Wednesday, January 25, 2012

STOLEN IDENTITY

"We're going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us."  ~Beth Moore

It all began when I was cruising the aisles of the supermarket at a more rapid pace than usual. My list comprised of items I needed to make a meal for some friends. Both father and son were battling cancer, and I had offered to bring them a meal.

After unloading everything from the cart onto the checkout counter, I reached for my wallet. My hand emerged from my purse, empty. My heart rate quickened and I felt for it again. No wallet. I explained to the cashier that my wallet was missing, and she called the manager over. I told him my dilemma, remembering that I had added a new book of checks to my wallet while sitting in my car in the store's parking lot. Together we walked out to the car to see if I had dropped my wallet inside or close to it. Again, no wallet.

The manager asked me to walk with him along the route I'd taken through the store. When we got to the aisle with bottled water, I recalled bending over to pick up the heavy case of waters, leaving my purse unattended those few seconds. The manager pointed out that it was ample time for someone to reach into my purse and grab my wallet. We walked through the store some more and around the perimeter, hoping the thief had removed the cash and dumped it. Again, no wallet.

This is how my journey with identity theft began. Money was instantly taken from my Mastercard in the form of a cash advance at a local bank. The forty checks I had just put into my wallet would become case after case of fraud, some in other states. It became a full-time job keeping up with all the damage that was being done. People were using our information to get fake driver's licenses. I felt violated and angry. The time and money it took to restore our good name, our credit, and to protect ourselves from further fraudulent activities was grueling.

Today I listened to a speaker talk about a different type of identity theft. I think that the one she addressed is much more invasive and damaging. It's the theft that occurs when someone tells you something about yourself or your circumstances that isn't based on truth, but we listen anyway. Maybe someone said you were stupid...or ugly...or incompetent...or guilty ~ responsible for an act that you didn't commit...and you let those words sink in and take root. Before long, you were accepting and believing it about yourself. And something was stolen from you ~ a piece of your true identity was lost.

Who hasn't experienced this at one point or another? We all do. But some thefts are bigger and more damaging than others. Some of us are walking around wounded, confused, even beating ourselves up because of words that were carelessly or intentionally thrust upon us.

Here's the thing ~ we don't have to be victims. We can take a stand against these thieves and say NO MORE. We can see their words for what they are ~ injurious lies ~ and make the choice to deflect them and move on.

Some of us have been listening and believing these lies for so long that they're embedded into our beings. We have allowed them to define who we are. But we don't have to resign ourselves to living this way. With some work and dedication, we can untangle the mess of lies we've been carrying around in us, and shed them once and for all.

Are you a victim of stolen identity? I was too. I'm here to say there is a way out! You do not have to remain a victim. You can be victorious. Whatever has been stolen, you can take back. It's a choice. It's making up your mind you aren't going to let other people define you. You aren't going to listen to those voices from your past telling you you're something that you're not. You aren't going to give any more power to the hurtful, negative words that have been spoken to you.

You are God's creation, created for a good purpose. You are a child of the King. You are wonderfully made. You have talents, gifts, and strengths to offer the world. You can choose freedom today and set your feet on the abundant path marked out for you. It all begins with the decision ~ I am not going to be a victim of identity theft anymore. I am not going to believe the old lies I have been fed, or listen to any new ones. I am not going to give my power away to thieves. Instead, I am going to identify every lie that has been spoken to me and cast it out. I may have to dig deeply to do this, but I know it's worth the work involved. I'm done letting others steal my identity...my purpose...my joy.

Once the lies are dealt with, I am freed up to see myself as I truly am and move forward. This may sound scary to some, as we tend to cling to what's familiar. But believe me when I say IT IS SO WORTH IT! I know. I speak from experience.

Take a stand. Don't back down. Excavate and discard every lie spoken to you. Let the healing begin. Acknowledge and celebrate all the good that God has planted in you. Begin to embrace these things. Ask Him to show you who He created you to be. Seek godly counsel if you need to. Lastly, forgive those who have stolen from you. I know it sounds difficult, but it's a must if you truly want to be set free.

Are you with me? It's time to take our identities back!

"When we realize we've believed a lie, our bonds lose their grip." ~Beth Moore

"Stop determining your worth and value by what other people say. Be determined by what the Word of God says." ~Joyce Meyer

"I learned that what happened to me did not have to define who I was. My past could not control my future unless I allowed it to." ~Joyce Meyer

"Let your only evaluation of worth derive from the awareness of God's love for you. All other measures leave one in a state of delusion."  ~Anonymous            

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