Tag Archives: identity

I Am Who He Says I Am

This is a line from one of my favorite songs: I Am No Victim by Kristene Dimarco. It’s playing and I love the crescendo that builds into “I am who He says I am; He is who he says He is. I’m defined by all his promises, shaped by every word He says…”He is my father, I do not wonder if His plans for me are good, if He’ll come through like He should–He is provision…”

The words are wonderful and powerful. And so was this morning. The Bible study was great, we had a sweet and powerful prayer over my friend with cancer. The service was great, and I was called out to talk on the phone with a suicidal man. It seemed to help him.

Afterwards in a quiet moment God said, “Why do you think you don’t love people?”

I thought for a second and said, “I don’t know.” And I realized I actually don’t know. “I just feel it.”

He said, “Could it be because you don’t think you have it? Have you been listening to lies from the dark side? Maybe because you don’t love yourself enough?”

Whoa! When God says that to you, it stops you cold. How many times have I said that to people!

I just know I can be impatient. I don’t seem to have the softness and sweetness most people naturally have with each other. It put me to wondering and He said “Maybe it is just a couple of people that have been hard to love.”

“Wow, Ruach!” (That’s the one who brings Jesus to us–the Holy Spirit.) He can teach you more in a moment than you can learn in hours and years.

Don’t you just love that God knows you better than you know yourself! Who else could say that to you and you would hear it as truth and healing?

All I can say to you is don’t wait until you are as old as I am to ask God if the things you think about you are true! How crippling! And you may not even think to check them out! But stay close and maybe He’ll catch you in a quiet moment in between and ask you, “Do you really believe that?” He is so good!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Amazing Robe–how sweet the Grace

 

I wrote this 5 years ago. Thought of it the other day, and found it. Love it.

Imagine a church as a storefront with a huge window that boasts the most beautiful, amazing piece of clothing that was ever seen.

It’s flowing like a robe, but advertised as the one piece of clothing you will ever need. It fits every one who puts it on perfectly from head to toe. It moves with you, never impedes movement, never in your way, breathes, is always perfect for the climate you’re in–cool in summer, warm in winter, and more cozy and comfortable than your old faded cotton pajamas.

And the look of it–no one can describe it. But no one ever gets tired of looking at it. It looks soft and inviting, yet regal and stately. It shimmers and sparkles but is never gaudy or obtrusive, never shouts look at me! It always looks appropriate, never dowdy, and never embarrassing.

When you’re wearing it, people look at you; you see in their eyes You look terrific! They smile and say, “Love that outfit, you look so good in it.” as though you’ve never worn it before. EVERY time! In fact they look at you again and again as though they just can’t look at you enough. When they invite you anywhere, they say “Wear that robe thing.” They never get tired of seeing it.

People ask, “Where did you get that?”

And you always answer, “A friend gave it to me.”

“Really?” They ask. “How could I get one?”

“You just have to ask,” you say. “Just have to be his friend.”

“But can I buy one?”

“No,” you say.”He doesn’t sell them.”

“But surely for the right price…” they counter.

“They aren’t for sale.”

“Not even for a million dollars for one robe?”

“Not even a billion for one robe.”

They look at you like you’re crazy. So you say, “They are priceless. There isn’t enough money in the world to buy one.”

“But they’re a gift?” they are almost sarcastic now.

“Right” you respond.

“And I can get one? Is this guy like impossible to like or something, that he bribes people with these clothes?”

“No, he is actually the nicest, most caring, most helpful, most respectful, most encouraging friend I’ve ever had.”

“Ok, then what’s the catch? Nobody gives something of value for nothing.”

“I already told you, you have to let him be your friend, let him love you.”

“Ah, so that’s it. He wants to control you. Buy you with that robe, so he can own you and do whatever he wants with you or to you. Your his love slave.”

“No, it’s not like that. He really just wants you to be your best self. As I said, he wants to be your best friend. He wants to love you into your truest self. That’s why he gives you the robe. It makes you look your best, feel your best, do your best. It covers all the things you don’t like about you, all the scars you have. It makes you beautiful because he wants you beautiful and happy and free, strong and able to love.”

“Wow!” they say, heads shaking. “Wow! Tell me more about your friend.”

Is this overstating the graciousness of God? I don’t think so. This is how I see it–how I see Him and His gift of identity.

I haven’t fully experienced it yet, but I “get” more and more of Him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Love is Helping Build Identity

I love the quote by William James that says, If the young knew how soon they will become walking bundles of habits, they would take more care to make good choices while in the plastic state. That isn’t verbatim, but it’s close. (Have you seen the commercial of the 14-year-old boy vaping and saying “It’s just what I do”?)

James goes on to say one of the best things parents can do for children is help them set good habits, so they are free to be creative, not having to waste energy on making decisions about getting enough sleep, exercising, eating good food, brushing their teeth, washing their hands and faces, manners, not vaping etc. It makes life much easier, happier, and more creative. And that means confidence.

But this is important: helping your kids is not doing it for them! Or in the other ditch, assuming they will learn what they need. Love is helping them gain skills to build a foundation, a confident identity.

I had a client years ago who was helping her daughter with her homework–mostly doing it for her. When I learned how much she was really doing I confronted her about what she was doing to the child. “You aren’t really helping her, you are crippling her. She isn’t learning what she should be learning and she isn’t building confidence. Unless you want her handicapped for the rest of her life, you need to apologize that you didn’t realize what you were doing to her and stop. She’ll whine and plead for awhile and then she will adjust.”

The mother immediately took my suggestion and implemented it. A year later, the daughter was doing much better. And two years later was thriving and three years later excelling. The mother is grateful; the daughter, now a woman, is even more grateful for her confidence and independence.

We love our children and want to make life easy for them, and that is natural, but helping is such a tricky arena. A healthy two-year old says, “I do it by self!” and hopefully we let them try with guidance. We are teaching them to harness their energy, and gain skill. This is critical. They all get bumps and bruises.

Later on we will teach them to choose. Good choices make a good life. People who haven’t developed the skills for making good choices have difficulty. But we don’t start by letting them choose what they eat or if they wear a jacket when it’s 50 degrees. We make decisions their brains aren’t prepared to make.

My daughter now has her first teenage son who has his first girlfriend. Now there’s a delicate situation for parenting. She’s doing a lot of communicating–listening and sharing. There are few life skills that are more life-determining than learning how to treat the opposite sex, and the choices you make while dating. She has been aware for years that what they see at home, and her relationship with them sets the tone for how they treat girls and the girl they will choose to marry.

Writing the Bible has been very revealing about the importance of identity and foundations. Now finishing Joshua, I can feel the angst he feels in dying and leaving these people, fearing they still aren’t ready to make good decisions when he is gone. Will they follow Adonai? It takes more than two generations to overcome the effects of Egyptian slavery. He would feel so much better if he knew they would follow God’s plan to take out all the inhabitants in their country. But they take the easy way, and it takes many of them out.

Adonai tells them He will fight for them but He doesn’t make them take their land. He lets them choose. They evidently rationalize that mercy is better. But it didn’t prove better for them. Most lost their identity as His people–and His protection. So sad.

God knows what we need. He wants the best for us. Doesn’t want us to miss beingĀ  our true selves. That’s what it means to be jealous for us. Too bad we don’t have the confidence to listen.

While proof reading this, I heard a great quote on KLOVE, “Be weird, be random, be who you are, because you never know who would love the person you are hiding.” C.S. Lewis

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized