Have you ever thought about your friends and considered the multiple personalities that are found in each one? I did this week when we studied our identity and how in Christ we live because of our faith- that through salvation we also have received sonship and the privilege of being a son or daughter of the one true king! That is where our sole identity is found. I can not tell you how many times I have heard “find yourself” “self-made” “create yourself”…. and many other individualistic, independent minded phrases such as these in our culture. I’ve always felt uneasy when I heard them but I couldn’t peg why exactly. This week I realized it is because we were never made to make ourselves anything. When the Creator of the universe made us He made us for his specific purposes when we chose to sin instead the author of salvation made the way for a restored relationship in Jesus. The semblance here is that God initiated, He thought up and created and if we think we can think up and create ourselves on our own we are deceived. I have fallen into this trap and it led me toward self-destruction and hopelessness. In Jesus we find assurance of salvation and hope for eternity. While we definitely can have new ideas, thoughts and endeavors God reigns over all and is responsible as the giver of all these good things. After all He designed our minds to create, dream up, have vision but they function when they are surrendered to Him first.
After Amy gave her talk on identity we divided up and each of us had an appointment with two leaders who prayed to ask God what our original design was- meaning who God created us to be and the uniqueness of our being. This was especially exciting for me because I’ve always wondered who I was at the core so I could stop wandering trying to discover who I am. Some of the characteristics were surprising to me but I am learning to accept them whole-heartedly even though I may not see them represented now and thank God for giving them to me. I asked the Lord after receiving them what they all meant and I am still on a journey to figure that out but it’s exciting. It’s like the difference between searching for buried treasure just because you know it’s somewhere and then actually having a map to it’s location. I am thankful to God that this is how He designed me to be. The main thing that stuck out to me that day was how God said that I viewed Him. I ad heard a quote by A.W. Tozer that how we view God is the most important thing about us and by what God said my perception was very skewed. He asked me in a sorrowful, perplexed tone, “daughter, why don’t you love me?” This struck me to the core as He continued to reveal to me that I was not fellowshipping with Him as He created me to because of my performance-based mentality. Due to life experiences with adults and authorities I had developed a strong desire to please people and to be acceptable in their sight and i had projected that on my Heavenly Father. I have always thought I needed to clean myself off before coming into His presence so that He would accept me but here in lies the problem. I was living as if I could earn God’s approval by my merit alone and if not He would be displeased. I have been delusional all my life and this very belief is what has hindered me from intimacy with my daddy. He quickly assured me that He wants to be my friend. I remembered back to when our last speaker, Donna asked us which character of God was the hardest for us to grasp and I never imagined it was friend. I left that room so excited to begin a friendship with God. He revealed to me later how much he loved me even in my junk. God showed me a picture of me shackled in chains in a dungeon. He was posting up signs around the forest: Lost and wanted- rare gem, worth is priceless. The next scene He finds me and wins me over by breaking the shackles that bound me and picking me up, embracing me in a hug. I was taken back in wonder at this love displayed for me. As the week went on I was reading a book, The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney and it clicked like reading a favorite old book that you forgot the ending to. it became new and fresh in my mind that Jesus won me long ago on the cross I just hadn’t realized how great His love was and what it means for me. He died so that I could live in freedom from the shackles of sin and that i may have a personal, deep relationship with God. When I try and clean myself up before coming to Him I am saying that I do not need you, Jesus because I can do this on my own. Oh I never want to try and save myself again. It’s already an impossible endeavor before I start. I surrendered myself in a new way to God this week as I realized His indescribable unfathomable love for me. I stand in awe of what He did so that He could win me! I serve a personal, winsome, affectionate, tender, compassionate, intentional God who has favored me and looked on me with high regard.