I had absolutely no idea who I was.
Not a clue. Absolutely not one SINGLE clue.
Well actually, I take that back. I had quite a few clues, but they were all absolutely, positively wrong. And toxic. And life-crushing. And in general, just not super excellent.
I thought I was a good student. That worked super well until I looked at the people in class with me and realized that no matter how hard I worked, there was always gonna be someone smarter than me. I thought I was a good dancer. That worked super well until I looked at the people in class with me and realized that no matter how hard I worked, there was always gonna be someone better than me. I thought I was a good friend. That worked super well until I realized that I was so focused on being a good student and a good dancer that I was incapable of being there for my friends in the ways that they needed. To summarize; in my opinion, I pretty much just sucked as a human being and deserved to go sit in a hole in the ground talking to no one but my toes until I died and decomposed back into the earth. Yay!
And so, my senior year of high school, God brought me into a painful (but necessary) season in which He ripped away, one by one, each and every identity I tried to cling onto. Every single one. He just flat-out decimated ‘em. As me and my friends graduated and everyone excitedly prepared for college, seeming to have every inch of their glorious & successful future lives planned out, I felt hollowed out and empty. I had nothing left to define myself by, so what worth did I have? What purpose did I have? Why was I even here? As I plummeted into the SUPER fun lifestyle of “completely-insecure-with-an-overwhelming-feeling-of-worthlessness,” I realized that all I truly had left was the thing I’d been shoving to the back burner of heart and schedule since I was 13 years old;
And that was the heart posture with which I waltzed into the DTS program in YWAM Maui. Empty, desperate, and willing to give everything to God but without any real hope that He would do anything with what I gave Him. Or that He even really existed. (Sorry Jesus oops)
As classes began and I got to know the people around me, suddenly my mind was in a constant state of amazement. With each week of lectures, I saw God a little clearer. And strangely enough, the more clearly I saw Him, the more clearly I saw myself for who I actually was. And who we all actually are.
WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD and when we accept Him WE ARE HIS CHILDREN! That’s all. That’s it. No additions, no prefixes, no nothing. You were created to be the object of God’s love, and THAT is the purpose of life and the joy in living it. If we don’t know this, we so easily become lost, because we’re trying to gain worth, love, and approval from sources that do not last forever. These sources ARE going to let us down, at some point. And the more we chase after these identities that we were NOT meant to claim, the emptier we feel. Because you were made to love and be loved by an infinite God, and He is the only thing that can fill the infinite emptiness inside of us. We have been deigned to carry His presence and to walk in close relationship with Him.
In the Old Testament, God speaks something pretty incredible over Jeremiah;
“Before I formed you in the womb
I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
– Jeremiah 1:4-5
Being “appointed as a prophet to the nations” sounds like something that would only be granted to someone after they’d gone through a pHD program in theology, 17 years of seminary, and 3 in-person interviews with the President of the United States. However, God has chosen to flip our neat little system on its head. Because in this passage (and YOUR life!), God chose Jeremiah not AFTER he proved his potential, but BEFORE. BEFORE Jeremiah even breathed his first breath, he already had God’s attention, unconditional acceptance and love. This is absolutely insane. God is saying that we are infinitely loved, accepted, forgiven, and made new, and that we are heirs to the kingdom of heaven & ALL of its glory, BEFORE we did anything to even SORT OF deserve it. You are made in His image, He calls you His masterpiece, and you are sealed with His promise (AKA: He’s not gonna let you go). And there is absolutely nothing you have done, are doing, or will do that can take any of that away. Just like He saw Jeremiah, since before the beginning of time He saw every single piece of dysfunction partying it up in your little human body, and He STILL chose to love you, to die for you, and to create a divine purpose for your life. HE CHOSE YOU, AND HE IS ABSOLUTELY ECSTATIC ABOUT HIS CHOICE. We are sons and daughters, not slaves. Slaves earn their keep, slaves receive praise or punishment based on their performance. But as (chosen!) children of God, in the words of Steven Furtick in his book Crash the Chatterbox, “…we no longer have to live UP to anything. Instead, you are now empowered to live OUT of an awareness of divine acceptance.”
Knowing your identity as a child of God abolishes insecurity: His opinion of you is all that matters, and He’s already called you His beloved, beautiful, intentionally formed, treasured masterpiece. Knowing your identity as a child of God abolishes anxiety: He, with His intimate knowledge of both you AND your battles and His incomprehensible power to completely overcome every source of darkness, is forever by you and fighting your battles FOR you. Knowing your identity as a child of God abolishes hopelessness: you were not an afterthought, but fearfully and wonderfully made for a specific and wonderful purpose, and in His perfect goodness He uses EVERY situation for your good & His glory. Knowing your identity as a child of God is heart-transformative, is the source of peace, the source of joy, the source of LIFE. It enables you to overcome, to thrive, to love, to forgive, to grow, to learn, and so, so much more. So much more. (SO much more.) (Did I mention so much more.)
But far outshining any of this is just knowing God, man. That’s it. That is the most beautiful thing in existence, is just BEING a CHILD OF GOD. Being with Him. It’s who we are. He is everything.
He wants you to know who He is and who you are. Will you ask Him?
Lots of love,