"I'm stupid. I'm ugly. I can't do anything right. I'm not smart enough, pretty enough, good enough. I'm bad. I'm worthless."
It's a lie.
It turns on when I'm tired, when I've made a mistake, when I'm discouraged. Over the years, it has grown in length and intensity.
A few years ago, the Lord blessed me with some amazing friends who helped me stop lying about a lot of things.
But the tape didn't go away.
One of those friends shared the story of her Bible study group when they read Malachi 3:3 "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."
What did it mean?
One of the women volunteered to visit a silversmith.
He explained he must heat the silver in the hottest part of the fire in order to burn off the impurities. However, if left too long, the silver would be destroyed. He must watch it every moment.
How did he know when it was ready?
"Oh, that's easy - when I can see my image in it."
God places us in the hottest part of the fire to remove the impurities. He never looks away. Granted, he knows we are able to endure a great deal more than we think we can. Even so, He is there every moment, watching, waiting. He will not hold us in the fire longer than necessary. He knows we're ready when He is able to see His image in us.
This impacted me. I made many changes in my life.
The concept birthed the idea for The Silver Locket Sisterhood series. When Luck in Love was published, two of my friends gave me my own silver locket. There is a picture of me on one side and Jesus on the other to remind me I belong to Him.
At a writer's conference, (I'm sorry I don't remember who said it or it may have been a note to myself) I penned a note: They (characters) have to be willing to burn who they are in order to become who they want to be.
Was I willing?
The tape didn't go away. I've tried everything to turn it off. Prayer, scripture reading, singing my favorite hymn. Nothing worked. In fact, the tape grew louder.
I grew tired. I quit fighting. I let the tape play. It was familiar and strangely comforting, unlike the new creature I wanted to become. I didn't even know what she was supposed to look like.
Being a bit snarky, I egged the tape on.
"Is that all you've got? Can't you come up with anything else? You've plenty of practice and material, surely you can come up with worse things. You can do better."
The tape was increasingly boring, but it didn't go away.
Writers create "elevator pitches," something to tell a publisher or editor when you manage to catch a couple minutes of their time, or thirty seconds. I never developed the pitch because I sold the series without it. However, I needed something for marketing, business cards, etc.
A friend of mine loves yoga and shared an article about mantras.
Yeah, I had one of those. My tape put me to sleep at night. It was pretty long.
There was the first problem. Mantras are meant to be short, almost boring. Interesting enough to help you focus, but not so interesting it diverts your attention. It's purpose is to bring you back to center.
What was the essence of The Silver Locket Sisterhood series?
I belong to God. I am God's.
Would it work?
"Yes, but I belong to God."
"Yes, but I belong to God."
"You'll never be good enough. God couldn't want you."
"I am still God's. Should He decide to cast me off, it is His prerogative because I belong to Him to do with as He will. I belong to God."
The Savior bought me with His blood, not only on the cross but in Gethsemane, through the flogging, with the crown of thorns. He paid for me, in full. I am His.
There is no debate. It's done. Finished.
There is nothing we can do that is so horrible we can't turn back to God.
The only question is do I accept Him or turn away?
He never turns away. He is always there, beckoning, His hand stretched out, the hand where He carved His love for us.
If I turn away, I may turn back, and He is there, waiting.
The choice is mine.
He paid the price for each and every one of us.
I belong to God.
I am God's.