Joyce Meyer - Authentically You
Well, I am so glad that you're back with us this morning. We're talking about being "Authentically and Uniquely you". And last night, I talked about the importance of being truthful. And you know, how we have such a habit of when people ask us how we are, always saying, "Oh, I'm fine. I'm good. Praise the Lord". And you know, a lot of it's because we, number one, I guess, in pride, don't want anybody to know that we're having a problem. But number two, and equally just as important is, we don't really feel like that people will keep our secrets. And that's something that I really want to start impressing on people is that we really need to learn how to keep what people tell us to ourselves. And we really shouldn't even have to be told not to, because everybody's story is theirs to tell.
And so, I'm going to go on with the second half of the message now, called "Embracing your uniqueness". And we are all so very unique. And even though there are similar personalities, there's no two people that are exactly alike. I have twin granddaughters and I can tell the difference in them now, because they color their hair, so one of 'em's blonde and one of 'em's dark. And I thank God for it because I really just could not tell them apart. But they have two totally different personalities. And so, we are unique, and it's important that we embrace that uniqueness. And to be honest, although my goal is to help people be authentic, I think it's so important that are genuine and real, and that we're not pretending, or that we're not just doing things to please people when really, down deep inside, we don't feel like it's what we should be doing.
But until you embrace your own uniqueness, you really can never be authentic. Because if you don't like and accept who you are, you're always gonna try to be somebody else, or think you have to be like somebody else, or copy somebody else. And so, I'm gonna start by just saying, stop being mad at yourself, and stop thinking that God is mad at you, because he's not. God doesn't like everything that we do, and we don't have to like everything that we do. But God does always love us, and we should always love ourselves. Not in a selfish, self-centered, "Oh, I'm, you know, the most important thing in the world," but if really loving yourself is just receiving God's love, that's really all it is. And how can we receive God's love and be against ourselves? We need to receive God's love, and we need to receive his forgiveness.
Learning to love who you are: learning to accept and love ourselves is the pathway to authenticity. Because if we reject ourselves and refuse God's love for us, we will not be free to be ourselves. It's so wonderful when you come to the point where you can just be who you are without feeling like you need to apologize for yourself. It's wonderful when you come to the point where you actually, like being different, you don't feel like you need to try to be like someone else. And you know, even among Christians, I think, I know for me, in the early stages of my walk with God, I can so remember when we would have speakers come to the church. And I remember this one woman. She was an intercessor and anointed by God to be an intercessor. And she got up every morning at five and prayed for four hours every morning. And, you know, so, we have a tendency to compare ourselves with other people, and feel like, "Boy, if she's praying four hours every morning, and I'm only praying 15 minutes, then there must be something wrong with me".
And so, I tried to do what she was doing, and the long and the short of it is, is I went in a room, took my clock, prayed for about ten minutes, fell asleep. But I certainly, wasn't gonna come out and tell anybody that. And so, how many of you have suffered, at least at some point in your walk with God, with feeling like you need to be like other people or even like other Christians? And I don't know how many of you are having issues with that, or perhaps, have had in the past, but I really want you, and more importantly than me wanting you to, God really wants you to be free to be who you are. He created you the way you are, and you're not a mistake. Accept yourself. I am what I am, and this is very important what I'm gonna say. And while I'm growing and changing, which we are always, always changing. If you're in the Word of God, if you're studying the word, if you're hearing good teaching, even though you may feel like you've still got 1.000.000 miles to go, you are changing.
And the important thing is, is while you're changing, you can enjoy yourself. You don't have to wait until you feel like you've reached the place of perfection to enjoy yourself. But you can enjoy yourself while you're changing. Learn how to see yourself as God sees you. Have you ever bought anything at, maybe, a discount store that had an "as is" tag on it? Anybody ever done that? Well, you know that if something has that on it, that, that means there is a little something wrong with it. And of course, you know, we'll look it over real good to see if it's anything that's really bad. And a lot of times you can't see it, but you'll find it, maybe later when you start to wear it. And I know, like for me, when Dave and I got married, I came "as is". But because he was only looking at the outside of me, he didn't see the flaws because they were inside. And it took a long time for me to let God work with me, to make the changes that needed to be made in my life.
And actually, I had very bad behavior: angry, very hard to satisfy, very selfish, self-centered, a lot of self-pity. And I did not know how to walk in love with other people. I would hear messages about loving other people. Which we should hear them because they are really the main thing we should be aspiring to as Christians is to love other people. To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love other people. And I don't think we can ever study love too much. And I wanted to really love people, and I couldn't. And God finally showed me that I could not give away what I didn't have. That I didn't really love myself. I didn't like who I was, and because I was always finding fault with myself. Have you ever had a tendency to, you know, every day you can find something that you should have done differently than what you did?
And until you really learn who you are in Christ, you never have a morning where you wake up and the devil tells you how wonderful you are and how good you did the day before. It's always, you wake up thinking about "Well, I should have done this and I shouldn't have done that. And I should have done this, and shouldn't have done that". And there's scripture, I'll share later, it is so, so, so, so important, that once we repent of anything that we feel that we've done wrong, that we let it go, and don't bring yesterday's mess into today. The Bible tells us that God not only forgives our sins, please get this, those of you, who've joined us for this women's conference, not only does God forgive our sins, but it says, he forgets them, "He remembers them no more, and he puts them as far as the east is from the west, which cannot be remembered".
So, if there's no sin then there cannot be any guilt. Think about that. If the sin is gone, then the guilt has to be gone. But so many people carry a burden of guilt around with them, pretty much all the time. You know, we can find something to feel bad about every day, if we don't really determine that we're not going to. And we need to understand that just because we feel something doesn't make it a reality. "I feel guilty". Well, that doesn't mean that you are. So, you always have to go back to the Word of God. What does the Bible say? "The Bible says that when I confess my sins, and I repent that God forgives me". I love what David said about his sin with Bathsheba. And he waited a year before he confessed his sin. But in the Bible it says that when he confessed, God instantly forgave him. And I love that. We don't have to beg God to forgive us, he instantly forgives us. And we need to instantly receive it. And we need to really believe that when God does something, he does a 100% perfect, complete job. He forgets our sins. He removes them as far as the east is from the west.
And so, where there's no sin, there can be no guilt. And I suffered so much with guilt. And I can tell you that as long as you're dragging around a sack of guilt with you, you're not really able to focus on what God wants you to do. And I recall, one time, I tell this story, I was feeling guilty about something. I mean, it was something different every day. But I always felt guilty about something. And I think part of that got started in my life when I was a very little girl, and my dad was sexually abusing me. I thought something was wrong with me because he was doing it. And so, I always felt guilty, even though it certainly wasn't my fault, I felt guilty. So, I think, I literally became addicted to guilt. It was like I didn't feel right if I didn't feel wrong. I didn't even think it was right to feel right about yourself. I almost thought it was godly to feel wrong about yourself.
And I think "Religion" can give you that impression that you always should feel like a lowly worm, that's nothing, and certainly you can't feel good about yourself. I love to think about the apostle John, always referring to himself as, "I am the disciple that Jesus loved". I can't even imagine how the other disciples, especially Peter, took that. I mean, John wrote the book of John, and in that book, he refers to himself as, "I am the disciple that Jesus loves". Well, he loves all of us. John wasn't the only one. But to have the audacity to say that, and we need to believe that. We need to believe that we are the beloved. That God loves us. That he takes us "as is". He knows every flaw that we have before we ever know anything about them, he knows them.
Stop being afraid of what people think of you. How can their thoughts hurt you, anyway? How many decisions do we make based on what somebody is gonna think? "Well, what are they gonna think? Well, what are they gonna think"? Well, who cares what they think? Their thoughts really can't hurt you. And as long as they're picking on you, they're leaving somebody else alone. So, just leave 'em up to God. Loving and accepting yourself as God does is the foundation for your relationship with him. You cannot have the kind of relationship with God that he wants you to have if you don't get that issue settled in your heart. And I know we talk a lot about God loving us, but I would like each one of you, when this conference is over, take some time and really think through, "Do I really believe with all of my heart that God loves me, all the time, even when I have done things wrong"? Like I said, there's a difference in your who and your do. He doesn't always like everything you do, but he always, always, always loves you. And that gives you boldness. That gives you confidence.
When you really believe that God loves you, it allows you to step out and try new things and not be so afraid of failure. Remember, you can't give away what you don't have. 1 Peter 3:11 is a scripture that taught me a lot. It says, "If you want to enjoy your life". How many of you want to enjoy your life? Wow. "If you want to enjoy your life turn away from wickedness, shun it. Do right. Search for peace, with God, with your fellow man, and with yourself. Pursue and go after it". So, are you at peace with yourself? The story I was gonna tell you, and I got sidetracked, was I was carrying my little sack of guilt around and I had a call on my life to be in ministry. Then, I think maybe, at that point, I was only teaching a couple of home Bible studies.
So, maybe, I was teaching 40, 50 people a week, between the two of those. And I remember, it's not there anymore, but there was a target store over on Lindbergh, and I was going to target. And I was feeling so bad and so awful, and so, I parked way out in the back of the parking lot. I don't know, I guess, I thought that made me feel more pitiful or something. And so, I walked from my car slowly with my head hanging down. You know, "Terrible me". And I remember the Lord speaking in my heart and he said, "How do you plan to get over this sin"? And I said, "Well, I'll just receive the sacrifice that you made for me when you died on Calvary". It sounded so spiritual. And so, I knew the answer, but then the question came to my heart, "And when did you plan to do that"?
See, if I can receive God's forgiveness today, why do I want to punish myself for a week before I do? And I'll tell you something, if you haven't figured this out, guilt is our way of trying to pay for our sins. And that's really like an insult to Jesus. Because he either did a complete job or he did a lousy job and needs my help. And I just so clearly remember the Lord saying, you know, cuz I said, "You know, probably in a few days". I mean, I knew how I was. I even had my sins divided up into categories: little, medium, and big. And you know, a little sin, maybe I'd only have to feel bad for a day, or a day and a half. If it was a biggie, boy, that was a week or maybe two weeks, I'd be on my guilt trip. And you know, if you're gonna buy into that, as soon as you feel like you've gotten over one thing, something else is gonna happen, and the devil's gonna start all over again.
And please understand that God does not want you suffering all the time with guilt and feeling bad about yourself. It is life-changing to really understand that God loves and accepts you, as is, that he's working with you all the time to change you. He sees your heart. And that when you ask for forgiveness for your sins, if the sin is not there, then the guilt cannot be there either. And so, you need to have peace with yourself. And you need to have peace with every part of yourself. Now, this is something that you're going to have to think about. And if maybe, some of you are attending this women's conference in groups, like maybe, you've got a group of ladies in your home or something, this is something you can discuss. Have a little discussion, when this is over. Or maybe, when you're eating lunch together, you can discuss this: are you at peace with every part of you? Or what parts of you have you rejected?
I remember having a woman on the show one day, she was a psychologist. And she said, "You need to make peace with your thighs". See, some people, you'll find one thing about your body that you just can't stand. Well, you know, here's the thing. If you can do something about it, do it, but if you can't, then accept it and do the best with it that you can. I mean, I've said before, I mean, I used to hate my voice. I just thought it was so bad that my voice was so deep and, you know, I didn't even wanna open my mouth for the first time and talk when I was around somebody that had never heard me. Well, I look back now, and I realize, "How foolish is that"? God gave it to me on purpose, the way it is, for what he's called me to do. And I doubt very much that men, and there are a lot of men that watch our show and come to our conferences. I don't think that they would take it as well from a little, sweet, soft-spoken, you know, high-pitched voice.
And so, I tried to be sweet and soft spoken. And I am sweet, but I don't always sound sweet. I'm very forceful in the way I come across. And so, I love this, in 1 Peter, it says, "Pursue that peace and go after it". In other words, Jesus left us his peace, but we have to be determined that we're going to have it. Please, make a decision that you are going, with God's help, to find a way to receive everything that Jesus died to give you. And yes, he died so your sins could be forgiven and you can go to heaven, but you've got a whole life you've gotta live before you get to heaven, and God wants you to enjoy it, and you cannot enjoy it if you don't enjoy yourself. So, are you at peace with yourself? Well, probably not with everything you do. But are you at peace with you? Can you make a mistake without thinking you're a failure and an unacceptable person? God knew everything that we would ever do wrong before we ever did it.
John 15:16, it says, "You did not choose me, but I chose you, and I appointed you", he put a call on each person's life, gave you something to do. "That you might go and bear fruit that will last. So that whatever you ask in my name the father will give it to you". That still is so amazing to me. Every time I read scriptures like that, and there's several of 'em that, "Whatever you ask in my name, I'll do it". And if he doesn't do what we ask, it's only because we weren't smart enough to ask for the best thing. And so, he will, and I really believe that. If God doesn't give me what I ask him for, I believe that he will give me something better. I might not even think it's better, because, you know, a lot of times we think we know what we need, and we really don't. So, we trust God. But imagine that relationship that Jesus paid for us to have with God, the father, that we can ask him for anything, and if it's the right thing for us, he'll give it to us.
Now, spiritually mature people, and that is our goal, to mature spiritually, press pass their mistakes. Feeling guilty all the time about everything you do and feeling bad about yourself is the baby stage of Christianity. It's not spiritual maturity. They don't waste their time feeling guilty once they have repented. Philippians, 3:12-15, Paul's famous words, you know, I cannot even imagine, if Paul wouldn't have taken God at his word, I cannot even imagine how bad he would have felt about himself. I mean, here's a man who was persecuting the church. Rejoicing when people were beaten and even killed for following Christ. I mean, that's some pretty heavy-duty sin here. And he says, "Now, I've not already obtained all this, I've not arrived at my goal", and I think a lot of times people miss this sentence, and I think it's good. "But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me".
So, Jesus has taken hold of us, not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but so, we can bear good fruit while we're here, represent him well, enjoy our lives, enjoy ourselves, love other people. God wants you to have a good life that you can enjoy. And I love what Paul said, "My determined purpose is to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus died, to take hold of me". "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead". Straining. So, he's actually saying, "I gotta put a little effort into it sometimes, because the devil will try to take it away from me".
And we have to remember that the devil is a liar. He said, "I press on". He pressed past those guilty feelings. The next time you repent about something and then you continue to feel guilty, you need to just say out loud, "This guilt is a lie". Talking out loud's good. I don't recommend doing it in front of other people, but you know, talking out loud is good because it's like making a declaration. You're declaring, "This guilt is a lie. Jesus has forgiven my sin. And where there's no sin, there is no guilt. And I will enjoy my life". I remember going around my house saying that. "I will enjoy my life. I will enjoy my life". Because I didn't enjoy my life. I didn't enjoy even being in the ministry. I didn't enjoy anything because I didn't enjoy myself. And if you don't enjoy yourself, then you really can't enjoy anything else. Amen? Come on, let's give God a praise.