A Healthy Relationship with Yourself, Part 2
From the series Keeping Love Alive - Volume 4
Do you love how God made you? Or are you overly critical and harsh with yourself? Often feeling like you never measure up. In this program, Chip stresses that a thriving marriage is built on a healthy view of ourselves. Wanna learn more? Then join us as we continue Chip’s series, Keeping Love Alive, Volume 4.
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About this series
Keeping Love Alive - Volume 4
Four Relationships Great Marriages Have in Common
We’ve all heard or read news stories that celebrate couples who’ve been married for 5, 6, or even 7 decades. So how did they stay together that long? What’s their secret? And better yet… how can we build those types of lasting bonds? Through the 4th volume of our Keeping Love Alive series, Chip’s identifying 4 relationships great marriages have in common. Learn why these connections are critical to every relationship and how you and your spouse can better prioritize them in your marriage - starting today.More from this series
[The] second way to get a healthy relationship with yourself is doing an honest self-assessment. An honest self-assessment. In other words, to not just your physicality, but to look at your life. Remember Romans? Eleven chapters of grace, then verse 1 of chapter 12 was, “What is it that God really wants?” You, all of you, so He can give you the best.
How do you get the very best from God? Oh, that’s verse 2. “Don’t be conformed to this world, be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” that the God who made all that there is says, “I want you to get what is good. I want you to get what is perfect. I want you to get what is well-pleasing to you.” That’s God’s will.
But verse 3 then says how to get an accurate view of yourself. It’s in your notes. “For by the grace of God I say to every one of you, do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the faith that God has distributed to each of you.”
Okay, now, you’ve got your pen out? “Do not,” underline the word “think of yourself more highly than you,” and where the word “ought,” underline “ought.” In the original, they are just trying to make it easy to read. In the original it is, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but rather,” underline, “think of yourself with,” underline, “sober.”
So, you should have: think, ought, think, sober judgement. These are all from the same root word. And it’s the – the word sober is the opposite of being drunk. In other words, when you’re drunk you don’t have the right perception.
What he’s saying is: Start renewing your mind so you understand what life is really about, say no to all the bombardment of the world, and then I want you to get an accurate view of you. Don’t think too highly of yourself; don’t think too lowly of yourself. Humility is not thinking lowly of yourself. Humility is thinking accurately. These are my strengths and these are my liabilities or weaknesses where I need other people.
In verses 6 through 8 he’ll say, “These are the primary spiritual gifts. Discover what yours is and really use it.”
If you discover who you are and whose you are, accurately, then you see where you fit, first with your mate and then the body of Christ. And then you discover these gifts. And then what happens? You know, those of us that have ever played on a team or those of you that are artistic or musical. For some of you it’s a group of women that really get you. And you’re a cohort and you’re going to make it through whatever you’re going to make it through. And you can be honest and real and vulnerable.
See, that’s God’s plan. For some of us it’s being actually a part of a church that functions in a way where you use your gifts and your strengths and other people use theirs and you have this outward focus of helping people. And as you do, you experience this power and this love and you can just see people’s lives change.
And you sit around and drink coffee or Cokes or Diet Cokes or whatever you drink, and you look back and say, “How in the world did we get to be all those marriages were broken and we were a part of healing them. All those kids were orphans and we got them all in foster care. We got to be a team of people and we went to Romania and all those street kids, they’re not on the streets anymore.
And there’s this sense in someone had vision, another had administration, and someone had money, and someone had leadership, and someone had mercy. And you come together and it is glorious. Believe me, it’s better than Netflix. It’s better than how many likes you get on Facebook. It’s better than almost anything.
But you can’t do that…where I have pastored, one of the things I always had people do is I had them get a 3x5 card. And on one side I said, “List your top three strengths.” I mean, what are you really good at? And if they struggled, I’d say, “Get the book StrengthsFinder, you take a test in thirty minutes, it will be very helpful. These are your top strengths.”
And then on the back of the card I said, “Write your top three weaknesses.” Almost always, you know what I got? I got people who listed their top fifteen weaknesses. “Well, I came up with one strength.” So warped.
You need to know what you’re really good at. And you need to know where you have liabilities. These are my strengths: teaching, leading, coaching. I’m an administrative nightmare. I’m a low-tech basket case. The moment anybody talks about, from, “Why should we do something?” to, “How should we do it?” I finally got to just, “Guys, let me know how we’re going to do it, because I have lots of ideas. Mine don’t work.” I’m terrible at it.
After a while I finally learned, this is how this works in my marriage. And I have an amazingly gifted and detail-oriented and mercy-filled – I have a very, very godly wife.
You know, I have learned mercy from her. I mean, mine was all the big picture. And Theresa is saying here’s a woman that lost two babies through an abortion, here’s a woman that was abused by her husband, and I’m looking around and they are eating at our table. And Theresa is saying, “Yes, we are going to give to the Church here, but we are going to pay their rent, we are going to do this, we are going to do that.”
Guess what, forty years of that, God has grown my mercy. And God has grown her vision and leadership. And so, now we don’t just do that around the table, but we do it with orphans in Zimbabwe. And we write checks that we never dreamed we could write because we got a sober self-assessment and we followed God’s plan financially and we were poor most of our life and struggled most of our life and little by little by little, we got to be some of those people who helped others. And I think it was because God first worked in us.
Part of our big marriage problems and I’m biased, but even not being biased, man, I just thought, How did I ever get to marry someone so beautiful? It took me about three months to realize, I mean, she looked in the mirror, she saw someone ugly. I would give her a compliment and she couldn’t receive it, because she didn’t feel worthy to receive it. She grew up in a home with a father and then was abandoned by her first husband, and my wife had a lens that so covered her that said, “You are unlovely, unwanted, unworthy, and absolutely unlovable.”
And when I would compliment and when I would share and when I would want to love her it was like BBs coming off of a tank. And it hurt so bad. And then my response wasn’t good. I got mad, because I didn’t understand. And when we went to counseling he began to ask questions. And you know what happened in our counseling? This guy was a pastor for about twenty years and then became a counselor. And he said, “You know, both of you, you think these are the problems. They’re not. You have a warped view of God. Chip, you feel like no matter what you do, it’s not enough and God’s arms are crossed and get with the program. Are you ready, Chip? Jesus is not your dad. That’s not who God is.
And, Theresa, you know, you have worked hard at being beautiful and you are conscientious and you follow through and you do what everyone says and you never drop any balls because you are so afraid that the other shoe is going to drop and you’re going to get rejected again.
So, here’s where we are going to go with our marriage counseling. First of all, I’m going to help you guys get a revised view of God. And then second, are you ready for this?” Our marriage counseling, he gave us these cards of the lies that we believed. You know, lies like, you know, “If everyone doesn’t like me, my life is not worth living.” “If I don’t do everything perfectly, then why do it at all?” I mean, just lie after lie after lie.
And we would write it, she wrote them on these cards, and it was for her. When I went to this it was like, finally, someone is going to help my wife because she needs it.” And then he told me that, knowing how arrogant I was, that you need to help her. And so, she had these eight or ten cards that were the lies that she believed. And at the bottom it had a big stop sign. And then you would flip over the card and it would say, “I desire to be liked by everyone, but I don’t need everyone’s approval, because I have Christ’s approval.”
And then there would be a verse that talked about, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made in all those aspects of my physical and mental abilities that can’t be changed. Thank you, Lord.” And we had these cards and for two years before I went to work, we sat on the couch and we read the cards out loud. And before we went to bed, we read the cards out loud. If you don’t change your thinking, trying hard doesn’t work. And as we were doing it, I came to this crazy conclusion: I had all the same issues my wife has, maybe deeper, but I parlayed mine into things like workaholic and things that I actually got praised for. And I was as messed up inside or more than her.
And that was, I mean, that was forty years ago. And then we started adding. We realized we, we started adding to the cards. And then she, you know, our team at Living on the Edge created these cards and we just told some people on the broadcast about them, and I think we ordered five thousand and they were gone in three days. So, we ordered some more; they’re gone. Ordered some more; they’re gone.
And then realized, what I realized was people don’t, they just don’t understand who God made them to be. And our marriage changed, not because we learned three skills and we have a date once a week and we sit down and do our finances together so we stay on the same page and this is how we plan out life for our kids.
Did we do those things? Yes, we did. And did we need to? Yes. But that’s not what was the key. The key was a journey of seeing who God really was, then seeing who He made us to be, and then walking through that together.
The “faith” here, this is not your personal faith. This is objective faith. When he says, “According to the faith,” in other words, it’s what’s true. Have a sober – don’t think too high, don’t think too low, but just like you look in the mirror and say, “This is accurately who I am,” this passage is saying, “I want you to look into My Word and from My Spirit, this is how I see you, as My child.”
And that’s your identity. The question is: Do you know your personal strengths, weaknesses, and spiritual gifts? Do you know your personal strengths, weaknesses, and spiritual gifts? And I do think StrengthsFinder is a great way, and we have resources at Living on the Edge, one called Your Divine Design that is on our website that you can either do in groups or personally to help you discover your spiritual gifts.
[The] last way: Believing who God says you are. So, Paul, in Ephesians, is going to take three chapters to tell these people that are in Christ, he uses that word over. In Christ, in Christ, in Christ, in Christ. You have been taken out of the kingdom of darkness. You are now born again. His Spirit now dwells in you. And he says, “Now that you are in Christ, whatever is true of Christ is true of you now.”
I, often, when I teach this I’ll take a big, aquarium. And I’ll take a big bolt that people can see. And I’ll drop it in the water and, Tchoo! It sinks. It’s the nature of steel. And then I take a little block of wood and on the block of wood I paint a cross. And I take the cross and I put it in the water and what happens? [It floats.] Why? It’s its nature. It’s the nature of wood to float.
And then I take the bolt and I take the wood and I take a big, thick rubber band and I tie them around together and then I put it back in the water and guess what happens. It floats. Because whatever is true of the wood is now true of the bolt, and that’s who you are.
And the greatest thing you can ever do is grasp who you are. So, Paul is trying to help us get that. He says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. In Christ, rubber band, you’re the bolt, He’s the wood, this is what you have.
And I can only give you an overview. “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to adoption and sonship through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasures and will to the praise of the glory of His grace, which is freely given us in the one He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of His grace.”
I’m going to ask you to underline one phrase and circle a bunch of others. Underline “every spiritual blessing Christ.” You got it? Circle the word “chose us.” Circle the word “in love.” Circle the word “adoption.” Circle the word “redemption.” Circle “forgiveness of sins.” Circle the phrase “riches of God’s grace.”
I took Ephesians chapter 1 and I took all these theological concepts and because I’ve been doing those cards for all these years I flipped them around and I put them in everyday speak. Instead of being rejected, you are chosen.
You remember on the playgrounds when someone said, “I want you on my team.” You know what God has said? You know what Jesus said? “I want you. I want you on my team. I want you on my team. You’re valuable. I want you.” Not just chosen, but you’re wanted, you’re valued. Redemption. You know what redemption is? It’s buying something back. Do you know what the cost is for your soul? What was the price tag? It was Jesus’ blood voluntarily spilled for you personally to buy you out of the slave market of sin and the power of the enemy, to set you free.
Here’s what I want for you. I so want you to grasp who you are. And to grasp whose you are. A different person will show up in your marriage, because you are beautiful, you are wanted, you are called.
The question is: Do you see yourself as wanted, valued, precious, secure, empowered, and called by God to fulfill a unique purpose with your life?
The two things you need to believe about God’s character to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves is first is His wisdom.
When Paul talks about the responsibility of man and the sovereignty of God and He says, I mean, how life all works together and how He has done it, “Who has known the mind of God to give God counsel?” Answer: no one. “Who has ever given something to God that God owes him or should repay him? For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever.”
Why do you have to believe God’s wisdom? Because wisdom is: God brings about the best possible ends by the best possible means for the longest possible time for the most possible people. So, if there was a gentler or kinder way for Him to orchestrate your life, you’d be experiencing that.
So, your eye color and your personality and who you married and the kind of kids that you have, in God’s wisdom and His pathways, His all-knowing, all-loving, omniscient kindness, love, and justice is wrapped into all of that to give you the very best. He’s all-wise. He knows who your supervisors are and what He’s trying to do and develop in your heart. He knows where the financial ups and downs are. He knows the addictions that are in this room. He understands all those things and in His wisdom, He brought you here to get help from one another and from Him.
If you follow His wisdom, if you follow His path – the book of Proverbs is hokhmah. It’s His wisdom. It’s a skill! It’s the way life is supposed to work. And you read the Scripture, it’s like: Here’s how relationships are supposed to work according to God. Here’s how finances work according to God. Here’s how reconciliation works. Here’s how…
And when you follow that path, you experience the good, acceptable, perfect will of God. Now, by the way, the front end is really hard and usually painful and requires much change and you can’t do it alone. But, wow, is it great.
And then you need to believe that He’s gentle. And we looked at this passage before. But what I want you to know is that when these kind of changes, when you look at them, you start probing deep in your heart and usually a lot of shame comes up. And when you feel shame, like you don’t measure up and, yeah, this is probably for everyone else but me, you need to remember. The disposition of God’s heart is mercy. He finds delight to not give you what you deserve. He finds delight in His heart to give you grace. But you have to come.
Conclusion, so often we want our marriage to change by what we think our mates need to do. Guilty as charged. When in reality a healthy, self-love for who we are and whose we are frees us from demanding what our mates can never supply.