struggle is real.

    • He will help us, friend! He only made one of us and this world needs THAT woman that He has made – not a copy of someone else!

    • I have been struggling with this for 67 years. Every once in awile those feelings rear their ugly head and i feel so insignicant.

    • Hi!
      I want to say that this is every single person’s problem that “What others think of them”. Every one is trying to please someone in their lives. It is not bad to make someone happy by doing what you are not used to of. Nevertheless, don’t lose yourself while making someone else happy. There is only one person like you in this whole world. Respect God’s art… which is You!
      Have a good day 🙂

  10. This hits home on so many levels! For those of us who are older, I remember and still do want to be accepted and will do things that are not “me” to do so! I see in my grandchildren the pressures put on them to be someone else! Lord, I pray this truth will speak to many hearts of those struggling to be themselves in YOU!

  11. I have intentionally taken 2 days away to rest and focus. This morning God lead me straight to this devotional. I am constantly in a battle with my emotions and letting them take charge. The Lord has been whispering the word Focus for a while now. I love how when I slow down his words fill the need. Thank you for helping the Lord remind me that he made me and created me for a purpose that my emotions will never allow me to achieve the contentment that HE can.

  12. Ashley Craig says:

    Growing up my dad told me countless times, “just because we live in the world does not mean we should be of the world.” I remembered it often and still remind myself of that today. But there were also times I would purposely make choices opposite of what others expected me to do. My goal was to never let them know what to expect from me. I guess I didn’t want anyone to know the real me. And I didn’t want people to think I was just like everyone else. I have grown in confidence as an adult, but wow that revelation just came to me. We’re never too old to pray for God to make us confident about who we are in him.

  13. If I Were The Girl I Wanna Be
    -Marie H Fitts

    If I were the girl I wanna be
    I’d not let frustrations bother me
    I’d sit calmly in my chair
    Living life without a care

    If I were the girl I wanna be
    I’d take better care of me
    Exercise daily, sleep 8 hours
    Doing everything in my power

    To make the most of this life I’m given
    Now wondering why I’m not as driven
    When I look deep inside of me
    Why am I not the girl I wanna be?

    But I know this girl, we’ve met before
    She lingers now and again at my door
    She stops by long enough for me to see
    Glimpses of who I wanna be

    She is neat and tidy, and always dressed
    Her words, soft-spoken not meant to impress
    She offers encouragement when she can
    Now why is that girl not who I am?

    She’s in control of her whole being
    Missteps from her you won’t be seeing
    Because she is wise beyond her years
    She trusts in God and has no fears

    She’s certain where her life will lead
    Fame and fortune are the least of these
    Her heart is pure, her mind is set
    Living each moment to have no regrets

    So I take a step back and focus my gaze
    At this girl I wanna be through the haze
    Of my blurred vision I do believe
    With a little more work that girl is me!

  14. Wow! You hit the nail on the head with this one. I have struggled all my life pretending to be things others wanted me to be. As an adult, I still struggle with that some, but the older I get I only try to be what God wants me to be. Now, The problem sometimes is I don’t know what he wants me to be. We lost our only child on June 2, 2011. He was only 19. Child loss changes the person you were. The grief is so overwhelming, even after 6 years. I miss the person I use to be. I know there is a purpose here on earth for me and all I can do is pray that God will vividly show me tho. ⚓️💔⚓️❤️ HOPE anchors my heart.

  15. I have been acting like a shy person since I was a child because my mom wanted me to do so. She thinks that girls should be shy as it is more feminine. However, I am a talk-active person or should I say that I was a talk-active person. While acting like a shy girl, I started feeling like I really am one. I think I have lost myself, and I want you to help me to find out what God wants me to be. Did He make me like a shy or talk-active person? What He wants me to do now?
    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Have a good day 🙂

    • Katrina Davis says:

      I pray God would show you who He wants you to be, not what anyone else says. If you believe you are a more outgoing type of gal, there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you are not disobeying the Lord and His word you should be you. I pray at some point you may be able to reach out to your Mom and tell her your feelings of who you believe God made you to be and that you do not desire to suppress those feelings but be free to communicate and express yourself to others in a positive uplifting light.

  16. Katrina Davis says:

    This is just what I needed to read today. I’m so thankful for such words of encouragement. I have been dealing with a gal who no longer calls me a friend and is upset with me for reasons I know not why. I have tried to reach out to her and nothing. In the meantime I have heard of her spreading lies about me. It is all hurtful as we used to be close. I am so thankful for the Lord and the hope He provides that far outweighs anything in this world. I’m so thankful for godly women and the words I just read that are uplifting and that help me to focus on Christ.

  17. Can you recommend something like this for boys?

  18. Thank you so much for today’s devotion. I have been struggling with everyone always redoing what I have done. Thank you Jesus for accepting me the way I am and leading me. It gets frustrating when everybody thinks their way is better than your way and your opinion does not matter. Help me Lord with this. Thanks again for the devotion. 👍

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you very much for encouraging words!

  20. Thank you for this devotion Lynn! I am a mother of 3 daughters, ages 14, 11 and 17 months! I long to be a great role model for my gorgeous girls but this is something I, myself, struggle with. I am always doubting myself and worry to much about pleasing others and what they think of me. I pray I can be more brave and confident in the woman the Lord made me to be.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I needed to hear this. I have been praying about this. G-d spoke to me through your message. Thanks again 🙂

  22. Michelle Nietert says:

    Praying all of us would learn to walk with God bravely so our children will follow in our footsteps!

  23. Mindy Sisco says:

    Loved this! Thank you for sharing this w/ us! Praying we all can be braver role models for our kids & give it all to Him 😊.

  24. Thank-you, I had a diary,when I was a teenager. My mom found the diary, I did not write nice things about people.
    I do not keep a diary anymore. I have journal,write when I feel lost without my mom. Being a caregiver, I keep a journal. My mom passed away in OCT 2016. I want to return back to college to continue my education. I am facing some set back from the school. I faith like a small mustard seed. Nothing can keep us down. Keep your eyes on the Lord above. My mom always told me, The Lord will make away. Trust him, Keep the Lord in our prayers. AMEN

  25. This article reminds me of a line in a song written by one of my favorite music duos Over The Rhine that says ” I don’t know who else to be. More and more I’m secretly just me.” . Just last night I ran into a note I’d forgotten about that I’d written some things down. It said that when we fast and pray, that’s FAST as well as pray, it puts the flesh to death and we have more room for the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the flesh is at war with the Spirit of God. So I wonder how many of us would start changing quicker and deeper if we’d include regular fasting along with our prayers? How much less struggle we’d have?

  26. This has been a precious lesson the lord has written on my life. You see…… i was a troubled,lost and angry girl for many years. I struggled with self doubt, self worth, addiction, co dependency amoung many other self inflicted hurts, habbits and hang ups. I was utterly lost and felt completely alone in a World that didnt understand me, and…if if they had wanted to….. i would have pushed them away. Years……years wasted in painful relationships, so much time lost in the pit of addiction. So many heart aching, brutally tormented nights spent crying in agony over a heart that simply sought and was hungery for love. I cried out so many times “God please u beg of you….make this pain inside my spirit stop!” Why? Why would he hear me and fix me ans repair my heart????? Why!!!!!!!!….. its simple……. you see…he was there the whole time. He was waiting….waiting for me to find my true self. Waiting for me to say “no more!” Im worth more than this!!!!!! He wanted so badly for me to love myself. To see myself the way he sees me, ” his dauggter…who he loves…..a princess in his kingdom…….he wanted me to call out and believe that i truly had a father that deeply desired to see me happy and at peace.
    Sometimes we fall into the wrong identity…..its very hard to see through the worlds identity and see who we are in God, but….when we seek him we find ourselves. Now i write you sitting in my office where as i am a drug and alcohol councelor for teens. Ive been abstinant for 2 years and am truly enjoying being a daughter of a king who is both choosey and protective of me. I am insanely in love with my family. Ive made peace with my past because it helped shaped the present. God wants our peace. He wants our happineas. He wants laughter and dance and ainging outta tune. He wants restful sleep and a heart of grattitude. Our identity grows and strengthens in these conditions. Let us throw aside and rid ourselves of the things that do not serve our spirit so as we can find his true purpose for our lives. Blessings. And love♡

  27. Cyndi Woods says:

    I was diagnosed as being legally blind by the sixth grade, with the ever-changing side and placement in school, I never really knew who I was and I still struggle with us today. Thank you so much for this wonderful words of wisdom from God. Inspired words indeed.

  28. Janice Alston says:

    This is a article, I didn’t own a diary but had low self-esteem came from a family with six other siblings, we didn’t have a lot but my mom and dad was great. Not very popular in junior high. So I didn’t adjust to well. But, with the the help of knowing who I really was, knowing I was just as good as anyone else. God made me as good as anyone else. So high school I had found my norm. I sored through high school, in grades, and became and outstanding student. I was highly respected with the teachers, and my classmate. So we all have secret diaries, so not all written down on paper, but memories can be helded inside our thought closet. Thanks for the message.

  29. Amen.

  30. Susan G. says:

    I loved these truths and the verses!
    Thanks for this!

  31. One thing I heard many times from well meaning parents was “What will people think?” I struggled with who I was well into adulthood. It is more important to know Gods word and to know who we are in his eyes and make our life about pleasing Him.

  32. Are there any resources out there on this topic for boys? I have a 12 year old son who struggles with this.

  33. Somehow, I guess by purpose I missed this devotion. I read them everyday. We had a large family/friend gathering over the weekend and my nerves where so out of control bc of the number of people and the expectations of who I was supposed to be to each person. I ended up taking a xanex and now have replayed the day over and over bc I know I repeated myself and probably seemed drunk.what a mess all bc I tried to be everything to everyone.

  34. Connie Saathoff says:

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. It is hard to remember the good things about yourself when going through struggles due to bad choices.

  35. Thank you Lunn for this special devotional, and especially for the scripture. You are so right,
    the Word is the place for all knowledge. When I was young I was not faithful to reading my
    Bible, however, I now have read it until it is falling apart. I have learned so much more
    about myself, and life because of it. Thank you for sharing your heart and your
    knowledge.

  36. This devotional spoke to me in a time when i am feeling overwhelmed. Work has been very stressful the last few months. I have had more responsibilty. My bosses are pleased but i am feeling the pressure. I am tired and grouchy at home. I can’t seem to relax.
    I pray that God gives me wisdom, strength, and guidance in this hectic time in my life. I have too many blessings to be so grumpy.

  37. Thank you for your ministry. Struggling right now ..going thru a very recent break up with the love of my life, Bill.. I’m heartbroken and in such deep pain. Trying to forgive myself for the pain I’ve unitentionally caused, as a have been going thru depression this past year, with so many losses. I didnt realize I was hurting him til now. God has showed me. I became an unloving, unjoyful, unappreciative toxic woman. I let Satan attack me, and take away my light and love in my heart. I read the verse James 1:6. Asking God for Restoration of our hearts, growth, wisdom and Reconciliation of our relationship. Trying my hardest to trust in God, get out of this darkness, and grow my faith thru this storm. Asking God for strength, courage, help to become the woman that I once was,..and to let go and let God do his work in me and in my relationship.

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