Categories
Christianity

A Question Of Identity

Figuring out who we are and who we’re called to be is a lifelong endeavour. The paths we take on this journey are often determined by factors that we’re not always conscious of.

Some of these factors are pain, doubt and fear.

As Christians, it goes without saying that the source of our identity is God. He should be the One guiding us through our journey of life.

But what version of God have we embraced and how does it affect how we see ourselves?

Is our God the sum of what we know to be true about Him and the work He continually does in us and through us?

Or is He the sum of what our pain, doubts and fears have made Him out to be?

We can all point to fundamental moments or seasons of our lives that shaped the course of our trajectory from that moment on. But it’s one thing to acknowledge the role that a significant experience (whether positive, negative, or both) has played in shaping your life. It’s entirely another to build your life on the foundation of that experience.

It’s the difference between setting up camp on the way to your destination long before you arrive, and proceeding on to your destination until you get there.

We can allow our experiences to be tools in the hands of our Maker that He works for our good. Or we can take them into our own hands and use them to define ourselves.

So much of the latter is happening. Perhaps because life has a way of undressing us…leaving us naked and vulnerable for the world to see. In our mad rush to make sense of things and restore some sense of dignity to ourselves, we end up clothing ourselves with the very thing that undressed us in the first place.

All around I see individuals, movements, ministries, etc whose very existence is driven by pain, anger and tragedy.

It sounds like it could be a redemptive thing except lemons will never bear apples. Seeds of pain can never birth fruits of peace. Seeds of disappointment and sorrow can never birth fruits of contentment and joy. Seeds of anger can never birth the fruit of peace. At best, they can serve as catalysts to get us on the right path. At worst, they only result in a multiplication of themselves under the guise of being a testament of survival.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

    the days that were formed for me,

    when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:16 ESV

Every day – every single day – of our life on earth has been intentionally mapped out by God. We were always meant to be more than one experience, one high, one low, one phenomenal success, one devastating tragedy.

Our lives are meant to be centred on our Creator; not merely our experiences as created beings. Only divine healing can birth testimonies centred on the Healer and not the disease and the diseased.

God cannot use us to redeem that which we have yet to overcome. If Christ is not at the centre of all we are and all we do, there are plenty of idols waiting to take His place. Our experiences – good and bad – are some of the most underestimated idols we worship…and in the process, lead others to the very same idolatry.  

While we may be able to work people up to a frenzy with these idols, and build a name for ourselves in the process, all we will have done is build a house on sinking sand. It’s only a matter of time before just the right wind of life brings it all crashing to the ground.

We need to think long and hard about what we’re consuming as Christians even from fellow Christians and the Christian world. I always say the simplest test to whether something is good for you is this – is it bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?

Or does it just tickle your flesh and make you feel justified about holding onto the fruit of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like?

For the record, orgies don’t have to be about sex. There are plenty of orgies of jealousy, hatred, anger, selfishness, etc happening online each day that we partake of without second thought.

We need to think long and hard about what houses we’re building as Christians. Are they monuments to our survival from what we (secretly) think God should have saved us from? Are they Christian-shaped idols that point people to us and our ability to overcome relegating God to be the sidekick to our stories?

Or are we in service to THE house of the living God? The One who takes every dart the enemy meant for our downfall and uses it to propel us to our destinies. The One who gives every triumph and every tragedy the right perspective and position in our lives.

Our experiences devoid of God’s mark reduce us to gods who can only give the illusion of salvation. But when we place our very existence in the hands of our Maker, there’s no limit to redemption His presence and power in our lives can bring about.

May everything we are, and everything we do, point the world to Jesus. Because it is Him, and only Him, who is THE way, THE truth, and THE life that the world desperately needs.

Categories
Christianity

The Woman You Are

This is an ode to the woman you are.

The woman you are is stunning. She is beauty personified. Her expression of beauty and mine are not at war with one another. The existence of one doesn’t diminish the value of the other. There isn’t just one crown that we must fight over for the right to wear. Not when our Father gave us both crowns uniquely designed for us.

The woman you are is brave. She shows up. Every day. When it’s all good. When it gets hard. She shows up for her life. It may not seem like it counts for much but to live when so many merely exist is something worth celebrating.

The woman you are is worth loving. She is worth the time and effort to get to know her and learn how to be with her. Learn how to be her.

The woman you are is strong. She has survived far more than she ever thought she could and come much farther than she ever imagined possible. Even on days when she feels anything but strong, she puts one foot in front of the other and makes it to the next day. And the next. And the next.

The woman you are is resilient. She’s here today, after all. In the face of life’s challenges and obstacles she finds a way to survive when she needs to and thrive in the most unexpected ways.

The woman you are is not a threat to the woman I am. She is an invaluable part of the big picture of who God is. Without her, my understanding of Him is incomplete. My understanding of woman, is incomplete.

The woman you are is defined by the heart of God. Not a moment in time. Whether that moment is the best in your highlight reel and holds the biggest trophy in your memory cabinet. Or the worst experience you’d wish out of existence if you could. She is far more than either one and all the ordinary, everyday that exists in between these moments.

The woman you are is not a mistake. She is not too much of one thing and not enough of another. She isn’t the one God forgot or the one He didn’t have time for. His love and dedication to her are unwavering and unmatched.

The woman you are matters. As she is. As she is meant to be. Her worth was established in God’s heart long before her first cry was ever heard on this earth. It cannot be diminished by anything in this world unless you allow it. Don’t allow it.

The woman you are is everything God has said of you. Everything she is may not be everything you are right this very moment. But she is who you are becoming every single day in His presence.

So give her permission to become.

Cherish the mundane that serve as the brush strokes to create the masterpiece that she is.

Love her for all she is and all she’s not.

Because the woman you are deserves this, and so much more.