*I was honored to have this post featured at Purposeful Faith! You can find a portion of it there along with some other amazing words of encouragement from fellow bloggers! 

 

God was very real to me growing up. I didn’t just know about Him; I can honestly say that knew Him on a personal level. What went wrong for me is hard to pinpoint to one single event in my life. It was a very slow downward spiral that I never saw coming. All I know is that I woke up one morning realizing that I was sitting at the bottom of a deep, dark pit of loneliness and confusion. My reputation was destroyed, and I had no idea how I was going to make it out alive.

 

Reputation: Learning to Let Go | alyssajhoward.com

 

Hitting rock bottom was the best thing that ever happened to me. Of course, no one ever says that when they’re in the midst of their struggles. It’s only when we’ve made it to the top that we realize how much we needed that time of desperation. For me, rock bottom was just that – I was alone and desperate for God.

During the climb, I struggled. Not only with my circumstances, but with something I had no control over – the way others perceived me.

 

I often identified with the Prodigal Son. What a beautiful picture of how God restores His children and welcomes them home with arms open wide. In my heart, I was there. I was home. God was restoring me from the inside out and setting me free from my past. There was just one problem… I couldn’t shake my reputation. Every time I would take a step closer to restoration, there was someone there to remind me of my past failures.

 

I was beginning to wonder if I could ever move on. I knew God was drawing me in, but many of the people around me wouldn’t allow it. They were determined to see me as the Christian girl who messed up – the hypocrite.

 

That is when I decided to accept how people perceived me. I determined in my heart that I deserved the consequence of a destroyed reputation. After all, I did fail; and perhaps I had it coming. I lived this way for a long time – reconciled to God, set free from sin, but still perceiving myself to be a hypocrite and a failure.

 

Then God grabbed hold of my heart…

All this time, I had subconsciously allowed myself to believe that my destroyed reputation was God’s way of punishing me for my wrongdoings. In reality, God desperately wanted to restore all of me – including my reputation – so that I could bring Him glory and honor.

 

A funny thing happened when I finally let go of my reputation – God intervened.

 

First of all, I learned that God cares about how others perceive those who are His. He will always defend His children because He understands our pain.


Jesus knows all too well what it’s like to have a reputation destroy you. He was perfect and without sin, yet He was laughed at and mocked to the point of death.

 

He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. – Isaiah 53:3 (NLT)

 

Secondly, God taught me what it means to seek Him first in all things… including my reputation. When we hold on to things and choose to use our own strength to defend ourselves, we aren’t allowing God and His strength to take over. God wanted to renew my reputation, but I refused to trust Him with it.


Finally, God taught me who I was in His eyes. All those who belong to Him are citizens of His Kingdom, members of the body of Christ, co-heirs with Christ Jesus, strong warriors, and children of the one true King (that makes us royalty).

 

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1 (NLT)

 

God has blessed me with so much since my dark days at rock bottom. He has transformed the world around me and restored my reputation in the process. He brought people into my life who would see me the way God sees me, and He has challenged me to view others the same way.

 

I am still a work in progress, and there are certainly days when I struggle to surrender. But day by day, I am learning to let go and trust God.

 

Reputation: Learning to Let Go | alyssajhoward.com

 

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16 thoughts on “Reputation: Learning to Let Go”

  1. Alyssa, this is an excellent post! I can completely relate to being “the Christian girl who messed up – the hypocrite”. At times its so hard to move past our own wrong doings both because of the labels others place on us and because we reach a point where we begin to believe those labels are true. I don’t know much, but I do know this…Everybody messes up…Sometimes worse than other times, but I am thankful today for a God who doesn’t hold anything against us, who truly forgives, and releases us from that place of shame. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we “begin to believe those labels are true.” We are all given labels throughout life, but the only label that truly matters is the one given to us by God. His label is our true identity, and we need to embrace that and hold onto the truth when the world tries to give us “false” labels that tear us down.

      Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful story of redemption Alyssa. Thank you for sharing your heart and testimony, it blessed me and will bless many others. Praise God for restoration, mercy, and grace available to us all. Blessings to you and keep spreading the joy!

  3. What a gift to be blogging with you on Purposeful Faith today! I am in the midst of a storm today, dealing with someone who has consistently sought to destroy my reputation, constantly twisting the truth into lies, trying to make me look like a person I’m not. I am grateful to have a great God and a great husband who both know the truth. Thank you for encouraging me today, reminding me that Jesus understands and cares about my situation, and that HE is my defender! God bless you for your message today!

  4. I love that you brought up the God will always defend his children because He understands our pain. Our natural inclination is to defend ourselves when we are misrepresented. Thank you for the reminder that when we let God defend us, he will protect us.

    1. Valerie, I am so guilty of always trying to defend myself! I have found that more often than not, it backfires. It’s really hard sometimes to let go and let God be my defender, but I know He will be faithful. 🙂

  5. Hey Alyssa … Congrats on being featured!

    And thank you for your wise words on the gift of hitting bottom. It seems that’s where finally God gets our attention, reaches down, and pulls us up to begin a fresh new journey, so much wiser than where we were before.

    So good to meet you this past week!

  6. I can relate so well to your story after hitting rock bottom with a destroyed reputation Alyssa. It is so true that we recognize and become much more appreciate of the mountain top when we have been in a deep valley. I love the image of letting go of my reputation and taking hold of the hand of God! #ThankYouJesus! #RaRaLinkup

  7. Dear Alyssa, this message speaks deep to my heart. I come from a Christian family, yet the siblings are away from The Lord & my parents have only recently divorced. My siblings have come against me with such hatred & accusing me of being a Christian hypocrite. I am a single mum of three including a teenage son with disability & complex care needs. I have tried to maintain Godly connection with my siblings but they reject my advice, misunderstand me & are blaming me for the collapse of our family. Much is hard for me with family & I’ve been in deep grief & confusion over all that’s happened & at a loss to see how restoration of each member can happen without each one’s willingness to turn back to The Lord. I cry out to The Lord on my knees as nothing I do seems to help & more misunderstandings occur & more hate & pain is thrown my way 🙁 I don’t have the answers but I pray The Lord will lead me through this painful lonely time in my walk. Faith

    1. Faith, I am so sorry to hear of your difficult situation. I pray that God will give you the strength you need to persevere. I also pray that He will guide you and give you wisdom as you seek Him. If there is one thing I have learned through life’s struggles, it’s that we never face them alone. He is a God of restoration, and He keeps His promises. If you trust Him with your circumstances I am more than confident that He will be faithful. I say this because of what I read in His Word as well as what He has shown me to be true in my own life. When we surrender our weaknesses to God, He will be faithful to provide His strength.

      In Christ,
      Alyssa

  8. I adore this line: “A funny thing happened when I finally let go of my reputation – God intervened.”

    Oh, how true it is! I have been there. We are all works in progress, and I am grateful for a God who finds me right where I am. Thank you for these beautiful words! #livefreeThursday

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