Stepping Into Who God Created Us To Be

The reason I became a counselor was to be able to provide a Christian outlook while encouraging others through life’s struggles and misconceptions. I wanted to navigate with people how to prevent the things that I had experienced a good deal in my own life and how to look to God for answers.

Two questions I get asked many times over by clients are, what are the pieces in my life that I need to eliminate and why and where are they are coming from? Our recent ‘Habit Forming’ series and in particular, this past message on “put-offs” and “put-ons,” has touched a bit on this topic. As pastor Anthony pointed out, Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us that, “you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV).

We all have things in our life that we need to put off and we are called to seek God for truth and direction regarding what to “put on.” However, in the world we live in, with so many lies of who and what we “should be,” it can be tough to identify the truth. This is a piece I begin to work through with my clients in the beginning counseling sessions. We first need to unearth the lies, emotions, and actions that are harming and preventing us from experiencing what God wants for us.

Going to counseling myself has been extremely helpful in gaining insight into my own life. It is not always the genetics of how we are born that can create these habits and struggles, it is also our environment. It is also created by those who surround us, whether by choice or circumstance. This was important for me because it was not just identifying my negative thoughts and behaviors, I was also seeking out the root cause of them. If you do not pinpoint and pull that root from your life it will regrow over time.

I realized that amid the struggles I had growing up, I learned to ruminate on the negative and to run from them. Sure, people would tell me to fight, but what they showed me was to run and play the victim. Now, I am not saying that all the things I experienced were my fault. I was bullied relentlessly as a kid just because I didn’t fit the exact norm. I don’t believe I deserved this, but how I reacted to it was the biggest factor. I left schools and even a church as a kid because of situations of bullying. I believed the world was against me and the lie that God was against me. However, in God’s word it tells us the opposite. Isaiah 41:10 states “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

Though I was brought up in a Christian household, that doesn’t mean I was always taught how to act and think in the ways of the Lord. Sometimes I was too focused on the “why me” mentality to see that the Lord was with me and through Him I could find guidance and comfort. I recently heard someone say that the Lord never tells us that if you follow Him bad things will not happen. Instead, throughout His word He tells us that when we follow Him, amidst our struggles, He is with us! Meaning we will still have struggles, but what do we do when they come? For me to understand this, I had to identify the learned behaviors and thoughts of my environment that helped create my negative outlook on the world and on God. Then I had to replace them with God’s actual truth.

My encouragement for others as they are trying to navigate the “put-ons” and “put-offs” of life, is to walk through it with someone. It can be a lot more daunting trying to go at this alone. I leave you with one of many passages in Proverbs that affirms this truth: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”  (Proverbs 24:6).

John is a licensed professional counselor whose clinical experience currently includes, but is not limited to, counseling individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds with depression, anxiety, identity and relational issues, spiritual conflict, life transitions, grief and loss, trauma, and addictions.

For more information on counseling services at Hoboken Grace you can visit

To listen to Sundays message on “putting off” and “putting on” click here:

Follow us

Get the Newsletter