Shavuot is here in the Land of Israel! Every year during this harvest season Israeli women adorn themselves with gorgeous flower crowns as a sign of celebration.
Shavuot (or 'feast of weeks' in English) (Hebrew: חג השבועות) is a harvest festival from Exodus 23:16
"Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field;"
(For more information on shavuot you can find our available resources here: https://www.voiceforisrael.net/messiah-revealed-in-shavuot)
It's so significant that at this time of the year all the people of Israel adorn themselves with flower crowns because God calls his people a 'chosen nation.'
When we look at the Hebrew word for 'chosen' it actually says 'am segoola' translated literally as a 'purple nation' symbolizing royalty.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)
This is not only for Israel but to every believer who follows the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
As children of the King we are royalty yet I see so many of us struggling with our identity.
God began speaking to me about this subject of identity and self worth while attending a camp in the States as a teenager.
The sun beat down mercilessly on our back as we kept trudging up the looming mountain trail. “A short hike they said, anyone can do it they said…” I huffed under my breath and readjusted my massive backpack carrying our tent, food & first aid kit.”
“Rest stop in 10 minutes!” the leader called out from the front. “Thank God!” I said, taking another slurp from my water-bottle.
We had already been hiking for 5 hours up a steep mountainside and were barely half way to our destination. This was not my idea of a relaxing weekend adventure, in fact it was pretty much torture.
My friend caught a glimpse of my face twisted into a permanent grimace and laughed. “You don’t like hiking?” she asked. “I like hiking but this is more like survival of the fittest!”
Another friend popped into the conversation “Hey we should all give each other trail names!” A long held tradition of this camp. “I have the perfect trail name for you Liat” she said giggling “Princess!”
I laughed along with her “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
The nickname Princess stuck with me for my entire life.
Isn’t it every little girls dream to be a princess?
I have a 4 year old niece who live, breaths and dreams princesses. She can watch her princess t.v. program for hours at a time. She loves to dress up in puffy dresses strutting around like a queen. She has princess stickers, princess place-mats, princess hair clips and anything else imaginable.
Photo above taken in southern Israel 2019
So what is with the princess obsession?
I think it’s because deep down within every little girl is a deep desire to be loved, cherished, valued & beautiful.
Over time we have bad experiences. Other people abuse, neglect or mistreat us and we begin to second-guess our value. We begin to diminish our worth because of the hurt others have caused us.
At some point we decide to take off our crown. Deep down we no longer believe in our true identity as sons and daughters of the King of Kings. We begin to believe the lies of the enemy that we are unwanted, uncared for, unloved and we let roots of rejection turn into insecurity.
The dangerous thing is that when we don’t know the worth of something we are much more willing to give it away cheaply or treat it carelessly allowing it to become damaged.
Which is why we need to constantly renew our minds and refresh ourselves with the Word of God.
"Although my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will adopt me as His child." (Psalms 27:10)
Many times this root of rejection begins in our childhood due to brokeness in our homes & fractures in the relationship of our parents which we were wired to look to as our source of safety & care.
No parent, no matter how hard they try, is perfect. We've all been let down by members of our family, spouse or friends. The truth is that people just can't fill the craving for affirmation, love & care that we need.
Photo taken at Messianic village in Israel 'Yad Hashmona'
When we go through the trauma of feeling unloved & unwanted as a small child it plants poisonous seeds of insecurity, worthlessness, self-doubt & self-hatred that can stay with us our entire lives if we don't uproot them.
The good news is that God has adopted us which means he chose us to be a part of His family. We need to let this truth sink into our hearts and begin to re-write our identity.
We need to rely more on God and less on people for our source of love & acceptance.
That may sound easy and obvious on paper but it can take an enormous heart transformation & complete behavior modification that doesn't happen overnight.
For someone who's struggled with insecurity since childhood it isn't always easy to just 'snap out of it' and shed the dysfunctional characteristics that go along with it like: anxiety, chronic stress, indecisiveness, anger etc
With all that being said God promises that through the help of His Holy Spirit He can transform our hearts and minds & mould us into His image. As we spend more time with our Creator He brings more peace, confidence, boldness, joy, comfort & contentment into our lives.
So if 'being unwanted' is a toxic lie that the enemy tries to feed us.... what is our true God-given identity?
Photo taken at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Israel
"The Lord did not set his affection on you & choose you because you were more numerous than other people, for you were the fewest." (Deut. 7:7)
God did not choose Israel because they were the greatest, on the contrary, they didn't have much to offer Him. Yet God had and still has a deep love for Israel as His chosen nation.
God doesn't choose us because we perform well, look put together, do everything perfectly etc
Our royalty status in the kingdom of heaven isn't so much dependent on what we do but who we belong to.
YOU ARE MINE - YOU BELONG
My name 'Liat' (pronounced Lee-at) is a biblical Hebrew name from Isaiah where God says "I have called you by name, you are mine."
This is a constant reminder to me that I belong to God. My circumstances can't change that, the way other people can't change that, even the way I feel about myself can't change that truth.
As someone who's struggled with deep insecurity & anxiety since early childhood I've needed that reminder in my life.
When all my friend's constantly critiqued themselves every time they looked in a mirror in middle school, it steered me away from following the same pattern of self-defeat.
When I battled self-destructive behavior it helped me overcome and break the negative self-talk in my brain causing me to harm myself.
It still helps me today, every time I get discouraged, am tempted to break down or feel like I'm losing control. It gives me the gentle nudge I need to turn my heart back over to the King of Kings.
I surrender my pain, disappointment and scars from my past and let Him begin to replace the broken with something beautiful.
God chooses us even with our issues, even with our brokenness & insecurities because He loves us... but He doesn't want us to stay in a state of insecurity and doubt.
Insecurity is like a chain that will keep us from moving forward... in fact insecurity is what kept many of the Israelites out of the Promised Land.
"We saw ourselves like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Num. 13:33)
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. We are so concerned with the obstacles in our lives (our 'giants') that we fail to realize the only thing stopping us from having victory is our own insecurity.
Insecurity is really just pride in disguise.
It's becoming so focused on all the ways we don't measure up that we become distracted and take our eyes off God's goodness, power & ability to save.
How we see ourselves is how others will see us.
The Israelites were so scared of the giants in the Land it says they 'saw themselves as grasshoppers in their own eyes.' which is exactly how their enemies saw them.
God may have called you to step out and do something and you may be letting voices of fear & insecurity stopping you from entering His promises.
We shouldn't be content settling for 'less than God's best' for our lives.
When I was starting out in freelance media work I was talking with a potential client who didn't seem to want to pay full price for the job.
Because I was just starting out as a freelancer I lacked the confidence to charge her a reasonable rate and we went back and forth with negotiations for a while. Finally I just gave her my final price quote and she ended up deciding not to hire me on because it was too expensive for her at the time.
A few weeks later I got a call from another potential client for a huge photography project that I would not only enjoy but would be a great source of substantial income. They were happy to pay the full price and thrilled with the end result of the work.
I had been wanting to do a job like that for a long time but it was only when I got the confidence to turn down something I knew wasn't willing to pay me what I was worth.
When I refused to settle and give into fear I began valuing myself and others began to do the same.
A HIGH PRICE-TAG
On my eighteenth birthday I went out to dinner with some friends and began opening gifts. I'm a pretty simple girl in the sense that I'd be happy with a new note-book, Starbucks gift-card, or fuzzy socks.
Which is why I was shocked when I opened my last gift - a $450 designer purse. To me, it just looked like a regular purse that I could buy at Walmart for $20. It blew my mind that people would spend that much money on a purse!
The reason why women drop hundreds to thousands of dollars on brand name handbags is something called 'perceived value.'
When companies slap an expensive price-tag on a product under their name others begin to believe it's really worth that much and are willing to pay that much to get it.
We may have stuck on a Walmart sales price-tag on ourselves because of insecurity and in return others treat us the way we disvalue ourselves. We need to start believing our time, talents & abilities are worth more.
WEAR YOUR CROWN.
"His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon Himself His crown shall flourish." (Psalms 132:18)
God doesn't want us to walk around feeling bad about ourselves all the time. We were never meant to carry the weight of shame. (See blog post: THE SECRET OF SHAME )
If you're reading this, God wants to remind you of your identity in Him. As a child of the King you are loved, precious & valuable.
This doesn't mean we walk around arrogant or prideful, putting others down and acting stuck up. In fact those very attributes are signs of insecurity. When we find true confidence in God our heart posture naturally takes up a humble stance of gratitude and awe for the incredible love He shows us.
We can walk with confidence knowing that we were created perfectly (In God's image) & we were born with God's stamp of approval on us from the very start! (God saw us and called us "very good.")
"But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." (Psalms 3:3)
When we learn to embrace our weakness God has the opportunity to let His power shine through the cracks of our imperfect being. We can receive His grace in the times we completely blow it & receive His power to become transformed more and more into His image.
Next time insecurity comes knocking on your door, remind yourselves of these truths.
You are chosen, you have everything you need to fulfil the destiny God planted in your heart, you are a child of the King of Kings, so wear your crown.
"You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God." (Isaiah 62:3)
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