I lost therefore I am a loser.
I failed therefore I am a failure.
Those statements seem to make sense don’t they? If you failed, doesn’t that make you a failure? The phrases may seem logical, but they can be incredibly destructive. Using your performance at a particular moment (I failed the test. I lost the game.) to determine your identity is not always honest.
I’ve become hopelessly addicted to the GPS app on my phone. I use it anytime I travel any distance from home. I even use it when I’m close to home just to make sure I am taking the quickest route to where I want to go. Even with GPS it’s easy to miss turns and get lost. We lose focus, turn a bit too early, or get caught up singing Taylor Swift songs to the top of our lungs and fail to hear the notification to take the next left. (not that I’ve ever done the third one).
We all take wrong turns, but that’s different from having a malfunctioning GPS. If we simply take a wrong turn, our GPS can “recalculate” a new route that will get us to where we want to go. It may take a bit longer, but we will eventually arrive at our destination. If our GPS is broken, however, it will continue to give us wrong information, and we will never arrive at our intended location.
We all make mistakes, fail, sin, or lose at times in life. Even though it’s not enjoyable, we can learn from our missteps. We pick ourselves up and try again. Believing that we are a loser or a failure is very different. What we believe to be true about ourselves directs every turn we make in life. Like a malfunctioning GPS, false beliefs will lead us off course. If you believe that you are broken or a failure or unlovable, then you will live a broken life.
The message of the Bible is that God doesn’t believe that you are unlovable or irreparably broken. The Christian life is one in which we daily attempt to believe the truth that God is telling us about life and ourselves. We are loved, and God wants to repair our brokenness and then employ us to reach other broken people. It’s almost too good to believe. The question that I often return to may be one that you need to ask yourself as well: “Is my GPS broken?” Have I begun to believe things about myself that aren’t true? There are lots of voices in the world trying to make us doubt our value. We must block out those toxic voices and listen for the true voice of God speaking into our hearts.
Eugene Peterson writes, “All the waters in the ocean cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us.” You can lose your job, fail in a relationship, get passed over for a promotion, and a thousand other things in life, but none of them will crush you if are able to remember that your identity isn’t the same as your performance. Your performance will fluctuate, but what God thinks of you will never change. So, keep an eye on your inner GPS, and remember that the God of the universe is on your side.
Excerpt from “A Long Obedience In The Same Direction” by Eugene Peterson