What I'm Learning

What's Defining Me

I have a hard time receiving compliments.  Do you?

I am sure there are many reasons as to why, but one I am well acquainted with is this one:
I know myself. I know my faults and how I fall short.

SO, I believe that if someone says something positive about me in an area I see as really lacking, well, then ultimately they do not really know me. If they did, well, it would be a different story.
Like someone telling me I am a good mama. Well, they don’t know that I yelled at my kids today.  So, surely if they knew that (fill in the blank), they wouldn’t have offered the sentiment.
As though having weaknesses and faults means I am forever disqualified from being enough.

What a huge conflict and contradiction of the gospel of grace (!) which says that in my weaknesses, I am strong because Christ’s power is then perfected in me!
That it is not about me never messing up with my kids that makes me a good parent, but that when I do mess up, I ask for forgiveness. That I agree with God that I screwed up and ask for wisdom on how to do things differently in the future. That I own the ways I have fallen short in any given situation and lay them bear before the Lord.

That instead of trying to allow perfectionism to try to make me great, I allow Christ to be greater in me.
Bigger than my attempts to be enough on my own.
More real than my distorted perspective that says it’s up to me to fix myself first.
That He gets more access in my life because I surrender my feeble attempts to Him and even learn how to choose to boast, as Paul did, in the very weaknesses that give me an opportunity to see God’s power at work. (1 Corinthians 12:9-11)

Who knew it would take years for me to start to see the truth of that passage.
And then years more for it to really start changing how I view things.

I am so thankful for the way that the Lord continually pursues me and is committed to His truth becoming my own.

So, my struggle with accepting compliments that I mentioned above has started to change. I will spare you the gory details of how the Lord has been addressing my perfectionism, self-worth, etc.

But in this, what I do want to share, is that I am learning to receive the truth that there are some really valuable things about me because I am His creation and His handiwork.
Where perfectionism has tempted me to either deny my weaknesses as if they didn’t exist by just doubling my striving to overcome them or to go the opposite direction, to wallow in my short-comings and bath in guilt and shame, now God’s truth is showing me a new way.
God’s truth says that I do have weaknesses – it addresses the awful elephant in the room that I want to avoid so badly -but it doesn’t stop there.
God’s truth explains that I am not as He ultimately intended me to be because of Fall, because of sin, but He still authored my frame.
And He promises to not forsake the work of His hands.
And ultimately it is not about me being great so that people see me – that was never the point,
but about people seeing His great work in me and seeing Him.

I was inspired to write this because of a picture I saw of my friend, possessing the expression I have so often seen when she looks at her people.
She is a fierce mama of her two boys. She will fight any battle to ensure that they are known and seen for who God created them to be, not whatever mold is acceptable or preferred by others.
I believe she will have a hard time receiving this truth, that she is a great mama. Maybe not.
But I bet she sees the filmstrip of replayed moments in her mind, times she has lost her temper or made choices she doesn’t agree with now. But that doesn’t change what makes her a great mama.
She loves those boys because she loves God, and He has given her what she needs for them, to be their protector and advocate, their disciplinarian and biggest fan. And one day, one of their closest friends.
He has given her what she needs to be a great parent, because she has allowed Him to be great in her.

What do you have a hard time believing about yourself?
What has God spoken over you about it?

Gideon didn’t recognize the title by which God addressed him, a mighty warrior, but God knew that with Him, that is what Gideon was going to become.
Peter didn’t understand in the moment that Jesus was calling him the rock on which He would build His church, that Peter was about to do what he would have considered the unthinkable – betray Jesus so quickly and repeatedly.
But Jesus knew that Peter needed a glimpse of the bigger picture so that after Peter’s pride was crushed, his identity would then be built on the truth of what God was going to do in and through Him.

Peter’s actions, and so often my own, tempt me to define myself according to my accomplishments or failures, to say I am worthy of love because of this, or I will never be acceptable because of that.
It is an estimation of myself that doesn’t and will never make sense because the equation leaves God out.  I was given my identity, my value-packed completely accepted and loved and adored and sufficient identity, before I ever took my first breath.

So a truth that I need to be continually reminded of pretty much every single day is this:
My identity is not up for question or debate.
I have a choice in what defines me, and I choose Jesus.
Only in Him can I be defined as free, forgiven, absolutely and unconditionally loved, a conqueror, strong in my weaknesses, equipped, sufficient, competent, and bold in my vulnerability.
Why in the world would I choose another definition?

Thanks for letting me share.

“When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me”

Before The Throne of God Above
Shane & Shane

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