(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Saying “Stop” to Toxic Thinking
By Amber Johnson
After sharing one of my newest writing pieces on Facebook, I was excited to come back later in the day to see if anyone had responded to it. It was a big step to share my writing publicly.
Certain that others could relate to what I had shared, I was shocked to see the exact opposite when I checked social media.
To my surprise, there were ZERO likes and ZERO comments.
Disheartened, I began to question if my writing meant anything.
Negative thoughts began to circulate through my mind:
“I must not be very good at this.”
“No one can relate to what I shared.”
“This is embarrassing. Why did I even try?”
“Why did someone else get such a strong response when sharing their writing?”
“Maybe I should keep my writing to myself.”
“Who am I kidding? Writing isn’t a gift of mine.”
“Did God really instill this passion ‘to write’ on my heart?”
Deep down, I knew I didn’t write to gain applause or acknowledgement from other people. But why was I so discouraged with the lack of response to my writing?
My thoughts were skewed in how I viewed myself. I was still looking for outward affirmation. Not only that, I was looking for immediate confirmation from others that this was what I was supposed to be doing.
But God wanted to do something greater in that time. He began weeding out the toxic thoughts by revealing the lies I was clinging to for validation.
In this world, we are told that our value is based on how we look, what we wear, how successful we are, how we compare to others, and what others think of us.
The enemy is constantly after our identity.
Satan wants us discouraged. He wants our minds dependent on what others think of us. While attention and recognition are wonderful gifts, they don’t make us any more or less valuable.
When we’re constantly exposed to the lie that we are only valued by what we put out into this world, we tend to believe it. The lies and false sense of worth can become deep-rooted over time.
It takes a shifting in our hearts to direct our attention to what God says about our worth. He is the only one who can dig out those deep-seeded lies that hold us back from flourishing and living this life to the full.
Our God is the Great Physician who can see, fix, and repair the irreparable issues of the heart. He inputs truth that surpasses what we’ve falsely believed.
We are valued not because of what we do but because of who God says we are.
When we look to God’s Word about our worth, we discover how much we are valued and truly loved. Nothing can take that away. Knowing our worth pushes us to take risks, grow, and trust in God’s calling for our lives. When we know our worth, we can truly flourish in whatever God calls us to, whether we get recognition for it or not.
Looking back, I don’t know why I received such a lack of response on that particular writing piece. Maybe the Facebook algorithm was off, maybe some people read it but chose not to like it, or maybe people just didn’t read it or didn’t like it.
Regardless, God used that opportunity to redirect my attention back to Him. There had to be a time of reflection, re-direction, and healing of old wounds before I could move forward.
It doesn’t mean I’m immune to criticism or hurt feelings when I don’t get the response I desire from my writing. But it does mean I can pause to do a heart check with God. I can reflect and move forward knowing my true identity and value are in God and not in validation from others.
When we know we are loved and valued beyond comprehension, nothing can inhibit us from living that out – unafraid, undaunted, and unwilling to succumb to toxic thoughts about our value.
It’s only then, we can take risks in freedom. We are enabled to go out into the world uninhibited, using the gifts God has so lovingly placed on our hearts.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
– Ephesians 2:10
“…in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
– Ephesians 3:12
Find out more about Amber by visiting www.fishfulllife.com/