“No names were changed to protect the innocent…”

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12

 

Good morning friends,

Today we are beginning a month-long reflection on who we are in Christ.  In my opinion, this is probably the single most important topic we can examine because the answer to that one question changes everything.  Knowing who I am in Christ affects my decisions, my attitudes, and my actions.  My whole life is built around my belief of who I truly am.  So we will start from the beginning.

I grew up in an unchurched family.  I had parents who loved me very much and always wanted the best for me.  But their world view, which was passed on to me, had no perception of Christ.  Hence one of my many stories:

I am from a very small town with an even smaller high school.  I participated in all sports and had 112 people in my senior class.  When I was about 15, spring rolled around, and all the girls on my softball team were invited to the big event, Prom.  All that is, except me.  I tried not to let it show how badly it made me feel, but my dad, Tom, with his keen sensitivity noticed something was troubling me.

When I began to lament over “What was wrong with me??” with my trusted confidant, he proceeded to make me feel better by sharing his Theory of the Family Gene Pool.  And this is what he explained to me:

“Every family has a gene pool.  The best, and worst, of all your mom and I have to offer is mixed up in this pool and distributed out to the children.  That’s the way it works, and it’s just a crap shoot to determine who gets what.  Take you and Jeff (my younger brother.)  He got the good looks, the great personality, and all the athletic ability.  Everything will always come easy for him, because he is gifted and people love to be around him.  Then there is you.  You got the hard work ethic.  Most things won’t come easy for you, but you will still succeed because you are willing to work until you get there.  So don’t worry about this one dance, you’re going to be alright in the long run.”

After his explanation of how the world worked, I got a big hug and a smile that indicated how happy he was that he had solved my problem.  He went on his merry way, completely oblivious to the fact that he had just crushed my soul.  I reiterate that my dad did love me, and he was honestly trying to make me feel better.  But it is an understatement to say that this particular conversation colored my self-image for the rest of my formative years (and probably still does to some extent.)  

But this is the point of my story, we run a great risk in allowing other people to define who we are.  As much as the people in our lives love us and want to help us, there is very little chance that anyone can truly help us to find our meaning, purpose and value outside of the One who created us.  At best, loving family members, can project upon us their hopes and dreams for us.  At worst, we live in a society that will always tell us that we can better, prettier, more successful, and stronger.  Nothing will ever be quite enough.

I am so grateful to my loving Father in heaven.   Because He has worked so hard to tear down the negatives in my mind and replace them with holy truths.  It has taken a long time, but I finally believe, in God’s eyes anyway, that I am beautiful, lovable, and perfect just the way I am – the way He created me.  And the knowledge that I am a beloved child of God brings me a peace that the world can never give.

I hope that over the next few weeks, if you don’t already know this about yourself, that it will become abundantly clear to you as well.

Peace,

Gracious Father,

You are my Creator and my Savior.  You made me with a purpose.  You love me just the way I am.  Help me, Lord, to see myself through Your eyes.  Help me to understand who I am in You and what unique role I play in Your beautiful plan.  I trust that there is nothing I can ever do to make You stop loving me.  Thank You for that.  And thank You for affirming my worth each day.

In my Savior’s name I pray,

Amen

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