I was only a kid then.
But to this day, I can never forget our old electric fan.
If you’re my age, you’ve probably seen those monsters: An electric fan made of pure 100% steel and heavy as a boat. And with blades that could chop your head off.
One day, we switched it on, and the blades made so much noise, you’d think there was an army helicopter right inside our home.
That was when my cousin Chuck dropped by and volunteered to fix it. He was known in the family as a “jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none” kind of guy. We should have focused on the “master-of-none” part. Because after he “fixed” it, the noise was totally gone—but so was all signs of life. Our fan was now dead. “Chuck, you killed it!” we told him. “Well at least, it’s quiet now,” he said, “and we can sell this junk!”
That was when my Uncle Tom came ambling through the door. “He’s good with his hands,” my father said. So we asked him to check what was left of our fan.
Uncle Tom took it apart, and after almost two hours, put it together again. He plugged it—and with bated breath—we saw the blades moving again! And without the noise too.
But no wonder, because the blades made one complete spin every…60 seconds! It was so slow, we wondered if it was now a clock.
That was when one of my sisters asked, “Who made it anyway?”
Someone said, “Hitachi.”
Another sister of mine said, “Then let’s bring it to Hitachi. If they made it, I’m sure they can fix it.” Once in awhile, my sisters can say sensible things too. (Just kidding. I’m the only boy in the family, and the youngest too. So I have the license to tease them.)
True enough, we brought it to Hitachi, and in a few days, the fan was running perfectly.
You Have A Self-Portrait In Your Heart;
Many Times, It’s A Lie.
In your mind, you already have an image of who you are.
It’s a Self-Portrait.
And it’s so incredibly powerful, it actually determines your entire life.
This Self-Portrait—how you define yourself—comes from your collective experience of your failures and successes. It also comes from how other people treat you. And it comes from how you’ve treated yourself all these years.
That’s why your Self-Portrait could be a lie.
It’s like asking my cousin Chuck and my Uncle Tom to fix you up. They don’t have your blueprint. They really don’t know who you are.
Because they didn’t make you.
Go to your Manufacturer instead.
Delve deep within you and you’ll see your label stitched to your soul: “God’s Own, Made in Heaven.”
He’s got your blueprint. He knows all your working parts. He knows you more than you know yourself.
Because He made you, He possesses your most accurate Self-Portrait.
Friend, in your heart right now, you carry a Self-Portrait—a way of looking at yourself. Question: Where does it come from?
My Self-Portrait Was A Lie
Years ago, I had a raging pornographic addiction.
At 3am, I would wake up and roam the streets, looking for my “fix”—pornographic material. (There was no internet porn at that time, so I had to scrounge for cheap porn magazines.) That was who I was many years ago.
In my mind, I had only one Self-Portrait: I was lustful. I was uncontrollable. I was sick and ugly and shameful.
And stronger than my sexual addiction was my approval addiction.
Desperate to fill in my hunger for love—and desperate to escape my inner shame—I was desperate that people like me. I’d bend over to get people to love me, no matter what the cost. I was a pathological People-Pleaser. And I was miserable as hell.
Yes, I failed in the past. Too many times to count!
Oh, I shouldn’t be here writing to you now.
Yet here I am, authoring books and preaching to thousands. I’m leading four organizations and a worldwide ministry. I’m a successful entrepreneur running my little businesses. I’m a happy family man with a lovely wife and two great boys.
I shouldn’t be enjoying all these.
I should be in the dumps. Destroyed. Hopeless. Lost.
So what happened?
In a phrase, I changed my Self-Portrait.
Because every time I came to God in prayer, He wouldn’t agree with my rotten Self-Portrait. He would insist on changing it. Each time, He would tell me I was wonderful, beautiful, loved, and powerful beyond my wildest imagination.
He also told me that it didn’t matter how much I failed.
Surprisingly, He didn’t even look at my failures at all…
Next week, I want to share three giant Lessons on Self-Portraits…
May your dreams come true,