I am reading a book by Nicole Johnson and a lot of chapters have really jumped out at me, but this one in particular spoke to me. She talked about a young girl that came to see her counselor because she was cutting herself. The Counselor told her about the story in the Bible of Jesus coming to the man at the tombs. (Mark 5:1-20)
This young man at the tombs was hurting so badly inside that he was cutting himself with a blade. He was cutting to control the pain. When Jesus came close to him and asked him his name, the man answered “Legion, for we are many.”
Legion means “a very large number.”
This man called himself Legion when Jesus asked his name because he had a large number of names he called himself. He called himself these names because of the pain he carried inside, pain inflicted by others, pain inflicted by himself.
Jesus took that pain away from him and gave him Peace in return. He cast the pain into the pigs standing nearby and they ran off the cliff and killed themselves. That was some intense pain.
People thought this man was crazy. He thought so too until Love got a hold of him. He listened to the voices inside his head telling him all those terrible things, and he believed them. He listened to them tell him how bad he was, what a horrible person he was, all the things he had done wrong, what others thought of him, that he was crazy!
Do I do that? Do I listen to the voices in my head telling me things like that? Do I believe them? What do I do about them?
Here are a few questions they asked in the book: I wrote a few answers, but give your own answers when you read them.
“What kind of names do you have for yourself? Where did you get them?”
Controlling. Demanding. Overwhelmed. Grouchy. Tired. Not Sensitive. I don’t love the unlovely. Not a happy wife and mother. Fat. Ugly. Angry. Bitter. (are any of these names you call yourself?)
Where do these names come from? Satan, most likely, not?
“Are there instruments you use or have used to inflict pain on yourself?
We all deal with the pain some way or another. How do I? What do I do when I’m hurting?
(food, work, activities)
“How do you speak to yourself on the inside? What are the tone and purpose of your self-talk?
I’m not very kind to myself. Chew myself out a lot. Run myself down. I am very critical. I’m afraid to be me, to let people see the inside of me. I have pride issues.
“Do you have unresolved anger in your heart?”
(are there issues hidden deep inside that are causing you to call yourself these names and feel this way?)
“How do you think God sees you? “
This is a big one. How does God see me? Does he see me like I see myself? I know He loves me unconditionally so that means He loves me even amid all the names I call myself. Even amid all the unlovely things that I do, say and think… He still loves me just the way I am. He always wants to me to change though, to be able to see myself the way He sees me, the way He loves me.
A paraphrase from the book:
“Listen to the voice of God who asked the demon-possessed man what his name was. Redefine your names according to how you believe he sees you by faith, not by your feelings. Write those names down on a piece of paper, or somewhere you see them regularly. Lay down any destructive tools that you may use to hurt yourself and look at the wounds of Christ as a substitute for your wounds. Say to yourself, “Christ took this pain so I don’t have to do this to myself anymore, I don’t have to treat myself this way.” Trust that his love has forever changed your name. “
What are God’s names for me?
Daughter. Treasure. Mine. Woman. My own. Child. Bought. Love.
What is God saying to me?
Peace. Rest. Quietness. Trust. Love. Relax. Let Me. Be still. Uplift. Encourage. Listen.
Can I trust God? Can I change the way I think about myself? Am I willing? I can with God’s help.