You Are More Than You’ve Been Told
Read a sample from Hosanna Wong’s new book
Best-selling author, international speaker and spoken word artist, Hosanna Wong joined Family Life Radio’s Morning Show in a conversation about her new book, You Are More than You’ve Been Told. We’re sharing a sample of the book here with you and you can watch the ONDEMAND conversation here.
Sample from Hosanna’s new book:
Bernal Heights is where I first felt unloved, unworthy, and broken.
The summer before my freshman year of college, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was in a school seven hours away, getting a haircut in between classes on a Wednesday, when I got the call to fly home. While I was in the air, flying to be with my dad, he took his last breath in my childhood home in the Portola District at the bottom of the other side of Bernal Heights Hill.
I felt abandoned, lost, and numb.
If I were to drive with you now through the streets of San Francisco, to all the districts surrounding the Hill, I could show you these places in person—the school I went to where teachers told me I would never amount to anything. The brick steps where right in front of me I watched my dad get beat up, his face covered in blood. The sidewalk where I saw my mom get assaulted, tossed into the street, and stolen from. The neighborhoods where I got drunk with all my friends and found my value in men to try to numb my childhood pains.
I have always hated this place.
I never wanted to come back here.
My guess is that you also have memories of places that represent something painful in your life. A specific spot in the world where someone said something, did something, or took something, and it stole a piece of you. A place where you lost something, and it made you feel like you also lost a part of yourself.
The room where they said those words to you that you will never forget.
The house that started to no longer feel like a home.
The place you were sitting when you realized you weren’t invited.
The hospital room where hope was sucked out of the air.
The table you were having a meal at when you realized the people you loved and looked up to were not who you thought they were.
The chair you were sitting in when you realized your life wouldn’t be what you thought it would be.
The place that reminds you of the fire, the flood, or the friends who you thought would stay, but didn’t.
For good or for bad, pivotal moments in these places have told us stories about who we are, and who we are not.
Bernal Heights was that place for me.
And here’s what I know now that I didn’t know then: what we think about ourselves determines how we live.
When we feel that we are unworthy, we start living like we are.
When we feel that we are failures, we start living like we are.
When we feel as though we are unimportant, we start living like we are.
Are we living the fullest lives we possibly can, or are we believing the wrong things and living out the wrong story?
I can see now how throughout my life I’ve allowed the stories I was told at a young age to dictate how I see myself, treat myself, and treat others.
I can see how feeling like I’m not good enough has caused me to change who I am, or pretend to be someone else in order to fit in.
I can see how feeling like no one would understand me has caused me to isolate myself and not engage in social settings.
I can see how feeling too different from other people has caused me to count myself out in order to protect myself from rejection or feelings of failure.
I can see how feeling like a victim has caused me not to hope, dream, or be courageous, in fear that nothing will ever work out for me.
The stories we believe shape more than who we are; they shape how we live.
Many of us have a Bernal Heights in our lives. Maybe it’s not a district. Maybe it’s the home we were neglected in. The school we were bullied in. Relationships we’ve been rejected in. The family that has been broken and painful to be in. Or maybe it’s the expectations, pressures, and pace of today’s world that seems impossible to keep up with.
Perhaps you’ve been told—by people, by culture, or by your own thoughts—that you’re not enough, not doing enough, or not as important as other people. Perhaps you feel as though your life has no purpose, you can never be set free from the pains of your past, or that you’ll always be stuck in a cycle of just not making the mark.
I want to tell you what I wish someone would have told me years ago. You are more than you’ve been told.
The words people have said to you do not have the authority to define you.
The things that didn’t go the way you hoped will not be the end of you.
The places and people who have hurt you and held you back do not have the power to roadblock what God wants to do in and through your life.
When you know who you are, it changes how you live, and you can start to live out the right story.
When you know who you are, it changes how you live.
Hosanna Wong is an international speaker, best-selling author and spoken word artist helping everyday people know Jesus for real. Widely known for her spoken word piece, “I Have a New Name,” Hosanna preaches and performs in churches, conferences, prisons and other events around the world, reaching across various denominations, backgrounds and cultures. Learn more at https://www.hosannawong.com/.
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