Choose Your Own Tattoo

Negative words spoken over us too often soak in like ink of a tattoo, permanently saturating our lives.

Like the time your ex called you ‘psycho’ and you were at such a low place that you believed it. Or the time you overheard those girls calling you a ‘whore.’ Sure you made a mistake once but that name seemed to stick. Or what about the time you were told you look fat because you ate that second piece of cake?

All of these, plus more, are words spoken over you and allowed to define how you see yourself.

What else have you been called?  Want me to go first?  Ok…..    I’ve been called: bossy, dumb, stupid, a snob, selfish, hateful, fat, ugly, lazy, trash, dirt. I wore these words on my skin most of my life, defining who I was. What about you? Any of these sound familiar? Whore, scank, tramp, boring, dumb, useless, worthless, liar, cheat.  Enough!  I could go on but I don’t want to.  Have you worn words like tattoos you didn’t want and stains you didn’t ask for? They are embedded in your every choice and decision. Have you worn these words for so long that you don’t know any different?

Friend, these words are not art inked across your back that tells your life’s story. They are lies. Lies the enemy wants you to believe so that you won’t be able to believe the truth of what God says about you.

Lies like: You aren’t good enough. It was all your fault. Had you never gone over there. Had you called for help sooner. You should have known better. What did you expect? All lies.

My prison was not physical. If yours was, I am so, so sorry you had to go through that. Neglect, being touched, beaten, abused is never okay, and I hate that that happened to you. My abuse was in words. But brokenness is brokenness and neither is right.

The words I was called stuck. The more I heard loser, the more I tattooed “Unworthy” across my chest. Those words stuck to me and were the root to every decision I made.

What if…. underneath the lies, underneath the skin, underneath the words tattooed; what if on the other side of the lies is Freedom? What if immunity is available?

It wasn’t until I was leading a women’s Freedom small group that I realized that I had been wearing those names like tattoos inked into my skin. I allowed them to define who I was. It was during that semester that I learned that they were all lies and I had a choice of what to believe.

So how did I break the lies? I started with a list of Truth. I listed what God said about me. I started with just a few and added to it. Then I made copies and put one on my bathroom mirror, one on the refrigerator, one on my closet wall, one on the dash of my car. I put them everywhere. I memorized it.  Was I like a hardcore junkie at times running back to the lies? Sure I was. The familiar is always easier.   But I chose to surround myself with these one-line truths. I didn’t always believe it, but I knew it was better than what I’d been telling myself so I stuck with it. Even today I will sometimes struggle… but today I know I’m worth the Truth. It was and is a process. And my biggest enemy was me! Should you take this challenge, your biggest enemy will be yourself.

Friend, we do this to ourselves. The devil doesn’t have to because we are our own worst critics. The devil may be our enemy but the battlefield is in our minds. And it takes time to change the way we think, to break a habit and to start a new one.

We’ve all heard, Freedom isn’t free. It takes never giving up. It takes work. And if you don’t give up, one day Truth will bubble up when you are faced with a struggle. You will hear yourself saying things like: I am made in His image. I am made to be a blessing. I am protected because God is my shield. You can say what you want about my past but God has given me a new name. These are Truth and where there is Truth there is Freedom.

Who the son has set free is free indeed. John 8:36

The key to your freedom is hanging just beside the prison door.  Reach through the bars, take the key, open the door and step out. Freedom is waiting for you.

If you liked this post, feel free to share it with your friends on Social Media.  If you have a minute…Leave a comment.  Its such a great encouragement to hear from you!

Plus we’d love you to join us as we share posts on Freedom over the next few weeks.  You can make  Breath on Paper a part of your daily devotion. (unsubscribe at anytime)

Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is ten years new to Birmingham, Alabama.  Her sweet husband of 38 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.

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