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The woman at the well…I’ve always been drawn to her. Her pain. Her need. How Jesus saw her real need—her need for Him. The need she tried to fill in with others but that could only be satisfied by Him.
I think there’s a bit of her in me. Maybe there is in you too. My prayers began the journey to that very revelation, a similar well-type encounter. “God, I long to be closer to you. For you to be pleased. What am I doing wrong? Show me. Tell me.”
The answer that met my heart’s cry was not what I was expecting:
“What if it’s not what you are doing wrong, but what if it’s what you are doing right?”
What was I supposed to do with that? His ways are not our ways, and His answers do not often come in the ways we expect. I had been waiting for a reprimand or a redirect, or at least a list of things to DO or to change. Instead I was met with quiet and more time to reflect.
And then it happened. The scales fell off and I could see with greater clarity than I had ever seen before.
All I ever wanted was for him to say he was proud of me. All I needed was to know I was loved and accepted unconditionally.
Really, that’s what we all want.
Every week in my office as I hear the stories of the hurt and broken, and I glimpse into their hearts. What their hearts and their eyes convey is that they want to know that they are accepted, found worthy, and loved unconditionally.
The woman at the well wanted love, acceptance, to be found worthy. And yet, I daresay, she never found it until she encountered it in Jesus that day.
Sadly, so few ever find that in their homes. And even fewer still find that outside the home.
But if there is anything I have learned in my 20+ years in the mental health field, it’s that hurt people hurt other people out of their own wounding. They inflict pain in the words they say. Yet the glorious flip side to that is that freed people help free other people.
The great travesty is that so often our view of God is formed by our relationship with our earthly parents or those in influence over us, and when there are wounds from those relationships, they spill over into our relationship with the only One who is capable of loving us perfectly not only despite, but because of, the cracks and flaws we possess.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV).
In our home, we know the impact our words can have to bring life or death to another. We choose to speak life over each other. It’s a conscious decision.
It’s much easier to build a child up when they are young than to repair them as an adult. I should know…I was one who needed a great deal of repairing.
All I longed to hear was “I’m proud of you.” That never came. Even in the relatively benign of life circumstances like “I’m headed to the track meet,” I was met with the negative, “I hope you don’t lose too badly.”
It doesn’t take long for the negatives to embed themselves in your spirit as lies from the enemy. Lies that you aren’t good enough, aren’t worthy. Lies that you have to be perfect in order to be deserving of acceptance or love. The problem is, when those lies are all you know, you don’t even recognize them for what they are: lies.
In longing for the acceptance and love of those most influential in our life, but coming up empty, the enemy can convince us that we will come up empty with God too.
I had certainly come up empty – I never measured up to their ideal; never found that acceptance, that worth, or that unconditional love, although I tried. Oh how I tried. If I couldn’t be found worthy in their eyes, I felt certain that surely God wouldn’t find me worthy or acceptable either. And that would be much too painful to bear.
So I kept trying to earn it. Doing more. Working harder. Yet perfection never came. I was just positive it disappointed, even devastated Him. It did me.
I loved Him dearly…with all I had—faults, mistakes, brokenness and all. All I ever wanted was for Him, my Heavenly Father, to say He was proud of me. All I needed was to know I was loved and accepted unconditionally by Him.
His words to me from my quiet prayer time with Him kept repeating in my heart. What if it wasn’t about what I was doing wrong? What if HE noticed what I was doing right? What if HE loved me regardless of what I did? Because He does. And He loves you too.
Our worth is not dependent on what we do but on WHO we are and WHOSE we are. Repeat this with me—they are truths straight from God’s word to combat the lies of our enemy:
I am a Daughter of the Most High God (Psalm 82:6).
I am a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).
I make mistakes, but I am forgiven (Colossians 1:14).
I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2).
I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16).
I can find grace and mercy from God when I need it (Hebrews 4:16).
I am God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16).
I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 6:1)
I encourage others and lift them up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
I cannot be separated from the Love of God (Romans 8:35).
I am a woman at the well, but I have been set free by Jesus.
Because of Him,
If you’d like to read more on this topic about the importance of appreciating how God sees you, you’re going to want to pick up my friend Holley Gerth’s new life growth guide You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be. Based on Holley’s bestseller You’re Already Amazing, this guide takes you deeper into applying heart-freeing truths to help you recognize who God created us to be, what is true no matter how we feel, what God has planned for our relationships, God’s purpose for our lives, and how we can thrive for a lifetime.
“All we are, everything God created us to be, becomes a gift when placed in his hands. There’s nothing he can’t mold, shape, redeem or form into something beautiful. We don’t have to be afraid or hold back—we can just hold out our hearts to the One who promises to complete the good work he’s already started in us.” Holley Gerth
I was provided with an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.