Do you know the difference between who you are and Whose you are?
I’d like to share my very personal journey to discovering what it means to be a child of the Almighty Living God. Just like many of you, Satan very cleverly set the stage to help me define myself.
I was 14 when the movie Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams came out. I’d always been a bookworm with a hunger for language, and just like many adolescent girls, I was overly emotional and seeking inspiration. The poetry, passion, tragedy, and inspiration of Dead Poets Society spoke straight to my soul. The poem featured in the famous cave scene had a defining impact on me:
Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling,
Gotta do more, gotta be more.
Chaos screaming, chaos dreaming,
Gotta do more, gotta be more.
I didn’t understand what the verse meant, but it borrowed into my thoughts almost to an obsession. I knew it was important, that it held some profound truth fundamental to my own life. Reciting it in my mind and scribbling it all over my notebooks, I hoped that its secret would reveal itself. I watched the movie repeatedly and continued to hold that particular verse near and dear to my heart well into college, even though I still did not understand why or what it meant.
And I progressively became an unforgiving perfectionist. I held myself accountable to unattainable standards and harbored intolerance and contempt towards others’ faults. I didn’t have looks or social skills, but I was “the smart kid”, who had “a good head on your shoulders”. Language was my greatest strength, so I reveled in making myself sound even smarter than I really was.
Defining Myself In Loss
As I studied towards a psychology degree, I worked with many people suffering from cognitive disabilities and traumatic brain injury. During this time, I determined that to lose my gift of intelligence was a fate worse than death.
I would get a pretty good idea of what it’s like to live with brain damage shortly after I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable brain disease many years later. I’m not sure if it was the disease, the medication, or the combination, but the effects were devastating. I would stare blindly at medical forms unable to remember my birthday or phone number. For the sake of my own safety, my husband would appoint our 8-year old to look after me if we had to be in public. I was fighting for my job because I couldn’t think, multi-task, read, or speak.
The illness demoted me from a bright woman to a dependent liability. The person I had been my whole life was dead, and I had nothing else to offer anyone.
Devastated by the chaos left behind, I lamented for who I was; I’d wanted to do more.
Overcome by perpetual chaos, I screamed for who I’d become; I wanted to be so much more.
Discovering Myself In My Creator
In the chaos, I began reaching for Jesus. I got chills one day as I listened to Pastor John Hagee conclude a sermon roaring “You are a child of the Almighty Living God! Act like it!” I don’t remember which sermon it was, but it doesn’t really matter. Just pick one. He does this all the time and it still gives me chills.
As Pastor Hagee spoke the Word of God, the Holy Spirit ignited curiosity and longing in me. I began to investigate what it meant to be a child of the Almighty Living God. His Word redefined me.
When your child creates something, do you ask the neighbor what the creation is? Of course not; you ask your child what they made. If you want to know what a creation is, you ask the creator! Here’s a little bit about what my Creator told me:
I am greatly loved by God (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
The Bible doesn’t say that God loves us because we are smart, socially gifted, great speakers, or physically attractive. He just says He loves us. Period.
I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37).
I don’t need to be smart, good-looking, or a social butterfly to conquer life’s losses and challenges. All I need is His love.
I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
I was never really that smart anyway. Anything I ever had came from the One who created me, and all that I have belongs to Him.
Here’s my favorite:
I am His (Psalm 100:3).
I’m not defined by what I do or who I am; I’m defined by Who I belong to. This is who I am, all I ever was, and all I ever need to be. Just… His.
I Am A Child Of God
The revelation that my worth was totally defined by His work gave me a sense of release and freedom that was completely foreign to me. With the chaos of self-promotion silenced, I began to understand the peace that evades understanding.
I believe that God wants our greatest strength to come from Him rather than our own talents. I also believe that our greatest ambition in life is not to show how talented we are, but tell the world how great He is.
Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard (Psalm 66:8).
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:9). Which of your own self-imposed standards can you release to God’s definition of you? Comment below.
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