Blog by Sandy Hopkins
On New Year’s Eve 1999 at 11:59pm, I stood gathered with a group of people at a party on the cusp of the new millennium. Whilst others were making new year resolutions or concerning themselves with how our computer systems would cope entering into the 21st century – I cried out to God to help me change my life.
You see, I was at a “cool” party with all the “in” people, but felt so alone in the midst of many people I called friends. I was 35yrs old, happily married & loved God with all my heart – but I was not happy. It didn’t help that I’d already had 10 miscarriages in our attempts to have a 2nd child (I eventually ended up having 13 miscarriages in total), & I was on a hormonal roller coaster.
My desperate plea to God was “please help me to change – I can’t live this way anymore. I don’t want to feel alone in a crowd – I want to feel like I belong”.
I’ve discovered feeling like you belong is really about state of mind – the state of your mind. You see my thinking was a hot mess. I was “battle weary” from all the miscarriages – frankly, I felt like a “freak of nature” because I’d had so many of them & on top of that I’d never dealt with issues around my low self-esteem. God had also been showing me an unhealthy pattern I had in my life. Whenever I felt someone didn’t get along with me, or even remotely like someone didn’t like me – I would cut them out of my life like they didn’t exist. In essence rejecting them before they could reject me.
So began the long journey of “getting comfortable in my own skin”. It all began with renewing my mind. The Word of God is truth, & I was believing a whole lot of lies. Most of the lies came from my own thinking, self-talk & inner beliefs. The scripture that changed my life is
2 Corinthians 10:5 GNT
“we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.”
Taking your thoughts captive is not passive – it’s aggressive. I found scriptures to replace the lies & bad self-talk & began to replace the lies with the truth from the Word of God every time I thought them. I’m not gonna lie – it was hard work. I didn’t believe those truths about myself from the Bible yet – but I intentionally set about reminding myself of the truth because I wanted to stop believing the lies.
After months & months of renewing my mind & not seeing any results, I discovered by accident one day that I had actually started believing the scriptures. You see, I did something really stupid in front of a big group of people that intimidated me. Instead of “crucifying myself” with ugly self-talk like I normally would have – I laughed & said “whoops” & waved at these people who were clueless about the power I had given them over me. I celebrated that day because I knew I’d had breakthrough – I had never felt so free before!
My feeling small – like I was insignificant & didn’t belong, was an effect of what I believed about myself. People weren’t thinking I didn’t belong – they were too busy with their own lives or trying to work out how to fit in themselves. No one but God truly sees what’s going on in our heart, mind & soul – isn’t that a relief!
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG
“Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG
The big game changer for me was changing my thinking. I can honestly say I have never felt so happy, so “on mission” for God or more like I belong ever before in my life. God’s Word is all powerful – applying it to your life & putting yourself in an environment of faith & life are key.