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Precious in His Sight - From Cinderella to a Princess, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2022 6:00 am

Precious in His Sight - From Cinderella to a Princess, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 6, 2022 6:00 am

One of the most devastating things that keeps people from being who God wants them to be is unresolved issues about self-worth. We all face this, but often women struggle with it more deeply. In this message from Chip's wife, Theresa, we get insights from her unique journey toward understanding her self-worth, from God's perspective. If you are struggling, God has provided this message for you.

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After 30 years as a pastor, one of the most devastating things that keeps people from being who God wants them to be is unresolved issues about their self-worth. If you're struggling or feeling like you're going nowhere, God has a message for you today.

Stay with me. I'm Dave Drury, and we're in the middle of our series, Precious in His Sight, taught by Chip's wife, Teresa Ingram. In this program, she'll open up about the painful experiences she endured as a young woman that severely damaged her self-image and reveals the truth that radically changed how she saw herself.

So, if you're ready, let's join Teresa now for today's talk titled, From Cinderella to a Princess. We are grateful in the eyes of God because He designed our bodies just the way that He wanted them to be, and we learn that true and lasting beauty is that which comes from a heart filled with God, and that our value, our worth as a person is not determined by our outward appearance because we're already valuable as we were made in the image of God, and we were created to express His very life through ours, and that His life dwells in the eyes of God. He dwells within us when we've trusted in Him as our Savior.

He chose to come and live within our earthly bodies, within these tents, and then we have become His holy temple, and He will express Himself through us as we depend upon Him. And last night, we also defined our self-image, and that is the picture that we have of ourselves in our minds, who we believe we are, and that picture can be positive or it can be negative. And a healthy self-image or a healthy view of ourselves is to be able to see ourselves just as God sees us, no more and no less. Well, this morning we're going to talk a little bit about how do we develop that self-image, how did we come to think the way we do about who we are.

Well, from the very time that we're little, little children, we're beginning to develop a picture of who we are. And fortunately, or unfortunately sometimes, our parents or those in authority who cared for us as we grew up played a major role in the development of how we view ourselves today and how we view ourselves throughout our adult lives, and how the parent, how a parent relates to a child, the attitudes expressed in the home, whether affection is given or whether it's withheld, the quality of time that's spent with the child, all of these things are registering in that young child's mind, and they're forming a picture of who they are, and they will believe that they're either loved or they're not loved. They'll believe that they're either wanted or they're not wanted.

They'll believe that they're important or they're not important. And for example, my mother, when I was growing up, she had a lot of fears. She tended to worry about everything. And I picked up those messages in my own life and told me things about myself that I needed to be really careful and that I shouldn't do this or that because I might get hurt. In fact, I wasn't allowed to have a bicycle when I was growing up because it was too dangerous to have a bicycle. And so I learned to be fearful of many things and of doing something new because the outcome might be bad.

And so I learned to worry a lot. Now Chip's parents, my husband's parents, on the other hand, were always encouraging him to try new things, to take risks, to step out and to do something new. And they had a very adventuresome attitude about life. And so he learned about himself that he could step out and take risks with his life and try new things without the fear of being hurt.

And he became very confident. And so our parents, the way that our parents, their attitudes towards us and the way that they express their attitudes towards us in the home will determine a lot of how we think and how we believe about ourselves. I'd like to read just a quote here from a book by Josh McDowell called His Image, My Image. And he says, parents are God's agents. As has been said, the initial development of our self-image lies in our relationships with our parents. Self-images are most of all derived from the authority figures to whom we were in submission in childhood. We learned who we were and what we were like from them.

A child literally discovers what kind of a person he is and how he feels about himself by the reactions of his parents to him. Our parents' evaluations of us were transferred to our young minds. We saw ourselves in light of their thoughts and actions toward us.

From their attitudes, we sensed their feelings about us. Those experiences, even if long ago forgotten, served to form our self-concepts. Thus, the everyday experiences of our childhood, not solely the traumatic ones, were what shaped our self-images. The general atmosphere in our families contributed more to our view of ourselves than any single event.

We adopted the general attitude of our families, internalizing these feelings. Understanding that parental influence is a significant ingredient helps in our attempts to see our self-images transformed. And it's just very important for us to understand how we came to view ourselves the way that we are, not to blame anyone.

You see, we can't look at ourselves as victims, and we're not to blame. But it's important to understand how we came to think the way we do, because then we can allow God to work in that situation and help us to think what's really true. And although our parents do play a major role in how we learn to define ourselves, we also have learned to define ourselves by the kind of peers that we've spent time with, by other significant people in our lives, by major events that happened in our lives.

Maybe our parents were divorced when we were young, or we lost a parent through death. And also, we're just bombarded, as we talked about last night with the media, that tells us who we should be, and that we should look a certain way, or that we should have certain things, or that we should be a certain kind of person, personality, to be successful, to be a somebody. And we're filtering all these things into our minds every day to figure out who we are, because we all have a need, we all have a great need to be significant, to know that we're loved and that we're wanted. And if one of those ingredients is missing in our lives, then we're going to try to fill that up in some way, and in our own efforts, usually, we try to conform to what we believe will make us a worthwhile person. And we try to fit into the world's mold, which is telling us that to be significant, we need to dress a certain way, we need to have clothes from a certain store, we need to live in a certain kind of house in a certain part of the city, or have this much education, or this kind of job, or accomplish this many things. And if we can't do it ourselves, you know, some of us, what we try to do is, well, if I can't be a somebody, then I'll make sure my kids are a somebody.

You know, I'll make sure things work out for them. But you know what God says? He says all these things, all these outward things that we try to do to make ourselves a somebody, to make ourselves significant are faulty foundations on which to build our worth.

Because when a crisis comes in our lives, or a life change comes, then these foundations crumble, and they won't hold us up, they won't sustain us. Well, all of us, to some extent, learn to view ourselves from imperfect people, as our parents were. And we live in an imperfect world, and many of the messages we pick up about ourselves are false. And God wants us to know from His Word who we truly are. He wants us to know what He says about us. And He tells us that we're already a somebody to Him, and we're already worthwhile in His eyes. And when He looks at His children, He sees a valuable person. He sees a valuable person. He doesn't see a mistake, and He doesn't see a failure, and He doesn't see a second-class citizen, and He doesn't see somebody who has to keep trying harder and harder to prove that they're a worthwhile person.

He sees someone who's already significant and already valuable. Well, I grew up with a very poor self-image, and I spent the first 25 years of my life trying to prove to myself that I was really a somebody, that I was really a worthwhile person. And I tried to do this by using the world's methods to fill up those empty places in my life. You know, I thought, oh, if I could just be pretty enough, or if I could get an education, or if I could get married, and then if I could get married, if I could have a child, or, you know, if I could have nice things, if my husband could be successful. You know, those things I thought would make me significant. But at age 25, God began to teach me some very important lessons that all of those things, all of those ways that I was trying to make myself significant, and I thought would make me a somebody were just empty buckets. They were just empty buckets because down deep inside, I still had that emptiness.

I still had that lack of self-worth that I constantly had to keep trying to fill up in other ways and by working harder. And I look back on those early days of my life as my Cinderella story, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about that this morning. I was born to parents who were not believers, who were not Christians, and I was the second born of three girls, and we grew up in a very small town in the hills of West Virginia. We were called hillbillies back then.

I don't know if they're still called that today. And we lived a very simple and a very isolated life. My mom was a housewife, and she didn't drive a car.

She's never gotten her driver's license. We didn't have any kind of social life, or she didn't, and she didn't spend any time with friends, and her whole focus of her life was her home, and she did take good care of her children. She was a very sweet and kind person, very quiet person, and I can't remember her verbally expressing her love to me growing up, but I knew by her actions, I knew that she loved me because she worked so hard to take care of us and to see that our needs were met, and she would give up things that she wanted herself to make sure that her three daughters had what we needed. She was a very fearful person.

As I told you, she worried a lot about a lot of things that might happen. One of her greatest priorities was, though, keeping her house spotless. It had to be spotless all the time, and cleaning her house just seemed to be the major priority of her life. Well, my dad was a lot different. He was a very, very strong disciplinarian, and he ruled our house with an iron hand. He worked away from home a lot during the week in my growing up years, and he was home on the weekends, which, as I look back now, was probably one of the saving graces of my life. Even though, when he was away, even at work, I could feel his presence watching over me, and just waiting for me to mess up, because he had rules for everything. He had rules for everything we did, and they were strictly enforced by hard spankings if you messed up, and everything had to be done perfectly, whatever you did. He was a very hard worker.

He provided for our physical needs, and he expected us to work hard, and, as I said, do whatever we did to do it perfectly. He never told me that he loved me. He never hugged me or touched me affectionately. He never played with me growing up. He never praised me for doing a good job. He never encouraged me to accomplish anything with my life, and never got involved in anything that was going on in my life. He was a man that was never able to resolve conflicts in his own life with other people, so he would just not speak to them anymore. He would just kind of forget that they even were alive, and he was very paranoid, and he thought others were always out to get him, and he drank a lot. And early on, I remember thinking that drinking was a good thing, because he seemed happier when he was drinking with his friends, and so I thought that was a good thing, and I was terribly afraid of him, because he had such high expectations, and I could never meet them, and I longed for his approval, even though I was terribly afraid of him.

I tried so hard to do whatever I needed to to get his approval and to get his love, but I never got it, and he never expressed to me that I ever did a good job, or that he was ever pleased with anything that I did. Well, because of where we lived, because my parents were not social people, and because we were not allowed to participate in hardly any activities outside of our home, it was very hard for me to build friendships when I was growing up, and so I spent a lot of time by myself. And I would sit, and I would daydream about what life was like outside this little town in West Virginia, and I dreamed about what I could be if I could have been born someplace else, if I could have been in another place, in another family. In fact, the love that I have for reading now came out of those years of being alone, where I would go to the library, or we didn't have a library, but Bookmobile came through our little town, and I would just wait for that thing to come, because I could get a book, and I would read stories about young women, about girls, who were really doing something exciting with their lives, and who had careers, and I would, for a while, it was like I was them, and I would dream about what it would be like to really be someone significant, to really be a somebody. And I remember early on watching the movie Cinderella on TV, and she sang the song that was sung this morning, and it so touched my heart, because I thought, that's who I am, that's what I feel like. And I would sit alone in my house, or sometimes I would go way up on this hill behind our house with my dog, and I would sit and I would daydream and think about what it would be like to be a somebody, to live someplace else.

And, you know, in the Cinderella story, she sat in the corner and she sang this song, and then her fairy godmother showed up, but my fairy godmother didn't come. But I had something better that came later. Well, during those years, I was developing a picture of who I believed that I was, and many negative things began to develop in my mind.

This is just some of them. I can't really expect to do anything significant with my life. That's what I thought. If I make a mistake, it would be devastating. If I make a mistake or do anything wrong, then I'm a bad person, and I should be punished.

I must work hard to prove that I'm a somebody. If something goes wrong, it must be my fault. And those are some of the negative beliefs that began to form in my mind. Well, during my high school years, I watched as my older sister, I felt that she really got the brunt of our parenting even worse than I did. She couldn't handle all the restrictions that we had in our lives because we were not even allowed to date, and we were not allowed to mention boys in our home.

It was almost like that was a bad word. And so she began to sneak out and go on dates, and I knew all this was going on, and she even got dressed up and went to the prom without my parents knowing that she went. And I was so scared for her. But pretty soon I started sneaking out too. She taught me well.

We learned all the tricks. But the fear of being caught and the guilt of doing these things behind my parents' back for me was enormous. It really bothered me. Now, eventually, my sister did get caught, and I'll never forget the night that my dad punished her and just the yelling and the screaming between the two of them. And she tried to run away from home that night. And my bedroom window was the only one that she would be able to get out to run away, and I would not let her out because I loved her so much. She was a beautiful girl. She was beautiful inside and out. She was tender and sweet, and she was fun to be with. And I loved being around her. I loved being with her. But she became pregnant near the end of her senior year in high school. And I just watched as this beautiful girl turned into an angry and bitter woman over the years.

And to this day, to this day, she's never embraced all that God has for her, all that He wants to give her, and she's never been able to resolve the bitterness that she has in her heart towards my dad. Well, I was determined as I watched her life that I was not going to be like that and that I was going to break free from my dad and that I was going to make something out of my life, that I was going to be a somebody. And I knew that if life was going to work out for me, I was going to have to do it myself. And the only problem was those same old recordings kept playing over and over in my mind. You know, you'll never be significant.

You'll mess up. You know, I still kept hearing those same things. Well, I went off to college, not with my dad's blessing, but he did agree to let me go. And at the same time, though, I got involved with a young man. And this evolved into a very unhealthy relationship, but I was desperate. I was desperate to be loved, and I just didn't want to lose him.

And we dated for a couple of years, and then we got married. And I was finding fulfillment now. I was finding fulfillment in that now I was married, that I had a job that I liked, and my husband was working on his degree, and we were going someplace with my life.

I was finally thinking, I'm really becoming a somebody. And during that time, my husband was involved a lot in drugs and a very party-type lifestyle. And I just couldn't face the fact that these things could destroy our lives. Because I had watched my dad drink all these years, and it didn't seem to hurt him, and so it didn't concern me all that much as I watched my husband go through these things. Well, he graduated from college in May, and our twin boys were born in August.

And at the time, they were six months old. He left us, and he just walked out. I had quit my job to take care of our children, and so he left us with no income and got involved with another woman, and my life was devastated. And in my efforts to become a somebody, all those things that I thought would make me a somebody came crumbling to the ground. And this devastating time just validated in my mind that what I believed about myself was true.

And I really do mess everything up, that I am a failure, that I'm not important. But you see, I had a faulty belief system. I didn't know it. It's like the story about the crooked little man, and he had a crooked wife, and he had a crooked cat, and he lived in a crooked house. And he didn't know that everything was crooked, because that's all that he knew. He had a faulty belief system. And I didn't know that my belief system was crooked.

And I know that in this room there are some of you that have been living your lives with crooked beliefs about who you are. You have faulty beliefs about who you are, and it affects every area of your life. It affects your relationships.

It affects your marriage. And God wants you to begin to become aware of what those beliefs are, and this weekend to start turning the corner in the process of allowing God to transform those faulty beliefs, those crooked thoughts that you have about yourself, and to begin to believe what's really true about you. That's what He wants us to know, what God says about us. And He says that His truth gives us freedom. See, it breaks the bondage in our life. It's God's truth, He says, that sets us free. Well, about six months after my husband left, the most wonderful thing happened to me.

And this Cinderella, who thought that she would never be significant, was about to become a princess. And I just happened to get a job in an office where my boss was a born-again Christian. And for the first time in my life, I began to hear about God. I began to hear about a God who loved me and who wanted me, who heals the wounds of the brokenhearted and who sets the prisoners free, and a God who will never, ever reject us.

He wants me, a God who loved me, and that He'll never, ever turn His back on me. And so at age 25, at a little free Methodist church in West Virginia, I invited Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior. And I didn't realize at that moment when that was happening what God was doing inside me.

I didn't realize the changes that were happening at that moment and how I would change even more over the next several years of my life. And some amazing things happened to all of us at the moment that we received Christ. At the moment of salvation, we're changed. We're different people.

We're not the same people that we used to be. And all of us, this happens to all of us, no matter what our backgrounds are, we're transformed at that moment from a Cinderella into a princess, into royalty. We become the daughter of the King, and we become His princess. And so in your notes, if you have your notebooks open, if you will turn to the part of this session that says, Spiritual transformation occurs at the moment of salvation. And this is so important for us as far as our identity is concerned to understand who we are in Christ, to understand what happened to us at the moment that we were saved, that this is who we were before, and this is who I am now. And it's a huge difference, and it makes a huge difference in how I view myself and in how I live out my life.

And so I just want to briefly take you through that. If you look at that chart there, it says, first of all, before Christ, before Christ, before I was saved, this is who I was. I was spiritually dead, and I was separated from God. In Romans 5-12 it says, Therefore, just as through one man, and that's Adam, sin entered into the world and death through sin, so death spread to all men. Because Adam sinned, because he turned his back on God, sin has been born into every life on this earth ever since. We are born into sin. And that's who I was before I knew Christ. I'm separated from God. And at the moment of salvation, after Christ, we become spiritually alive. And that means that I become indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

The very life of Christ indwells my body. As we talked about last night, we become his temple, and he lives within me. And so we're no longer separated from God. Not only do I have life over here, see, I'm not dead anymore. Now I have life, and I'm not separated from God anymore. Now I have an intimate relationship with him because he lives right inside me.

And we're as close as we could ever be. And it says in Romans 5-17, for if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one Jesus Christ. So those of us who have been born again into new life are over here. And we have life, and we have intimacy with God. Before Christ, we have the old nature that is a slave to sin.

We have the old nature. And everything we do over here is outside of the will of God. I'm trying to live my life in my own efforts, in my own flesh, within the limits of my own mind and my own ability. Over here, without Christ, I'm trying to do everything just the natural way that I think is to be done.

And it's without Christ. Now that I have become saved, that I have the life of Christ, he says that I'm changed, and I receive a new nature. I have the very nature of Christ now. 2 Corinthians 5-17, Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.

The old things passed away, the new things have come. Over here, I had an old nature that all I could do was sin, just do things that came naturally in my own mind and my own abilities. Over here, now I have the life of Christ in me. I have his nature, and I have a longing now to do what Christ would do, and I have the power to do it. I'm no longer a slave to sin, but I'm a slave to righteousness. In other words, I don't have to sin anymore.

Now I will, but I don't have to. I have the ability to live out my life in the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells me, and I have a power now that I didn't possess before, because I have a power to live for God. Well, before Christ, my identity was determined by faulty foundations that are sometimes good and they're sometimes bad. That may be, I determine myself, my identity by what other people think, or by the world system that we live in, or by my achievements, or what I own. Proverbs 16 25 says, There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

These are empty buckets. There are these things that we try to use to tell us who we are, to make ourself significant, and they're empty buckets. After Christ, my identity is determined by my relationship with Christ that will never change or crumble, and it's always good.

It's always good. I become a child of God. I become royalty.

I become a princess who is an heir to all the blessings that God has to offer. In 1 Peter 2 9, it says, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. You see, we are a chosen race that says a royal priesthood. We belong to Him.

We have His identity now. Romans 8 15 and 16, For you have not received a spirit of slavery, leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him, we become a part of His family.

We're adopted as His children. This is Living on the Edge, and you've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher, Teresa Ingram's message from Cinderella to a Princess from her series, Precious in His Sight. She and Chip will join us shortly to share some additional thoughts and application to what we've heard.

Do you often feel like you don't measure up or that your past mistakes or failures disqualify you in some way from being accepted? Through this series, Teresa Ingram candidly reflects on her own painful journey with self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. She'll share how God freed her from that mindset and opened her eyes to see her true beauty and value.

Don't miss how you can experience that freedom too and better understand God's love. For more information about Precious in His Sight or our series resources, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or LivingOnTheEdge.org.

App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, Chip, this whole series is built on some of the most vulnerable parts of your wife Teresa's story, and she expounds on what she went through and the lessons God taught her in a new book. Would you take just a minute and talk about her journey to write this book and what you both hope people will get from it? Well, I have to tell you, you know, I've heard her teach on this and we reviewed these truth cards together for years and years, but I read the introduction that she wrote fresh, and I learned things about my wife. I thought, honestly, I can't believe she's sharing this, but it's so powerful. And what happened was she actually taught this and then the women of the church just kept saying, you've got to get this in writing.

You know, we've listened to it, but I need to read it. And then, you know, she would write like three paragraphs and walk in and say, this is terrible, and I know this won't be any good. And, you know, then finally she persevered and persevered. And when she got done, I think she saw this was a God-ordained moment that will speak into the heart of women and especially women that are really hurting. So, I just can't wait for people to read it. It's a great book, it's a great story, but it has God's truth woven in it to learn how that you are precious, that you're one of a kind, that you don't need to be anybody else. And it's told through her story in a way that I think so many women will say, oh, that's me, that's me, that's me.

And then they'll say, wow, there's hope, there's hope, there's hope. So, Dave, why don't you take a minute and just share with them how they can get this book. Well, Chip, it's really easy to order a copy of Teresa's new book, Precious in His Sight. Simply go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. And if you're wanting to give this book as a gift for Mother's Day, be sure to place your order by April 29th to receive it in time. Also, if you'd like to order some books for the women in your church, discounts are available. Again, you can find all these details by going to LivingOnTheEdge.org or by calling us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 or LivingOnTheEdge.org.

App listeners, tap special offers. Well, now here's Chip and Teresa to share some final thoughts. Wow, Teresa, thanks so much for today's message. That was really powerful talking about people's identity. And, you know, there's countless people wrestling with an identity crisis. You know, they're really asking, you know, who am I? Am I worthy? Does anyone really care about me? What would you say or what would you want to say to people who are really hurting and struggling right now after they heard what you just taught?

Well, first of all, I can really identify with their struggles. And as a child, I watched an old Cinderella movie. This was an old black and white film. And Cinderella, as we probably all know the story, she was abused and neglected by her stepmother and stepsisters. And in the film, what I remember so much was that she sat down on a little stool and she began to sing a song, and the words have never left me. And she sang, in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. And that's how I was living.

I felt that way for years. Lonely, I felt unlovable, unworthy, unwanted. And when I became a Christian, I realized that none of these things define who I am. I'm reading through the Minor Prophets in the Bible right now. And this verse is in Habakkuk, a place that we don't go very much, but it says, Even though the fig tree has no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines, even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren, even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, we all feel that way. At times in our lives, like, everything is going wrong, everything is working out, but it says, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The sovereign Lord is my strength, and He will make my feet as sure-footed as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. And so even though things are not looking good, and we're struggling, and we have all these difficulties in our lives with maybe our own thoughts and other people, that God is in control, and He is my strength. He is your strength. And as we look to Him, He will lift us up, and He will help us to have all that we need to move forward.

That's a great word, Teresa. Thanks. As we close, a great way to get plugged in with our resources here at Living on the Edge is through the Chip Ingram app. There you can listen to past series, sign up for daily discipleship, and much more. Let us help you experience God in a new personal way, starting today with the Chip Ingram app. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-11 01:37:37 / 2023-05-11 01:51:29 / 14

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