1 Peter 2:9
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
I am currently in an intentional process of vigorously combatting a negative self-image. And although the self-destructive beliefs that are deeply rooted in my past experience, my strategy for fighting them is simple, yet challenging: Identify lies that invade and poison my mental health and replace them with truth. In Part 1 of this series, I addressed how this is my treatment for anxiety and panic attacks.
My divorce was finalized nearly 12 months ago. A year prior, I discovered my ex-husband’s long-term affair. Even now, there are still times when the wounds of the past are irritated and I again begin to bleed. When those sensitive areas are aggravated, without vigilant attention, infection can easily invade. I am currently giving emergency care to an infected wound which has become a lie I have believed: I am un-choose-able.
This is one of the greatest falsehoods that I struggle with, and it is one that hits to the very core of my rejection sensitivity. I feel like I’ll always be the runner-up. I feel like I’m just not enough. I feel, ultimately, that I am un-choose-able. I don’t mean this in the schoolyard, getting-picked-for-the-team kind of way. I mean this in the faithfulness-and-fidelity kind of way.
Will anyone ever be able to choose me and only me?
My ex-husband’s affair began long before most affairs trouble a marriage. It began before we were married. On June 18, 2011, he met me at the end of the church aisle and we vowed our faithfulness in front of 350 friends and family. Little did I know, he was already involved with another woman. I am asked repeatedly, “Why on earth would he get married?” I wish I knew the answer to this million-dollar question.
After I discovered his affair, I gave my ex-husband every opportunity to choose restoration. I begged him to fight for our marriage. Despite my fervent resolve to reconcile, I knew that I couldn’t be his incentive for change. I couldn’t force him to see the therapists, read the books, partake in the conferences, or do all the other things that would be necessary to restore trust. Both he and I would need to put in the hard work to save the marriage. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in. He was not.
What came next was complicated and extremely frustrating. But the cliff notes version is that he didn’t choose me.
I have spent hours upon hours deconstructing our relationship from every imaginable angle. What I’ve come up with is the following: Even after I was happily married for nearly five and a half years, I don’t know what it’s like to be fully chosen. When you vow your life to another individual, you choose them. If he was in another relationship, how could he choose me above all others? He couldn’t. He didn’t.
Subsequently, a lie has formed in my thinking. “Ellie is un-choose-able.”
I fight this thought in my daily life but it’s rooted in my actual relational experience. Although I was fully committed to him, I was not chosen by my ex-husband. Not during our marriage, and not after I extended the hand of forgiveness for his betrayal. Not being chosen has been my experience. It is an unintentional, and pessimistic step to presume that my experience is part of my identity, yet this is what I often do. There must be some aspect of who I am that makes it impossible for another person to offer and deliver commitment and fidelity to me. Ellie is un-choose-able.
If I’m being honest, I often find myself frustrated that the truths I know to be, well, true, aren’t what I’ve actually seen in my history. I know I am choose-able. But why hasn’t that been recognized in this physical world and in my past relationships? More million-dollar questions.
The truth is, I have a God who is bigger than my experiences. My hope in Him actually and practically outweighs what I have faced in my past. I know and believe that the Bible is the Word of God. I can believe what it says because it is truth. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people…” At the core, this speaks to who I am. I am chosen. I declare this verse over myself daily. Forgive me if I get a little preachy here, but I can’t help it. The truth is, God has chosen me. Remember my mental health strategy: Identify the lie and replace it with truth.
Lies say, “Ellie is un-choose-able.”
Truth says, “But Ellie is not like that. Ellie is a chosen person.”
I believe that God has already chosen us and it’s our job to choose Him in return. That is the essence of salvation and the core of love. God has already chosen me, you, your brother, and that lady at the grocery store. We are chosen – by God. Therefore, I am chosen – by God. My chosen identity as an adopted child of the King is true. I could say that this is a truer truth than the reality of what has happened to me. I am chosen; therefore, I am choose-able.
I wish I could say that makes everything easy. I still want to be chosen by an earthly man. I am slowly and methodically working to take steps towards that although it often feels like feeling my way in the dark. I am being restored daily and becoming a whole and holy person independently. I’m finding happiness in singleness – a season I am choosing to love. I am reminded every morning of the sweet gift of Christ’s love is. That love is given to me daily as he chooses me as his own. Unreal, yet real!
Dear reader, what are you believing about yourself? What false identity statements are you embracing? How can you replace those lies with truth? Write them in the comments section of this post. We’re in this journey together and you are not alone. No matter the outward situation, relationship status, or even loneliness, I am Reclaimed and I am chosen by God, and so are you!