Growing up I was very shy. I still remember once in third grade, I didn’t want to get a good grade on a project because I didn’t want to be commended in front of the class, again. In college, I tested out of speech class. I still don’t know how they managed that. Shouldn’t someone wanting to test out of that class be a good indicator that they should really take it? I was terrified to be in front of people. But somehow, by the end of my college career, I discovered a new confidence (I suspect that marrying my high school sweetheart had something to do with it). I went on to take the corporate world on with great success, holding my own with older, usually male, executive level colleagues at Microsoft. I knew how to get things done and get them done well.
Fast forward to two years after The Accident…that seemingly insignificant rear-end collision that caused a concussion…which caused daily debilitating migraines…which never go away. After a couple years attempting recovery it became clear that it wasn’t in the cards, for now anyway.
And then suddenly, the question was…well, who in the world am I?
Turns out, much (all?) of my identity was wrapped up in what I did. Or could do. Or used to be able to do. Now, I was faced with the reality that I couldn’t be the rockstar career woman that I once was. I couldn’t do all the awesome mom things I wanted to do…shall we talk about the shortfall in mothering that occurred in that crushing year after the accident? Or, once I realized how insignificant the career work was, the shortfall in mothering that occurred in those early years of my kids when I was chasing the “American dream.” Ugghhh.
One morning last summer, I woke before the kids and was enjoying the fresh morning air, reading my Bible, when out of the sunny blue skies, it started to rain. I LOVE the rain. It was such a delight! I knew it was a gift from God. And as I basked in the sounds and smell of the rain, I came, unexpectedly, to Romans 8:16:
“For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
It almost makes my cry again just to think of it. It was such a clear message. I am God’s beloved daughter. THAT is where my identity is found. It’s a truth that I am continually seeking to take to heart, to undo the perfectionism-oriented ways of my past, but it’s becoming more real every day. And the more I study the Scripture, the more I see it…everywhere.
I am finding such freedom and peace in learning to rest in who I am, in how God sees me.
In Mark 1:9-11, we read the account of Jesus’ baptism. Have you ever considered the fact that, when God spoke from heaven after Jesus’ immersion, he was speaking before Jesus had done anything at all?
“You are my Son, my cherished one, and my greatest delight is in you!”
And you might say -well, that was Jesus. Yes, but in John 15:9, Jesus informs us that he loves us with the same love that the Father has for him! We also are God’s children, heirs of God himself (keep reading Romans 8!)
Genesis 1:26 tells us that we were made in the image of the Trinity. Yes, it does say that – “let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.” It helps tremendously to understand it that way, because when we think that we were made in HIS image…well, for us ladies, that’s a little hard to follow. But when you understand that God is spirit, you can better recognize ways that we ladies carry his image, too. We are relational, like God. We also carry his beauty. Oh, there is so much here, but that’s for another day. For now, you must remember Genesis 1:26. We were made in the image of God.
When you know that, the following bold statement makes a lot of sense.
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” ~ Saint Irenaeus
When you are living fully into who you are, because you are made in God’s image…you bring glory to God! How amazing is that!?
If you’d start to live like royalty in God’s Kingdom you’d bring glory to God in a way impossible when you are dragging your tail between your legs saying you’re no good. You may upgrade the “no good” to “just a sinner saved by grace.” But as great as having our sins forgiven and being “saved” is, it is only half of the gospel. The other half is understanding and accepting the fact that God has “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realm in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6) Holding our heads high is not pride, because it is based on what Christ did for us, not our efforts. Not believing this is not humility, it is unbelief! Feelings of inferiority are result of being self-centered – asking what we (or others) think of us rather than what God says.(1) ~Neil Anderson
You were made in God’s image. You are his beloved child. You are Jesus’ intimate friend! But you cannot live in a way that’s inconsistent with how you believe. You must embrace these truths.
The keys to living the abundant life that Jesus offers are in knowing God (that intimate, interactive relationship) and embracing your identity as his beloved child.
READ: Mark 1:9-11, Genesis 1:26-28; Romans 8:16-19, Ephesians 2:6
DISCUSS: “The glory of God is man fully alive.” What does this stir up in you?
REFERENCE/STUDY: 1) The Essential Guide to Spiritual Warfare ~ Neil Anderson
(This post was originally written for my Treasure Box Bible Study. If you'd like more along these lines, check that Study out here.)