How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.




Monday, June 26, 2017

An Identity Without Rival...Who Are You?



 http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/471466705_1280.jpg
Boy!  Is this a loaded question!  Who are you?  I have definitely answered that question differently over the years:  oldest of five, daughter, sister, wife to Peter, mom of six, nana to twelve, lover of nature, secretary (back in the day:), teacher, assistant to Nancy, Bible study leader, blog writer, women's director and also daughter of an alcoholic, anxiety ridden, fearful, alone, a failure, broken and lost.  My mood can swing widely as I answer this question out loud in response to the question and other times to myself as I deal with the myriad of "identity crises" I have put myself through. 


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_jDKvXjkitXg/TJaRic7RvjI/AAAAAAAAADE/QWhV1SdfbYE/s1600/006-cartoon-tomato-joke.gif


In Lisa Bevere's book, Without Rival, the very first chapter deals with our identity as Christian women. She says far too many are "...content to allow the shallow confines of what they do or what they have define them...Jobs change and skills can be lost and things can be stolen.  Even important relationships can be stripped from us.  What you have and what you do and who surrounds you can change..."  

So let me be honest...these are usually the first words out of my mouth when asked "Who are you?":  "I am Cherri, married to Peter for over 40 years, mom to a wonderful half dozen, nana to an even dozen.  I've lived in the Valley all my life and currently live out in the country.  I work at the Desert Vineyard Church as the Women's Director. I have dealt with stress induced anxiety in the past, my father's alcoholism, miscarriage, other tragedies and my own myriad of insecurities.  

 http://disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/identitycrisis.jpg

All this is true.  Think about your answer for a moment...Again...All truth.  But not the realist truth...the foundational truth of who you are.

Get ready for a complete shift in thinking.  If we can wrap our minds around this truth and REALLY BELIEVE it, much will change in our lives.  Here is this life altering truth:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/30/70/1a/30701a672605e19ad3ea7060c226e0b2.jpg 

 It's just SO "Christian,"  and we have heard all this so often, we will let these powerful words go through our mind without so much as a warm, fuzzy feeling.  THAT. IS. SAD. When you get it...you will feel the beauty of these words to your very soul:  "I am deeply loved (by God HIMSELF)...absolutely forgiven (because of this great love)...God's masterpiece (unique and loved uniquely by this unfathomable Creator)...chosen and set apart (to bring Him glory with my life)...secure in Christ (the anchor of who I am).  THIS is my identity.  BOOM!

When things are not going right in my life at work, at home, in relationships...when my past regrets and mistakes rear their ugly heads, when I blow it now and wish I could have a "do over"...when life isn't fair and my heart breaks...when the unexpected happens and changes bank accounts, relationships, position or health...THIS wonder remains:  He, the LORD of the Universe, loves me with boundless and faithful love NO MATTER WHAT.  THIS is my identity.

I don't have to compete to be noticed by Him.  I don't have to do and do and do to finally get His approval.  I don't have to be young, thin, and perfectly put together for Him to see me as beautiful and precious.  And His love for others does not take one whit from His love for me, so I can celebrate and enjoy watching God lavishly love on others!  What freedom!

Oh, LORD, help us to grasp this...to not let it pass us by without taking the truth about who we are deep into our hearts. Block the "whispered lying innuendos that assault" our minds telling us we are "not good enough, young enough, smart enough, fast enough and rich enough."   May our identity never shrink from who we truly are to the expectations of this world.

Do you find it difficult to describe yourself outside of what you do? Your past? Your age?  What you have?

Ask the Lord to speak over you truth.  Listen to what He whispers to you.  What did you hear?

What rivals have detracted you from your ability to embrace your identity and receive God's love?  

 

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good morning Cherri,
    Just a few comments below :)
    Chapter One:
    "What you have and what you do and who surrounds you can change, but it is vitally important that you never lose who you are and the Creator to whom you belong" (25).

    I find this a profound statement. I attempt to live it daily; for me, God is life, but for some reason, I saw it a bit differently this time. Ha! For some reason? No, not really, for His reason is more the truth! This time, He led me to think about my own life and my drive towards perfection. Like many people, I have been defined through society and life-experience to be someone who seeks out my own perfection, not in any sense of trying to exist or thinking I have the capacity to live in such a way, but in the general concept of always seeking out my best, to be my best and nothing less. Truly, I am often the one the most critical of my self, and I struggle with self-worth. While I do think that in some ways God wants me to live this way because I do so in the service-based life I try to have for many of those around me, I do not think He wants me to live in this manner of self-doubt and frantic movement. In this chapter and with this statement, I see that yes, I need to center myself on Christ; yes, I need to center myself on living as an embodiment of his testimony; yes, I need to like Him have integrity and true effort in all I do; yes, I need to live a life of service based on not myself but those around me; and yes, all of this life needs to be centered on loving others more than myself. However, I also can see that my Lord and savior also wants me to ground and mould myself in just Him. He just loved. He just helped the person in need in front of him. He just forgave. He just went from town to town to spread God's healing and love. He just went out to the wilderness to have alone time with His Father and seek direction and replenishment. He just lived; He did not center himself on a need to be perfect. He.just.lived. He.just.loved. He.just.is.amazing. I think that like these sentences, I need to pause. I need to slow down every step and just be. And if I center myself upon Christ, if I center myself on His love and His example, then, with the hustle and bustle of life, with the constant changes of deadlines and expectations, with the tugging and pulling of people's needs on my life and my spirit, with all of this constant ever-changing life, if I just center.myself.on.living.like.Him, wow, won't I be one step closer to all I ever wanted?

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I began to read this book it wasn't very long before I pulled out the highlighter and started to highlight things that were jumping out at me. On page 14 where it says "there are very real forces that whisper lying innuendos that assault your mind, your will, and your emotions in the hope of causing you to turn on yourself and then turn on others," Wow that hit me like a ton of bricks so many times I hear nothing but negative and self-defeating thoughts I can be positive for others but for myself I'm My Own Worst Enemy. I continued on reading the book and when it asked me to listen to three words that God says about me I heard silence. But I refuse to be discouraged by that decided I'm going to continue to read and I'm going to continue to ask God each night until I hear something thank you for this book. I look forward to it.

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE leave your comment!!! We need to hear from you!!!!