Episode 1. Those Early Years
Listen to the radio broadcast
Download audio file
It’s hard to have any peace in our lives, unless we have confidence in something … or someone that’s like … like a bedrock, like a solid foundation. Because without that foundation, everything else feels like it’s about to topple over. Have you noticed? If you watch TV for any length of time you can […]
It’s hard to have any peace in our lives, unless we have confidence in something … or someone that’s like … like a bedrock, like a solid foundation. Because without that foundation, everything else feels like it’s about to topple over. Have you noticed?
If you watch TV for any length of time you can come to the conclusion that we live in a world of confident people. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has dignity, everyone has a flashy car, you know what I’m talking about. But whatever the TV wants to tell us confidence is something that happens to be in pretty short supply, you know even people who appear super confident on the outside often harbour doubts and insecurities and uncertainties that eat away at them on the inside.
I call those things confidence shakers, things that shake our confidence, like an earthquake on the inside, an earthquake that sometimes just goes on and on. So this week on the program we’re going to take a look at some of those confidence shakers, starting with the legacy that our parents left us, from our early years.
I wonder if you can think back to your childhood and teenage years, you know those formative years when we were growing up. Think back to some of the incidents that really stand out in your memory. I just jotted down a few just earlier on today. That’s just the first things that came to my mind. I remembered that I had very few birthday parties, the one I had when I was 7. They gave me a little matchbox car because I was into those things, was a little Mr. Whippy Ice Cream Truck.
My father had some wheels in the garage and he promised to make us a Billy cart but he never did. We had a chicken run out in the backyard and I remember Dad killing chicken for Sunday lunch. I remember the lemonade, you know kids always remember lemonade, it was a big deal, six bottles were delivered every few weeks, yellow and red and green and they were only for special meals. We always wanted some, we could never have it.
I remember having to clean my father’s work shoes every afternoon, these big smelly shoes and I though it was so unfair. I remember school, whenever we were playing games, you know the cool kids were the captains and they chose their teams and they always chose me last. I remember my teenage years, I mean every teenager remembers this conflict with your parents, arguments and it all felt so unfair.
Now don’t get me wrong I didn’t have a deprived childhood, I didn’t have an abused childhood. Far from it. But I just rattle those things off because they were the things that first came to my mind. It’s interesting to me that when we do that it’s so often the negative things, it’s so often the things like, “How come I didn’t have more birthday parties?” So often the things that kind of leave their impact, the regrets and the insecurities.
Now I don’t know about your childhood, maybe you had just the most phantasmagorical childhood, maybe you had an appalling childhood, so many kids grow up in danger or abuse or just not loved.
You know the big thing amongst teenagers these days is not drugs, it’s not alcohol it’s not sex – its cutting. You know kids these day cut their bodies, they cut their wrists and their hands because of the deep depression and their reaction to all the difficulties that they are going through. Our daughter who’s 15 goes to a great school but there are several girls there whom we know who cut themselves.
What’s the point? I mean these seemingly small things along the way they leave their scars. They leave their scars on who we are. Things people say or they do while we’re growing up can be such incredible confidence shakers. Years on, well into our adulthood we get this somehow distorted image the world gives us while we’re growing up.
In effect when we’re growing up we’re laying down the layers of our characters and our personalities – who we are – layer by layer by layer. And when something happens in one of those deeper layers it leaves lumps and bumps and hurts and bruises and scars deep down that affect people for the rest of their lives. You know for some people this stuff is never resolved. Some people they live with fears all their lives like an eternal earthquake of low self-esteem.
I was listening on the radio yesterday afternoon to some women being interviewed who had lived in abusive situations for long times with their husbands or partners. And they almost all made the same point that because they were so abused their self-esteem was so low they ended up believing that it was their fault.
I mean there’s never an excuse for abuse there’s never a reason to strike a person or emotionally abuse them and yet they responded to this terrible stuff with something that’s irrational but something that’s realistic because their self-esteem was so low. So people will live with those fears all their lives, they harbor resentment towards their parents or their husbands or their wives or people who have abused them. What’s the answer?
The only thing, the only thing that casts out all fear is perfect love, and the only place I’ve discovered that perfect love, as much as my wife loves me, as much as I love my kids, the only place you discover love that never disappoints, that never hurts, that never criticises is in Jesus Christ. Now I don’t mean to sound corny, I don’t mean to sound trite but it’s true.
I remember preaching in a church once and one of the people in the congregation was a really well-known Christian leader and I talked on the passage in Psalm 27:10 which says this:
Although my Mother and my Father have forsaken me, the Lord will take me up and adopt me as His child.
It was interesting, this man grew up as an orphan. God has used him so mightily in so many people’s lives through his work.
And he came up to me afterwards and we spoke, and this passage obviously touched him deep inside somewhere. I mean he’s well balanced and he’s so effective and he’s so good at what he does but growing up as an orphan leaves scars. And that hurt comes from not having a Mum and a Dad to hold and nurture as we grow up, or that hurt can come because of something one of them said or something little and it just lives on inside us.
Can I encourage you today? If you had those things in your life its time to bring them to the surface, its time to confront this confidence shaker. Sit down, list those things from the past that are holding you captive today. Come on what are they? I’m not talking about some navel gazing exercise or some touch feely sort of thing, I’m not into that stuff. But sometimes those things from the past bubble away under the surface and they make us insecure; they make us react badly; they damage our existing relationships; they stop us from forming new relationships.
Come on is it time for you to sit down and write down the things from the past whether it’s from your Mum and Dad or from some kid at school or whatever it is that are holding you back. Maybe it’s an abusive parent; maybe its parents who didn’t care; maybe its just one little thing that hurt you; maybe it was one person who called you fat when you were a teenager when you were growing up and you’re still trying to lose weight to please that person today.
Whatever it is today whatever that scar, whatever that things is that’s holding you back, perfect love casts out all fear and God is love. We know how much because we can see what He did for us through His Son Jesus Christ on the cross:
Although my Father and my Mother have forsaken me, the Lord will take me up and adopt me as His child.
He really means it. Anyone who believes in Jesus is a child of the living God and God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of adoption so that we can call him, “Dad”. Not a spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind because God wants us to live a confident life. And it’s His perfect love as we experience that day by day that takes away those confidence shakers, that takes away those fears and lets us live a Godly and confident life in uncertain times.