We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2Cor 10:5).
Sobbing, I dialed my Al-Anon sponsor’s number. Between sniffles I told her the horrible things my husband screamed at me. “Why won’t he cherish me?” I wailed.
“I want you to look up a scripture,” Jennifer said, “2 Corinthians 10:5. I want you to memorize it.”
I knew better than to argue with Jennifer. Not only did she know the Bible, she lived with a raging alcoholic and, yet she was one of the most content women I knew. I flipped open my Bible and read the verse silently. “You’ll have to interpret this for me,” I sighed, “I have no idea what this means. I just want him to love me.”
“Christy, you’ve got this backwards. If you want him to cherish you, you have to cherish you. The way others see you is a reflection of how you see yourself. If you want others to see you differently, you have to see yourself differently.”
In my teens, I suffered from tremendous insecurity. Now that I was an adult in an abusive marriage, things were far worse. The opinions of others dictated what I did and what I said. Too afraid of rejection to be my own self, I bended and blended—a chameleon cloned by the crowd.
Not everybody can fade into the background. What if, despite everything you try, you just stand too far out to fit in? In the recently-released film, Precious, an illiterate and overweight African-American teen in Harlem suffers from daily ridicule and abuse. Rejected and alone, Precious creates an escape, a place where she retreats from the horror. She counteracts the cruelty by imagining herself beautiful and adored. In her review of the film, Karen Durbin writes, “We all have fantasies, but hers (Precious’s) are indispensable; triggered by unbearable insults to her psyche, they insulate her from the horror.”
I love Durbin’s choice of words—“her fantasies insulate her from the horror.” Do you have issues you need to be insulated from?
Insulation acts as a shield, a padding, a protection. Insulation can create a refuge. Listen to this definition of refuge from Webster’s 1913 Dictionary: “That which shelters or protects from danger, or from distress or calamity; a stronghold which protects by its strength, or a sanctuary which secures safety by its sacredness; a place inaccessible to an enemy.”
As I learned to apply truth from the Word of God to my injured soul, the truth acted as insulation to my wounds. I found myself shielded from my husband’s insults and accusations. After ten years, my marriage dissolved, but I had grown stronger. I relied more on what God said about me and less on the opinions of others. I haven’t seen the film yet, but it sounds like Precious learned to do the same. She tore down and demolished vain imaginations (something that defied the truth about her) and choose to imagine a better truth, despite whether or not she could actually see it yet.
Before I learned to use the truth as an ointment, fantasizing held negative connotations for me. I thought exercising my imagination was a futile exercise—something dreamers do. But today I see evidence in scripture to support the use of our imagination. As long as what we imagine agrees with God’s truth, the outcome can only benefit us. What would be Precious’s option? If she agreed with her abusers insults, she would become the trash heap they predicted. Their words would define her.
The book of Matthew acknowledges this truth: Whenever two or more on earth agree, so shall it be (Matt 18:19). I usually quote this scripture to “seal the deal” on prayer requests, but when I agree with careless words, I find the “two or more, so shall it be” clause still applies. The repeated lies of the enemy become deeply embedded doubts that are difficult to erase.
Consider this proverb: As a woman thinks in her heart, so shall she be (Prov 23:7). When insults surround you, remember—your imagination is a powerful resource. You are created in the image of God. He is the lover of your soul. You are the apple of His eye and He sings over you. Are you precious or what?
Prayer: When life get hard, when insults hurt, when untruth surrounds me, let me embrace Your truth. Let me run to You as my stronghold. Show me how to redirect my thoughts and renew my mind. Help me to purpose in my heart that I will agree with what Your word says about me. I know You love me and I want to love myself. Help me to recognize that I am created in your image and see myself as Your beautiful creation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Scriptures to Ponder:
- Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2).
- Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
- We live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
- Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance (Ecc 8:1).
- We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
Questions to Ponder:
- Do you think vain imaginations and careless declarations can mold your destiny?
- Where do you run when life gets hard?
- Have you ever imagined a better life? If so, what happened to your attitude? Did you notice a difference in your countenance and spirit?
- What do you think is the difference between fantasy and imagination?
- What do you think Paul means in Romans 12:2 when he encourages us to renew our mind? How do you renew your mind?
- Read 2 Cor 10:5 above. What do you think this scripture means?
- Do you meditate on scriptures to transform your thinking? If so, what are your favorites?