Editor’s Note: The first portion of this post is not fiction, but a very real, very honest introduction to what happened in the author’s life to give us Girls of the Covenant, an upcoming fiction series. Enjoy! Unfading is excited to see these stories release in July!
Who are you?
I guess it’s only fair if I answer that question first. My name is Emily P., and I’m 23 years old. I’ve graduated from college and am now working part-time at a fabric and craft store while I focus on my writing the rest of the time. My heart is for writing Christian fiction for young adults, especially fantasy novels. I want to use my stories to share truth and shine light in an engaging way. I’ll be writing short stories for Unfading, hoping to talk about what girls really deal with.
That’s the short, pretty answer about who I am. Now I’m going to get real with you, like I hope you’ll always be with us.
I’ve always been very introverted, more comfortable by myself than with others. I’ve also been shackled by fear for most of my life, and I still struggle with it. This wasn’t fear of spiders or heights or anything like that, but something much deeper. I was afraid of what others thought of me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t measure up, that there was something deeply wrong with me, and that God couldn’t really love me, even though I was saved.
Maybe some of these fears sound familiar to you. Maybe the voice inside your head accuses you of these things, over and over again, until you don’t know who you are anymore. If so, please read on. Maybe we can work through this together. And maybe some of God’s answers will finally calm the maelstrom in your soul.
It took a very special semester with the Focus Leadership Institute to show me that I had been controlled by lies my whole life. The accusations that I thought were who I was were 100% untrue. Instead, God showed me that He gave me a new identity, and that my life should be defined by His Truth. Here are the lies that He revealed to me, as well as the answers He gave me from His Word:
Lie #1: Be strong, hide weakness. I should act tough and masculine, trying not to be too “girly.” I should hide any weaknesses, including sensitivity, emotions, tears, needs, physical inabilities, and hurt, especially hurt that is the result of others’ words.
Truth #1: “For you created me in my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
Lie #2: If you disappoint others, they won’t love you. This belief made me withdraw from other people because of a bone-deep fear of failure and subsequent rejection.
Truth #2: “For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Lie #3: If people see you for who you really are, they will reject you because there is something deeply wrong with you. This led to further withdrawal and desperate efforts to “blend in” with the people around me.
Truth #3: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:5; “The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’” Acts 10:15
Lie #4: Acting sweet and innocent brings acceptance and approval. I thought I had to hide my real self and go along with what everyone said, never disagreeing or rebelling.
Truth #4: “And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58: 10
Lie #5: Don’t try too hard at anything. Whether you fail or succeed, you will be rejected, either for being too smart/talented, or being stupid/untalented.
Truth #5: “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. For see, today I have made you strong… You will stand against the whole land – the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken.” Jeremiah 1:17-19
Lie #6: The only way to have a friend is if a strong person pities you and takes care of you. Of course, I couldn’t let them see the real me, either.
Truth #6: “See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2
Lie #7: If someone threatens your self-esteem, just give up and try not to care. Hold hurt inside. I believed that competition came from the “deeply wrong” part of me.
Truth #7: “…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:14; “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals up the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:2-3
Lie #8: If you were strong, this wouldn’t happen. It’s all your fault. You should just try harder. And you can’t let others know, because they would reject you for your weakness.
Truth #8: “But now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1; “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and trembling, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
You are not the lies you believe. You are not ugly, uncool, stupid, fat, or anything else that shrieking voice in your head calls you.You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe, and He loves you!
Stop. Go back. Read that again. The God who made everything from the Milky Way and black holes to every single flower that blooms, whether it’s seen or not, made YOU. Every part of you, including all of the dorky parts of you that aren’t “cool,” all the parts of you that people tell you are ugly, every weakness and fault that you feel weighing you down. He KNOWS. And He LOVES YOU ANYWAY. Because you’re His precious child, and nothing, NOTHING, will ever change that. EVER. If height, depth, time, space, angels, and demons can’t separate you from God, do you think your mess-ups can? I don’t think so.
I know that reading this is one thing, but that really believing it is something else. Finding who you are in Christ is often a long, difficult journey, and I’d like to introduce you to some travel mates who’ll be sharing the trip with you. The seven girls below will be learning about themselves, each other, and who they are in Christ in the months to come. I hope you’ll come along and learn with them! The first installment of the Girls of the Covenant will be coming out next month.