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Tearing Out the Old

May 10, 2018

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” — Psalm 25:5 (NIV)

Several years ago when we updated our kitchen, we invited a contractor friend over for his expert opinion. I was so excited to discuss fun details like where to place the appliances, cabinet colors and lighting fixtures. But when he walked in and stared at the ceiling with a look of grave concern, I knew something was wrong.

Because we’d already removed some of the sheetrock, he could see how one of the major beams wasn’t able to provide the necessary amount of support. It wasn’t long enough to extend all the way to the supporting wall. Someone had attempted to fix it by nailing another board into its side, which extended the length of the kitchen. Not only is this not the proper way to fix a supporting beam, but the nails were barely holding things together.

I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal. Plenty of other boards appeared to be doing just fine.

But my friend knew better.

He took me upstairs. In the exact place where the broken boards were in the ceiling below, the second floor dipped and sagged. One good jump or heavy thing dropped, and that supporting board would likely come apart.

I didn’t need any further explanation. I already knew we couldn’t leave this the way it was. I walked back downstairs and stood below the problem spot.

Broken boards can’t provide stability. There’s nothing profound about that from a construction standpoint. Seeing those boards barely hanging on was like looking inside myself.

For years, I’d expected stability from a broken identity. An identity that began splintering the day my dad stopped coming home.

It’s awfully hard to believe you’re a loved daughter of God when you’re the unwanted daughter of a dad who walked away.

After he left our family, I tried to prop up what was left of me, so I wouldn’t collapse into the broken place inside. Good grades. Achievements and accolades. Fun friends and good times. Boys who made me feel special. I tried to steady myself with anything that helped me feel better.

But feelings are fragile props.

Just like the broken beam in my house couldn’t be fixed by simply nailing another board in to prop it up, neither could I. It wasn’t just a better feeling I needed; I needed a completely new way of defining my identity. I needed truth to inform what I believed about myself. Otherwise, what I believed would become a fragile, flimsy, faulty foundation. The beliefs we hold should hold us up even when life feels like it’s falling apart.

At that point, though, I couldn’t say that the beliefs I held could hold me up. For years, I’d heard people talking about putting my identity in Christ. I nodded my head. I memorized by rote Colossians 3:12 which proclaimed I was one of “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” (NIV)

But when life felt threatening, I’d revert right back to the old thought patterns of feeling unloved and unwanted.

Standing underneath those broken boards helped me see why. I couldn’t keep my old broken beliefs, nail a little Jesus truth to the side, and expect stability. I knew I had to stop assessing God’s goodness by how my life felt at any given moment. Feelings are broken boards. Only truth is solid, unchanging, and stable through and through.

This is why we must tear out old thought patterns, then replace them with a new way of looking at the core of who we are. Psalm 25:5 can become our life’s prayer, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

Yes. Our identity must be anchored to the truth of who God is and who He is to us. Only then can we find a stability beyond what our feelings will ever allow. The closer we align our truth with His truth, the more closely we identify with God — and the more our identity is found in Him.

Lord, reveal the lies I’ve believed for far too long, and help me replace them with life-giving Truth. I want my identity to be anchored in and built upon You — my unchanging, undeniably good, and unquestionably loving God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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14 Comments
  1. Yolanda DIckerson

    Thank you for this post! My soul needed it especially this morning. This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom and we lost my stepdad and biological dad one year and 3 years prior to losing her. They weren’t perfect parents, but they were mine and the authors of many of my broken pieces. I’ve been tacking together those pieces for awhile and this week has really shown it to me. The Lord will get me there and this post was the reminder of that. Thank you again! God bless!

    Reply
  2. Julie M Swihart

    “Feelings are broken boards. Only truth is solid, unchanging, and stable through and through.” Such a good visual of this truth with the story you shared! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Kathy

    I feel as you did many years ago…I was tacking Jesus onto my beliefs while relying on my self-generated ones to keep me secure and content. The foundation of my life hinged on my efforts. When my efforts were revealed as unstable and unreliable, I turned to the Lord and put myself into His hands. He has been been “remodeling” my inner life now and gives me a secure faith in Him alone. Thank you for reminding me that my truths are not reliable and I need the Lord to give me direction, wisdom and strength for today and my tomorrows.

    Reply
  4. Julie

    Thank you so much for sharing. This really spoke to me!

    Reply
  5. Angela H.

    Lysa,

    Your words stung in my heart. I’ve been living a lie about who I am since the day my father molested me at 13. Things in my life just got worse after that, and I’ve had a series of traumatic events. I shut down then, and the person I wanted to become, no longer felt possible. I have been numb so many years now, and I know it’s time to face my identity of who I truly am, the lies I believe about myself, and the serious changes I need to make. I feel like God is so far apart from me, and I ache for him.

    Reply
    • Magda

      Sweet Angela, how are you? Please know that the LORD knows His sheep, John 10:27-30. Are you one of His sheep? for if you are you are Angela, beloved daughter of the Most High. Be blessed precious sister.

      Reply
  6. Lauren

    What a powerful reminder about our identity being rooted in God’s truth rather than our fickle feelings. I also resonate with that ache of a father’s abandonment, but I am so grateful to be on this journey of staying anchored in the Father’s love!

    Reply
  7. Denise Pass

    Yes! Our identity is in Christ alone. Thank you for this reminder.

    Reply
  8. Mona

    I’ve been contemplating how we rely on feelings rather than facts so often in the heat of the moment. I wanted to share some truths about this today at a women’s breakfast. Thank you for the facts that have stood the test of time.
    God bless your heart Lysa.

    Reply
  9. Lalis

    WOW! your blog really spoke to me this morning. My father too walked away, but I never knew it affected me until now as an adult. It has affected me in so many areas of my life especially in relationships. I now see why. For some reason I feel like I don’t fit in or people like me. And when I do find something good, I push away because I don’t feel deserving of it. Your blog felt like it was my story. Everything just resonated with me, I’m like Lysa that’s me! And that was you too!? I googled you this morning because I’ve heard so much about your book Uninvited. And here I am reading your blog, and I’m like wow! This was God. Can’t wait to read your book!

    Reply
  10. Donna

    Lisa,
    You are so right. I went through a study, Your Identity In Christ and Spiritual Warfare lady ear and for some reason something clicked that hadn’t before in my 67 years of life in the church.
    Once I truly saw and understood in my heart and my head who I am and who Christ is in me, my former identity as ‘divorced’, rejected, abused, did not matter.
    If I were to advice anyone, it would be to spent as much time as you can in God’s Words and in prayer!!

    Reply
  11. Myki

    I have a situation I don’t know how to handle. Your blog gave me all the information to help me understand more how to handle it. Thank you and God bless you.

    Reply
  12. Cheryl

    God be close to you!
    I’m praying for you…and today, seeking 1st the kingdom of God….with His help!

    Reply
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