understanding your identity : we need to start over

One of my favorite songs at the moment is Simple Gospel by United Pursuit.

I  love these words from the song…

I want to know you Lord like I know a friend,  So I’m laying down all my religion. I use to think that I could box you in. I’ve been told to be ashamed, I’ve been told I don’t measure up, I’ve been told I’m not good enough but you’re here with me. I reach out and you find me in the dust. You say no amount of untruths can separate us.

I feel like this is a process that I have been going through for the past two years. I came to a place in my life where I just wanted more of God. I wanted to know Him like I know a friend. I had this feeling deep within me that there  was so much more to God that I had not yet discovered. So I set out on a journey to know God more.

Laying down my religion, breaking down all of the walls I had built to hem Him in and all the boxes I had tried to fit God into all had to come down. It was like starting all over again.

Religion had me reading the bible because I had to. Somewhere along the line I had been told that you must read the bible everyday. The bible is so hard to understand and where do you even begin? The task became too difficult and not very enjoyable so my goal of reading the bible everyday was not achieved. I would then begin to feel guilt and shame over not reading the word of God everyday and to avoid those feelings I just stayed away from reading the bible all together.

I had to lay down this perception and this lie of being a good Jesus follower meant that you had to read the bible everyday. God does not want us to feel shame and guilt over not achieving that. He wants us to read His word and if we could do it everyday then that is great, but if we don’t, He is not there looking upon us and condemning us. He is there with grace and mercy. Guilt and shame are not part of my DNA, God did not create me with those qualities, they are not my identity.

Religion had me praying every night before going to sleep, to offer Him my lists of requests because I had been told that you have to pray to God everyday. I never really had anybody sit me down and explain to me the art and love of praying and I never really set out to discover it for myself either. I had failed to see that prayer was actually talking and listening to God, that it was in actual fact a two way conversation between two people that actually had a loving and intimate relationship .

I had to lay down my thoughts that God was far off and too distant to care or worry about the little things that I was concerned about. I had to understand that I am not an orphan that He is in actual fact my Heavenly Father and that He sees me and knows me and nothing I think or care about is insignificant to Him. Being an orphan is not how I was created. My identity is that I am His daughter and I can talk to Him and He will talk back to me

To begin to really know God and to really know my identity as His daughter I needed to start all over, I needed to learn how to do my walk with the Lord all over again, but this time in the right way.

I needed to be more childlike. I needed to have a childlike, teachable and humble spirit so that I could stop believing the misconceptions and the lies I had been believing and start to understand the truth about God and the truth about myself. I also needed to be hungry for more and I had to seek these things out for myself and not just take another persons word for it.

Starting over again is hard but I truly believe that the Lord wants to break down the boxes we have put Him in and even break down the boxes we have put ourselves in.

What are some of the lies or misconceptions that you are believing about God? What are some of the lies or misconceptions that you are believing about yourself? I encourage you to start to think about these two questions and ask the Holy Spirit to help you along in this process of knowing God like you know a friend and knowing your true identity as a son or daughter of God.

 

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understanding your identity : learning to love yourself

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Now that we have a better understanding of our Heavenly Father – His beautiful nature and His unending love for us now we need to start to understand our identity.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are sons and daughters of the King, we are the people of God and we need to begin to learn to love ourselves the way God loves us and see ourselves with our Fathers eyes.

There are so many of us who struggle with insecurity. We find it hard to love ourselves which then makes it hard for us to love others and hard for us to receive love from others. The answer to our insecurities is simple. We must learn to love ourselves as much as our Heavenly Father loves us.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:10-12

He loved us first. Before we even knew Him, He was pursuing us, drawing near to us, watching and waiting for us to turn our face to Him. He loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son for us. This love is powerful.

If we are going to love ourselves as much as God loves us, then we must encounter His love for us. When we experience Gods powerful love for us, it gives us the ability to love ourselves. How do we experience and encounter His powerful love?

 The prayer of Apostle Paul can help us…

A Prayer for the Ephesians

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

It takes power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God for us and it takes power to know this love. The Holy Spirit is the person to give us that power. We need to ask Him to give us that power in our inner being to know, experience and encounter His love.

The bible tells us this…

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Whatever we ask, He hears us, and we know that we will have what we have asked for. He is just waiting for us to ask Him to reveal His love to us. The bible is full of verses of His powerful love for us, but I believe He wants to show us first hand what that love feels like. And as we begin to feel His love for us we will then begin to feel worthy, accepted, loved unconditionally, powerful and free. Free to love ourselves the way that our Heavenly Father loves us.

He made me in His image

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I came across these wonderfully thought provoking words on Pinterest the other day…

Why do we feel like we need to be like everyone else? Because the enemy would rather have us be like anyone but Jesus. Holley Gerth.

We were created in the image of God. We were designed to be like Jesus and the enemy tries to convince us otherwise because he would rather have us be like anyone rather than Jesus.

So many people struggle with the enemy planting lies in their minds about their self worth, me included. Seeds of doubt get sown and we believe them. We start to believe that we are not capable enough, not worthy enough, not smart enough, not talented enough….. and the not enough statements are endless.

But we are created in the image of God, it tells me so in the bible….

So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Genesis 1 verse 27.

…. And nowhere in the bible can I find that God is not capable enough, not worthy enough, not smart enough, not talented enough….

We need to stop believing that we are not enough. We need to stop measuring ourselves against everyone else, stop trying to be like anyone else but to be ourselves. To be the person who God created, designed and fashioned us to be.

We need to understand who God is so that we can understand who we are. We need to understand what Jesus did on the cross for us and who we are now because of it. Because of Jesus I am redeemed, I am transformed, I am qualified, I am significant, I am royalty… and the I am statements are endless.

We need to understand these things so that when the enemy comes and tries to tell us that we are something that we are not we can instantly recognize that it is not the truth.

The enemy will always come and try to throw us off course. The more we become like Jesus and the more we become the person that God created us to be, the more the enemy will want to shut us down.

Instead of asking God to step in and shut the enemy down, step in and do it yourself. Stop believing the not enough statements that are running through your head and start believing the I am statements instead.

You are created in the image of God. Draw closer to God to find out who He really is and what He says about you. Read the word of God, the bible is a pathway to Jesus, it will lead you straight to the heart of God.

Not living for the approval of others

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Jesus said “I am not moved by the approval of others” * . This is not an easy thing to achieve but one that I am constantly working towards.

Jesus was not moved by the approval of others. The opinions of others did not sway Him or make Him second guess himself. He was so firmly planted that He could not be moved. Jesus knew who He was and knew exactly who His Heavenly Father was. Jesus knew His true identity. The only opinion that mattered was His Fathers, the only praise He lived for was from His Father.

I long to not be moved by the approval of others. To not let other peoples opinions sway me or throw me off my course. When I catch wind of somebody speaking negatively, their piercing words pass right by me and have no affect on me. They have no affect because, like Jesus, I know my identity, I am firmly planted and cannot be moved.

Just the other day when my son was feeling sad over the fact that the boys at school were not being so nice to him, I had to draw on the wise words of Jesus and that we can not be moved by the approval of others.

I reminded my little boy of who he really is. I reminded him that he is a child of God who is loved and wonderfully created and that he can do many amazing things. I reminded him that it does not matter what other people think of him, his Heavenly Daddy was proud of him and loves him for exactly who he is. I reminded him that those boys do not have any power over him and that he could chose to not listen to their lies and listen and know the truth of who he is. Wonderfully made and loved.

Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow. Let us not be moved by the opinions of others. Let us truly know our identity as wonderfully made and loved and that we only seek praise from the one who truly counts, our Heavenly Father.

 *John 5 v 41 from The Passion Translation

Identity

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If you’re in Jesus, your identity is not who you were or what you do; it’s who He is. – Louie Giglio

There are so many wonderfully inspiring people in the world who are doing amazing things in their life. I see all the things that they are doing and accomplishing and then look at my life and I cant help but feel how incredibly small what I do seems.

I begin comparing myself to others and start to think that I am coming up short. I begin to lose my focus and start to think I need to be doing this and I need to be accomplishing that because that is what they are doing. The feelings of failure, shame and disappointment set in. I begin to lose myself and I pick up another persons identity. I have lost myself because I never fully understood who I really was, never knowing my true identity.

How do we start to know who we are? Where do we begin on this journey of discovering our true identity and not living with that sense of failure and shame?

We can begin to find our identity from our Heavenly Father. We need to discover who He truly is first. We need to know that He is good, loving, kind and faithful. We need to know that when He sent His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross He won our victory. We are now forgiven and free from the lies the enemy tries to get us to believe and we now have His righteousness.

Imagine yourself face to face with the Father, lean in and feel His heart and listen for what He says and feels about you. Write them down, meditate on them and start declaring them over your life. My identity in Christ is love, joy and peace, anything that takes these things from me is not true about me.

The more time that you spend in His presence the more you will begin to understand and know Him and know who you are in Him.

We can learn and be inspired by others, but be you. Know who you are and stop trying to be someone else.