My most intense experience with this was a very public one.
In the last four years I've done a lot of prayer leading at live worship events. As a prayer leader it was my job to stand on stage with a microphone and lead the room in intercession. In those early days I was very nervous and my mind would race back and forth about how I looked and how I was perceived, did people like me and all other manifestations of fear of man and pride.
Strategy for Combating Fear
The strategy I came up with was to look at one phrase from Song of Solomon whenever I wasn't praying another passage on the mic, "Behold you are fair" (Song 4:1 Jesus speaking to me). Realizing that my fear was all related to my identity, I only wanted to hear from God what He had to say about me. I remember intensely staring at the words and writing them over and over on my notebook. I must have looked like a very organized prayer leader jotting those notes, in fact I was a wreck... and then it happened!
All of a sudden I felt the verse I was writing. I realized that right there in that place, I was spotless, pure, radiant and white as snow in the Lord's eyes! Now I felt His words wash over me and clothe me in my identity, "Behold Tom, you are fair." Fear was broken off of me, confidence started to well up in me and I knew only one response to say back to God...
Swallow Those Words
Here was my moment, filled with faith and love for this Way Too Kind God, I had something to say. I lifted my closed eyes to heaven and whispered, "Praise You." But I didn't stop there, my mouth kept moving seemingly on it's own with the result, "Praise You are fair." It was as if God hijacked my sentence and pushed it back to me. I started to understand that my desire and ability to praise Him had nothin' on His desire and ability to tell me how He felt about me. And He did it again and again! I would mouth the words over and over, "Praise You are fair, Praise You are fair"
Clothed In Bible
The more I would repeat the phrase, the more pleasure I felt. I began to get addicted to saying it! As I 'ministered this phrase' before the Lord I got the sense that I was being clothed with this verse, it was becoming who I was rather than what I understood.
In 2Cor 5 Paul writes, "in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed from heaven." First century believers walked this way while they were on the earth, meditating on God's desire to clothe them with beauty and glory. Yearning to be fully who they were created to be.
God deposit truth deep inside my heart, I want to know what you think about me. Let me perceive the loving gaze that I'm already standing in. Tell me who I am. Amen.