There have been so many times in my life when things have gone completely as planned: Perfect outfit, tamed curls, 30 minutes of Bible Study time BEFORE I even started my day! Money in the bank, new shoes on my feet, success... success ... success!
But to be honest, and more than I care to admit, I don't have many days like that. Most of my year looks more like this instead:
Hurt feelings because someone misunderstood me, loneliness due to friends and family who live far away, unsure if my husband truly believes I'm as beautiful as he says I am, frustration because I thought I'd be in a different place at this point in my life, frizzy hair on top of it all and crying babies who want milk or Elmo or both while I'm desperately trying to figure out if the leftover casserole is still edible ....
Life. It's not always pretty. It's not always predictable or controllable or plannable ... that's not a word, but you get it.
I used to think that keeping myself together was a reflection of who I was or who I needed to be, but I am in a season of life where I am constantly being reminded that my identity is not subject to my season. I am who I am no matter where I am or what I'm facing or even what I am lacking. I am who I am because I am a child of God.
So many of the problems that plague us as women begin with uncertainty of our identity.
We sometimes tend to overlook who we are as chosen, purposed, and beautiful children of God by making the mistake of thinking of ourselves through the broken lens of circumstance — struggles, unmet dreams, feelings of discontentment, frustrations in our jobs, our relationship status (or lack) or our social circles. We may even see ourselves almost exclusively through our greatest temptation, regret or distress.
Goodness... I have so many of those. You do, too. But they don't define us. Our GOD defines us and this is what His word declares over us:
1. You are not who you were.
One of the biggest lies that we tend to believe is that we will always be imprisoned by our past. This simply isn't true. It doesn't matter what your family has said about you. It doesn't matter how much your current issues remind you of the person you used to be.
"If anyone be in Christ they are a new person. Old things have passed away. Behold, the new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17
If you are in Christ, you are not who you were. That person is no more. That sin is no more. The love of Christ has made you new and set you free to become all that God intended for you. No one can alter that reality, not even your own doubts. It's time to believe that you are who God says you are regardless of what you may hear or even feel about yourself!
2. You are not what you feel.
Mistakes, Sin, Guilt, Shame ... it all sucks. Why? Because it's the reality of our human condition that forces us to admit that we are not perfect. When we fall into temptation of any sort, it can be difficult to even look ourselves in the eye, let alone lift up our hearts and hands to a holy God. We feel unworthy. We feel dirty and distant and disqualified. But we aren't.
"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest" - Matthew 11: 28
The enemy of our souls shakes our faith with lies that we are not worthy enough to call on God when we fail or fall. The lies are bad enough but the danger is in believing those lies and affirming them over ourselves. Listen, Jesus says, 'Come." Come while you are feeling unworthy. Come while you are carrying heavy burdens. Come while you are tired and frustrated and defeated and weak and living in disbelief. Come while you are doubting and angry and confused and lost. COME!
It doesn't matter how you feel because God's love is greater than our feelings. His love is greater than our sense of unworthy-ness. He who is worthy says COME! Come as you are! Come with your brokenness, your scars and your uncertainties. Come to Jesus weather you feel as if you deserve to or not because we have that open invitation from the One who knows our hearts and our feelings far better and deeper than we ever could.
3. You are not where you fall.
"When I stop ____________, I can finally get right with God."
Fill in the blank.
Is it smoking weed or sleeping around? Is it lying or cheating or cursing or drinking? What about gossiping or jealousy? Each of us fail and fall at something. Your issues are different than mine and my temptations won't look the same as yours. But we've all fallen short of the glory of God throughout our lives (Romans 3:23).
The mistake is when we feel like our falling needs to be perfected by our efforts. So we try to stop and quit and omit the things we feel are keeping us from God, only to find ourselves going around in circles with false hopes of "better" and flashes of self righteousness which eventually fades as all falling stars do.
Listen, you cannot fix yourself. I can't say that enough. You cannot perfect yourself. You can try and fast and purge and cut everything you think you need to in order to "Get Right" with God, but believe me, there will always be another issue, another sin, another mistake or another hindrance. We cannot rid ourselves of sin because we live in a world that is sinful. So when we try and strive to clean up ourselves, we are actually denying Christ the opportunity to begin His work of perfection within us.
See that's why Jesus came: to rescue us from our sin. If we could do it on our own - if we could perfect ourselves in our own efforts- then God would have never needed to send Jesus in the first place. If we could keep ourselves from messing up, then we would never have messed up in the first place. But we do mess up- all the time. "ALL HAVE SINNED" the Bible says in Romans 3:23. No one is excluded and no one is immune. But that's not where our story has to end.
Yes, we fall, but Christ's love will resurrect our hearts and place us in right standing with God. It's not our efforts that please God. It's only through Jesus that we become right with God. So though we fall, we are not failures.
So Who Are You, Really?
Once we begin to believe that we are loved, new creations, that we can come to Jesus no matter what and that we don't have to "fix" ourselves first, then we can begin to experience the mercy and grace of our Lord which leads us into abundant and victorious living! What Christ does in the world today, he does through people like you, regardless of who you once were, how weak you may feel, and where you’re tempted to fall. It's all because of Jesus and it's not based on what we've done or what others say about us.
You are loved. (Romans 5:8)
You are cherished. (Zephaniah 3:17)
You are victorious. (Romans 8:37)
You are equipped.(Ephesians 2:10)
You have a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
You are beautiful. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
Lies are sometimes easy to believe, but the truth is unwavering and it will set your heart free. Celebrate who you are and reject who you are not and allow the love of God to unfold in your heart and reshape your perceptions of your identity, one truth at a time!
Hey girl! If you're looking for more encouragement and topics related to this post, I want to suggest you check out my book Beyond Being Good: Seeking Christ's Perfection for Our Imperfect Hearts. Click HERE to learn more and be sure to share this post!