Who You Are…

Swallowtail Butterfly

(FreeImages.com/Daniel Eurenius)

On numerous occasions, I find myself either reminding another sweet “sister” or “brother” in Christ or myself the truth of who we are.  Why do we need to be so constantly reminded of this?

Most of us can recite to one another the truth of who we are (who we really are), but when it comes to believing it and thus living it, that’s an entirely different story.

Perhaps to understand why this is such a constant battle — knowing who we truly are — we need to understand why this is so important.

It’s simply this: what you believe about yourself will ultimately influence the person you will live out or be.  Let me say that again:

What you believe about yourself will ultimately determine the person you are living as and the person you will become.

If you are constantly feeding your mind with the lies — that you are worthless, ugly, stupid, fearful, rejected, unloved, unwanted, inferior, etc…, you will self-fulfill those very lies.  You will unknowingly self-initiate the very things you believe about yourself.

You may have experienced rejection in the past, but instead of healing and knowing that what you experienced is not the truth of who you are, you will continue to live rejection.  Instead of not allowing the opinions and lies of others to “roll off” you, you will “take them in.”  As a dear friend said, “You’ll make a pet of them.”

Perhaps, this is one of the biggest reasons why there is a constant attack on our “identity” — who we are.  It’s because we can waste a lot of our life living from the wrong identity instead of living in the freedom of who we were created to be.

Some of us live from a more subtle identity of lies.  We are living from the “good” identities.  We think our worth is based on how “godly,” spiritual, and kind we are.  We think our worth is performance-based.  We try to impress everyone around us with how wise, faith-filled, serving we are.  We can so easily fool ourselves into thinking the motives are all good because we are doing good things — Bible-approved things.  Plus, we receive affirmation and praise from others.  Oh how subtle the deception can be!

Godliness though is not something we do for God.  It’s something we do from God.  Godliness is us submitting ourselves to the sovereignty of God’s grace and power at work in our lives.  It is His initiation and our surrendered response.

Galatians 5:4

You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Some of us are deriving our sense of worth from our beauty, our independence, our accomplishments, our intelligence, our possessions, and our education.

The truth is: your worth has never been about what you do — how “profitable” you are to the world or even more to God. 

Your worth is about Whose you are!

It’s not about your earthly parents — what they are or aren’t.  It’s not about how horrible or not so horrible they were.

Some of you are hurting right now because of the painful things people — even people you respect or love — have said about you or to you.  Perhaps, they were speaking from their own fears, their own experiences, and their own deception.  Whatever the case, these wounds are real.  (In my next blog post, “Offenses,” I plan to write more about what to do with those wounds.)

The first thing you need to understand is that God alone creates reality.  He is truth.  The opinions of others don’t create reality.  There may be truth they have gained from God’s world, laws, and Word, but this doesn’t mean everything they say or think is truth.

So often we base our own sense of worth and identity upon the opinions of others.  The truth is they have no power over you — unless you give it to them by believing what they say or think about you.

Remember who you are!

Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you.

You were created for a purpose by a loving and good God.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Perhaps, you have never accepted God’s gift of salvation for you.  Here is a fairly familiar verse:

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

He loved you that much!  He desires your presence, your fellowship, and a relationship with you because He loves YOU!

Remember…

You were created for a purpose with inherent worth because you are infinitely loved by an all-loving, all-powerful, and all-wise God!

Remind Me Of Who (Whose) I Am

(Picture taken by Carrie Chiurato.)

I know I am a child of God.  I know who I am.  I know Whose I am.  Sometimes though, I need to be reminded.  Some days, I need the truth breathed into my soul.

Life has a way of happening.  The little people in my life have a way of doing kid things.  My patience has a way of wearing thin.

It’s so hard to walk in the truth of who or rather Whose we are when we are so aware of what we’ve been and of what others think we are.

It’s so easy to hear the lies of the enemy.  To hear them in the accusing voices, lies, and attitudes of others.  To hear them in our own souls, when we begin to believe that our worth is dependent upon what others think of us.  It’s so easy to allow our past, our present circumstances, and other people to define us.

I have lived those dark moments.  I have struggled with how to love the unloving and unlovely.  I have struggled with how to live victoriously when my circumstances are full of broken people, wounded souls, and my own sinfulness.  I have struggled to believe when my present circumstances seem anything but changed or hopeful.

I love what Lysa TerKeurst said in the following: “…sometimes disappointments can become His appointments.”

So what do we do, when circumstances and people are anything but hopeful?  James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”  

I love what Jason Gray says in his song Remind Me Of Who I Am:

JASON GRAY LYRICS

“Remind Me Who I Am”

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don’t wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can’t remember what grace is.Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You.When my heart is like a stone,
And I’m running far from home,
Remind me who I am.
When I can’t receive Your love,
Afraid I’ll never be enough,
Remind me who I am.
If I’m Your beloved,
Can You help me believe it.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, whoa.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You.
That I belong to You.
To You.

I’m the one you love,
I’m the one you love,
That will be enough,
I’m the one you love.

Tell me once again who I am to You.
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You, oh.

Tell me once again who I am to You.
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You.

Life has a way of getting messy in more ways than one.  This is when grace makes the impossible possible.  This is when grace transforms the messy mundane into the glory of the Gospel lived out in our daily lives.

So what do we do when we feel encumbered with the cares and hurts and sin of this life?
  • We turn to Jesus. 
  • We run to Jesus. 
  • We “bury our heads in His lap” and rest in Him. 
  • We repent and confess and accept His forgiveness. 
  • We believe the truth of what He says about us — not what our past, other people, and our present circumstances say we are. 
  • We let patience have its perfect work by resting in His goodness, His faithfulness, and His truth.
  • We invite His Presence into our lives by communing with Him in prayer.
  • We fill our minds with the hope and truth found in His Word.
  • We hand our cares and hurts to Him and let Him take care of our reputations and of other people.

Dear sister or brother in the Lord, hang in there.  Don’t lose sight of Whose you are because that is who you are!  Who you are has never been dependent upon yourself.  It is dependent upon Whose you are.

Ephesians 5:8

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit[a] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Ephesians 5:1

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Finding “Freedom” (Guest Visit From A Good Friend)

Added in support of the flickr-ites in the UAE currently being blocked from flickr by their phone company.

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=25416&searchId=d5aa1729c8c253e5d917a5264855eab8&npos=76)

With permission, I wanted to share a powerful testimony from a good friend.  This is her story:

When I was 13 years old, I was tormented at school. Bullying is what they call it now; but in the late 80’s, it wasn’t even noticed.

I rode the bus 45 minutes to and from school, and from the moment I stepped on that bus, the boys would start barking at me. Calling me a dog, hitting me, flicking rubber bands at me…and hitting my eye. Everyday I was tormented with these “mean” boys on the bus.

I guess if you looked at it from their perspective, I was an easy target. Short, curly hair (“brillo” they called me), big glasses, crooked teeth, and the most “uncool” wardrobe anyone at school had. I was socially a mess.

The entire 7th grade year went this way. I felt so rejected. ugly. unworthy. Fast forward into the high school years, and I finally figured how to fix my hair, got contacts, and some better clothes. I stopped getting teased. I started getting dates. But, inside I never felt good enough. I always felt like everyone around me was staring, laughing and judging me.

When a boy asked me out I always said yes, because I was in TOTAL shock those boys even noticed me. Granted….these weren’t boys from the Varsity team or even what was considered “good-looking,” but I was delighted to have a boy LIKE ME! Sooooo….fast forward into my adulthood.

Figured out how to “fit” in. I did all the “right’ things….hair, makeup, fashionable clothes. Worked hard for a great career of Interior Design. Was doing OK in the eyes of the world. But I could never get rid of this horrible feeling that I never, ever…EVER would fit in.

Compliments were painful; yet, I desired them like I need air. Even though I was a Christian, I wasn’t really walking Freedom. I always (and I mean ALWAYS) felt like someone was laughing at me. Pointing me out to judge. I was overly-sensitive. I was a wounded adult who still felt that no matter what she looked like or what she accomplished she. wasn’t. good. enough. I was mentally stuck…at 13. I’m 39 now, 40 in a few weeks.

Because of our MAGNIFICENT Lord, I do have freedom now!

At Encounter [a conference], I asked [a couple from the prayer team] to pray for me. I felt the Lord pressing me to dump this junk of self-hatred and to walk with Him in freedom.

Sobbing, I recalled specific stories to [a couple from the prayer team]. Pain rushed in like a tornado filling my heart with such angst that I cried from the depths of my soul. I wanted healing so badly, and my spiritual ears and heart were open. And then I heard the Lord calling me: “Daughter, you are beautiful. Daughter, you are mine. Daughter, you are perfect in my sight, washed clean in my eyes!” Then He showed me a white dove flying away. It was beautiful. And as prayer was poured upon me the truth set in!!! I finally GOT IT! I finally understood what my Identity in Christ REALLY IS!

I left that safe huddle of prayer and felt full. Redeemed. And LOVED. I no longer looked around the room, wondering if people were making fun of me!

What freedom to live when you only care about what GOD thinks of you!!!! THAT. IS. TRUE. FREEDOM!  A week out from [the conference], and I still feel so complete. I go into stores now and could care less if anyone looks at me. I am the Lord’s little girl, and He loves me just the way I AM! Thanks for letting me share.

The Second Part Of My Testimony: The Second Most Incredible Experience Of My Life!

 Rose

(FreeImages.com/Marie Jeanne lliescu)

The first biggest event in my life happened when I was four years old.  (I share that part of the story on my blog, under the “About Me” section):

At the tender age of four, I was aware of the fact that I sinned every day and quite a bit.  I knew I was guilty.  I attended a Bible club and became convicted of my need for God’s forgiveness.  I was overjoyed that Jesus died so that I could be forgiven and not need to be entrapped in my sin and punished for it.  I remember the day that I got down on my knees and simply asked Jesus to make me His child and to forgive me for my sins.  Immediately, indescribable peace and joy flooded my heart.  It was like millions of tiny prisms of light were reflecting rainbows into my heart.  I jumped and ran through the house, telling my family, “I’m saved!  I’m saved!”    My life was never the same after that.

The second biggest event in my life happened April 24-25, 2015. Here’s the story:

My husband and I attended a conference at my sister’s church that weekend.  For a couple of years proceeding my attending this conference, my sister kept trying to prompt me that I was not walking in my identity (as my Heavenly Father’s daughter).

I had accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation at age four, as I previously shared.  I thought since I knew it all in my head (the right words) and could say it (could say that I was His daughter) to everyone, that I believed it. I was blind though to what it meant to truly walk in my identity.

You can always know what you believe by seeing how you live.  What you live is what you believe.

[Note: When I speak of “God showing” me something, I am not speaking of some mystical vision or out-of-body experience like John and Daniel speak of in Scripture.  I am a visual learner, and I think in terms of pictures.  God will often give me a picture in my mind of something to help me understand the analogy or truth He is trying to communicate to me.  I also though always pray about each “mental picture” I get and ask the Lord to purify my mind and imagination because I don’t want to imagine something that is not of God. I then always take what I believe God is showing me, and I compare it with truth in Scripture.  Is the idea or concept or analogy Scriptural in nature?  I hope this clarifies any concerns anyone might have.  Furthermore, I do not claim any special revelation.  The only claim I have is this: I am His daughter, redeemed by Him, saved by Him, and being “sanctified” by Him!  What a “claim” that is!]

I awoke at 4:50 a.m. that Saturday morning to God’s Holy Spirit literally pouring over me, speaking to me.  He showed me a picture of waves that were like His Holy Spirit just washing around a huge boulder in my life (representing a huge area in my life that needed spiritual “healing”) and carrying away the dirt, sludge, and moorings holding onto that boulder. I then saw (in my heart/mind ) Jesus standing next to the boulder and myself, and He asked, “[my name], the boulder’s going over, are you ready?” Oh, yes, Jesus!”

I had come to the conference, broken and bleeding. I saw myself as a bird with two broken wings. A recent difficult situation had occurred the two weeks proceeding the conference, and I was left wounded and bleeding. God though was using that situation to prepare me for the healing He desired for me and that I so desperately needed.

As I lay in bed that Saturday morning, God began to open my spiritual eyes, and I finally saw all my self-loathing, all my lack of acceptance, my feelings of inferiority.  I realized that I had seen myself as the dog under the table of the Master, trying to find just a scrap of the leftovers of His love and attention.

I couldn’t picture myself as anything other than at the back of the pack. I would picture Jesus riding in triumphantly for His return, but I was always at the end of the line.

I couldn’t envision my husband and I having any ministry. Since I saw myself as inferior and a “leftover”, I saw my husband as God’s leftovers as well because I was just not “special enough” to get the best. I saw my children as inferior. Everything that I touched, everything that was considered mine, I saw as inferior and unworthy.

I was unable to fully receive love.

I knew that this was the “boulder” so I began to cry out to God, as we drove the second day to the conference, “God, show me what You think of me.” I was begging and pleading (always thought I had to beg and plead to get His attention).

We arrived at the conference to the beautiful sounds of worship music.

I began to sing along to the words of Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave: “I delight myself in you…” All of a sudden as I was singing, it was as if Jesus was singing the words to me. His love was washing over me in waves, and I was trembling.

(I can’t even begin to explain the emotion of that moment.  All I can say is that God was opening my spiritual eyes and ears to experience something I had never experienced before.  He was answering the cry of my heart that I had prayed just minutes earlier.)

I then saw myself as if I was flying through the heavens with Jesus holding my hand. It was as if I saw a few seconds of Him creating the galaxies.  (I could see this as a picture or movie all enfolding in my heart.)   Jesus spoke to my heart, “[my name], you were in my heart before time began. I chose you before time began.”

Suddenly, I could no longer resist His Spirit. I turned to my husband and asked him to go with me to the back for prayer with my sister and her husband who were on the prayer team with this conference.

As I began to pray, I began to pour out everything God was showing me.  I suddenly saw that the night before when I had been able for the first time to lift my hands high to God (during a worship song), I was still the broken bird.  I was the broken bird, waving its broken wing and saying, “Jesus, look at me. Look at me. Is there anything that you can find in me to love?” As I kept praying, it all poured out, God showed me that I had a “wound” from the past that had left me feeling unprotected and a vow that I had made that I would protect those around me. I had become my own god, without realizing it.

God was speaking to me that I had to “step out of the boat” (of my old ways) to walk towards Him into “freedom.”   God revealed to me that He had protected me and that He would protect me because He is a good God.  He showed me that He was protecting me even when I didn’t realize it. He showed me that my husband had been given to me as a protector of my heart, even when it was broken and bleeding and not aware that it needed to be protected.

As I was pouring out my heart to God, I was picturing myself as the prodigal daughter running to the Father. And all of a sudden, I saw that the Father was running towards me.  All I can say is, my heart ran smack into the heart of God, and I had finally come home.

The bird was set free to fly!

This feeling of absolute peace, well-being of soul, wholeness washed over me.

Life was no longer about a struggle to just walk in freedom enough to be free or to just have enough faith so that (my faith) would keep me. I suddenly realized it was about complete and utter rest in the Lord, an attitude of receptivity to Him. Just letting Him be my all in all.

Before this healing, I had trouble submitting.  I had been so wounded by “spiritual abuse” from spiritual authorities over me that I had trouble trusting.  I also had trouble submitting at times to my husband even though he isn’t an abusive type.  I had “learned” to be independent to “protect” myself and had seen so many situations of spiritual abuse from husbands towards their wives that I was scared to trust my own husband. 

When I experienced healing in this area of trust, God showed me one of the main causes of rebellion.  He showed me that rebellion comes from distrust. Once God healed me of my lack of trust, I was able to verbally and literally completely entrust my heart to my husband. For the first time ever, my husband truly and completely had my heart! (Before this, I knew that I was withholding a part of my heart from my husband.)

This area of healing is completely transforming our marriage!  God is showing me how much He loves me that He is giving me this extra special gift of protection in my husband.  It has been a joy to experience this protection.

This is transforming my parenting! I am learning to no longer focus on my children’s behaviors and even on the “performance” of their hearts.  Rather, I am learning to focus on helping them to walk in their identity as His sons and daughters and what that looks like.  I am teaching them to trust the heart of their Heavenly Father.  There is more peace and more love present!

God continues to show me other areas. He showed me that there was a lot of fear in my heart that was a generational sin: it was so large it was like this hideously massive vine that it had become the size of a tree. God spoke to my heart that I was to get my shovel out because we were going to chop away at the roots running into my line of the tree [figuratively — not literal].

The Sunday morning following the conference, I awoke with it being a “resurrection morning.”  [“Resurrection” in the sense that God had done so much “healing” in my spiritual life and heart that everything seemed so new and pure and beautiful — just like I imagine it was like Resurrection morning.]  It was as if Jesus asked me to walk in the garden with Him.  (I could picture it in my heart.  I felt Jesus “wooing” my heart, showing me how precious and beloved and accepted I am to Him.  It was all so tender and so beautiful.)

Earlier as I had been preparing for church, I had some thoughts again that I didn’t feel attractive, and I knew they were lies from the enemy. God prompted my heart to go to my husband. I did, and my husband said, “[my name], you were created in the image of God. You are His image-bearer.”

Then a little later while I was taking care of my toddler at church, it was if I heard Jesus say, “[my name], come walk with me in the garden.” In my mind, I could joyfully picture Jesus wanting to spend time with me.  If was as if, we walked together. Again, I saw as if it were that Jesus bent down and picked a flower and handed it to me and said, “You are a flower in my garden.”

On Monday, I awoke to a beautiful song, flooding my heart. The awareness of being “cradled in the bosom” (metaphorically) of the Father surrounded me. That day, it was as if I heard Jesus say to me twice, “[my name], come on a walk with me.”  Twice, He showed me a picture of walking me to the top of a mountain and below there was turmoil all around and coming. Jesus calmed my heart with the truth in Scripture that He will protect me and will walk with me through it all difficulties I might have to face. Twice that day as I was driving, I came upon huge traffic jams. Both times, God opened a way for me to go around and avoid the jams. Jesus then spoke to my heart, “That is what I am going to do for you when the challenges of life arise, when turmoil arises. I will make a way for you around it and through it.”

On Tuesday, the Lord encouraged me with the words that freedom is not about having enough faith so we walk in freedom. If that were so, we would be relying on our own faith to keep us. Faith is about a complete surrender and attitude of receptivity to the Lord. It is about resting in Him, abiding in Him, finding our strength in Him. Faith is just walking towards Jesus and walking hand in hand with Him.

As I was grocery shopping on Tuesday, I could only be amazed at the strength and peace I felt as I just kept resting in Him, allowing Jesus to be my strength, wisdom, and peace! It was a joyful experience to just delight in the Lord and in turn to rejoice in my 18-month-old son’s presence. I knew that God was giving this interaction between my son and I as a picture to people of what His love for us looks like. I could feel Him loving others through me. I would and will be a conduit of His grace to others, and others will see the Father’s love through me as I walk in complete surrender to Him.

God also gave me this picture of Heaven literally being right ahead on a path, kind of like in Pilgrim’s Progress. He showed me that I was there on the path, along with many other witnesses, taking the hands of people and pointing them to Heaven, to Jesus. I was telling them that the Kingdom of Heaven is so close and Jesus is right there. I was pointing them to the Father.

So on Tuesday, as I was fully feeling God’s power flow through me and as I was aware of this joyful calling I have, the Lord allowed me to be a witness to His work in the heart of a young man.

I brought my cart of groceries back to our van and carefully wove between the car parked beside my van. As I did so, my 18-month-old son leaned down to the young man in the car beside us (my guess is the young man is in his 20’s) and said, “Hi. Hi.” The young man then said something along the lines of, “You are a cutie.”

At this point, I felt like my mouth had come “unhinged” there was such a filling of the Holy Spirit. It was literally like liquid gold pouring out of my mouth as the next few minutes unfolded.  [If you have experienced this you know what I mean.  It is a time when you are completely resting in the Lord, and when He is in the one speaking through you, giving you the words to say.]

I felt the Lord filling me to say, “He is incredibly special! [in reference to my son] I am so thankful for the blessing He is to me!” I then turned to the young man and said something along the lines of, “You are incredible too.”

As I continued to unload the groceries, I heard the young man say through his open window to my son Weston (sitting in his car-seat), “You just made my day.”

The Lord then spoke to my heart, “Go to that young man. I have a message for him.”
I walked over to him, leaned into his window, and gently asked, “May I tell you something?” He replied with, “Yes.”

With God speaking through me, I then said, “I went to a conference this past weekend that completely changed my life.” I then told him a summary of what I shared in the first part of my testimony to you.  I then went on to say, “Every boy and girl, every man and woman is longing to feel accepted and special. So, we fill our lives with stuff like drugs and sex and other pleasures so we can try to fill that need in us to find someone to love us and who accepts us unconditionally.”

I then looked the young man in the eyes so directly and said, “God does not make weak men. God does not make inferior people. God does not make mistakes. You were in His heart before time began. He loves you. He has chosen you. He is calling you to Himself. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father except by me’.”

At that moment, two people got into the car. Without any delays or pauses, I asked him, “May I pray with you?” There were tears in the young man’s eyes, and he said, “Yes.” I then began to pray, “Jesus, show this young man what you think of him, how much you love him. What do you want to tell him today?” I paused for a little while and then asked, “What did Jesus tell you?” He responded with something that I couldn’t clearly hear because of the quietness of his voice and the traffic noise, but it sounded like, “I am his son.” (In the beginning of our conversation he had already told me that years before he had asked Jesus to forgive him for his sins. )

I then asked him, “Do you accept that [that you are His son, created for a purpose]?”He said, “Yes.” I then prayed over him. As I finished, I looked directly into his eyes again and said, “God is calling you unto Himself for a very special plan and purpose that He has for your life. You have to let go of the little boy to run into the arms of Abba-Father so that the man God created you to be emerges.”

As I turned to talk away, I saw that the people in the car were this young man’s parents. They quietly said, “Thank you.” It was a holy moment.

For when God takes a rod, it becomes a symbol of His power. When God touches a stone, it proclaims His righteousness. When God fills a place, it becomes a sanctuary to His holiness. When God hangs upon a tree, it becomes a symbol of His unending love. And when God fills a human being made from dirt, we become a testimony of His beautiful enduring life of grace!

This song so summarizes it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJxw6k_d25Q (“The First Time” by Mercy Me)

Fully Entering Into The Gift You Have Been Given: Your Identity

The word identity has been in my thoughts a lot lately.

I am becoming more aware of how its perception shapes our actions and colors the world around us.

Discovering our “true” identity is perhaps similar to when an artist takes a paint brush in hand and with deft strokes reveals an image of substance and form that had been previously unknown.

We have an identity — a beautiful identity.

Some think their identity is wrapped in a twisted package of labels that others have given to them. It might be a wounded relationship between that person and a parent or parents.  It might be from a shattered heart, abandoned by a lover, spouse, or friend.  It might be the word wounds left by the strident or bullying tones of peers.  We might think our identity lies in scars laid physically bare for all to see.  Life is full of tragedies/imperfections/harsh realities that leave hearts, souls, and bodies vulnerable and scarred. We look at the scars and think that those are the identifying factors of who we are.

We flounder to find our roots/our identities.  We hope to discover, to create more to what we feel is who we are.

We view others through the scarred lenses of our hearts. 

We view others through their own scars.

We look at the puddles of paint, those smears. We grasp for the paint brush and try to fix the smears.  We mix the colors, hoping to create something that appears like someone else or something else, grasping for an identity.  Yet, we don’t know enough of our identity to perceive what it is to look like.

Our identities, true identities are not wrapped or grotesquely twisted to match the conclusions of others.

Our identities aren’t even within the definitions of our own minds and hearts.

How do we transcend beyond the false identity labels that we and others have generated?

We fight for meaning, for something beyond the hopelessness/the failure that so often we see.

Sometimes, we think we have found it when we experience a moment that leaves us speechless and full of wonder. In those moments, we might be a little closer to discovering our true identities.  Yet, our identities lie not within transient moments that sizzle with passion, emotion, wonder, discovery and then just as quickly fizzle into discouragement, frustration, apathy, disillusionment.

We know that we have not found our true identities when we seek to constantly create a continuous substitute for it.  When we seek the latest thrill, we have not found our true identity.  When we find satisfaction only within the narrowing confines of our closets, we are still missing it. When the opinions of others leave us devastated, we do not understand it.

When our mirrors, wallets, credentials, popularity, salaries, life experiences, job titles shallowly are the definitions by which we identify ourselves and others, we still have not discovered our true identities.

We endlessly struggle to create; yet, we merely accept the copies of ourselves and others/the misconceptions of our identity.

We struggle for “enlightenment;” yet, the understanding of our identities often lie within the gloaming shadows of our own misunderstandings.

Parents call their children into their identity. The challenge is in calling/leading our children to discover their “true” identities.

Friends can help each other discover or more fully walk within their true identities.  As friends, we look beyond the painful words, the angry exteriors and see a soul aching to find its true roots/true identity.  We hang in and hold on, even when the ride gets a little wild with those we love.

As friends, parents, and spouses, we hope and with faith glimpse the unveiling of the true identity.  We see the form that is emerging within the strokes on the canvas.

So many social or political movements are “knee-jerk” reactions to the false perceptions of identities. Yet, within these movements can be false perceptions as well.  We attempt to treat the false perceptions but with an obtuse acuity of our true identities.  So error continues.

An FBI agent (female) made these statements in reference to the feminist movement: [This is a woman who has a job that involves great risk, strength, intelligence, respect.  Her statements are insightful.  She doesn’t condone weakness.  She also challenges our perception of what we consider as weakness. ]

“In one of the tragic ironies of the twentieth century, feminists never fought for women to become more feminine… Instead of celebrating what it means to be a woman, to be feminine, to be an empowered female, they fought for women to act and be treated more like men. That’s why I call them masculinists.  Masculinists. Because in their fight for more rights, they ended up devaluing what it means to be a woman and emulating the very things they criticized most in men — imperialism, identity confusion, militaristic propagandism, dehumanizing competition, careerism…  Women should be extended the same dignity, opportunity, and respect as men but shouldn’t be treated in an identical way: equality without uniformity.  I want to be treated like a woman, not a pale imitation of a man…  Women should never be ashamed to be feminine.  Strength comes from conviction, not from acting like a man.  Being feminine doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means you’re proud to be a woman.”

Note: This woman wasn’t arguing against equal pay for equal jobs.  She wasn’t arguing against treating women with respect or dignity. She wasn’t promoting the abuse of women.  She is protesting against how we have accepted the false identities of our past (abuse and unfairness) and have reacted by promoting another false identity that true womanhood and femininity is weakness and inferior to that of true manhood.

Nor was she arguing in support of the false identities of men: that all men are abusive, overbearing, superior. Nor was she promoting the reaction to the first definition of men by promoting another false identity: that men are weak, spineless, imbeciles.

True identity is found within the dawning, dazzling awareness that “I am loved, treasured, precious in the eyes of God. As His Beloved, I have been uniquely designed with gifts and abilities that I can offer to the world!”  Whether you believe in God or not does not change the fact that you need to understand that you are completely loved and precious — precious and loved by God!”

We are not the careless, cruel words that someone else has described us as being — they are not who God created us to be.

We are not the failures of our parents. 

We are not the blemishes of society’s air-brushed modeling icons of beauty. 

We are not substandard or superior intellects due to the presence or absence of a few letters following our names.

We are created to exceed, excel, transcend, surpass the bindings of false identities and to walk instead in the freedom of being who God created us to be, with all of our own unique gifts, talents, and abilities. 

We are children of God — the God of eternity — loved by Him and created to be a gift/a beautiful work of art — a “Master Piece”!