My mom never let me leave the house during my teenage years without calling out to me, “remember who you are!”
It’s a great reminder – if you know who you are to begin with.
Sometimes during those years, I resented her saying those words to me. Mainly because I felt like I didn’t know who I really was and not knowing for myself meant that I could only remember who she expected me to be.
I have spent many years, even after I decided to give my heart to Jesus, trying to live up to the expectations of other people. You may already notice how contradictory that is, but if you don’t, I’ll take a moment to explain.
When I gave my heart to Jesus, I was only looking for a savior – someone to fix the problems I had created or otherwise gotten myself into – but not someone who would show me how to not get into trouble again. I wanted Him to come along, make it all better, kiss my ouchies, and let me run off to play again. In short, He was welcome to my heart if He could make my feelings better, but I didn’t want Him in my head messing up the way I thought things worked.
For years, I proclaimed His place in my life without really giving Him a place in my life. I am so grateful that He is so patient.
I’m not sure when the real change began in my mind, but I am very aware of when it actually began to make my life different. And it was not beauty and roses and lollipops. There was beauty in it later, but at first it hurt.
What did it hurt? My pride. My absolute certainty that I was always right began to take some pretty powerful hits. The whole of the Trinity was after me – my Abba God, my brother Jesus, and the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear – they were relentless.
When my redheaded temper began to flair – they let it – and then showed me all the ways that I had done more damage than good with my tantrums.
When my indignation at an offense rose up – they asked me to take another look.
When I felt rejected by someone that was important to me because my best efforts to meet their expectations were just not good enough – they were there – asking me to really look at why I was even doing things in the first place – to please someone and gain that person’s approval, or to bless that person with my efforts?
I am certainly not finished with this process, but I can happily tell you that my temper doesn’t find nearly as many reasons to show its ugliness, and I don’t find myself pouting as often when I’ve been rejected instead of receiving another human’s stamp of approval.
I am able, most of the time, to actually listen to someone instead of assuming that I understand.
I have found more quietness in my heart and can therefore respond to people with a quiet answer instead of my old tirades.
I am finally allowing Jesus to tell me who I am – who He created me to be – instead of trying to make myself be something I think everyone will like.
There is so much more peace, so much more joy, and there is beginning to be a sense of direction that I’ve never had before.
I encourage you today – stop, be still, feel the pain as your pride begins to fall, and let Him tell you who you are. Let Him be the one that says to you each day, “remember who you are.”
Here are some verses, passages really, that God is using to help me to understand these things. I pray that they will help you too.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them. ”
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-15, 17-23 NIV)
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:23-25 NIV)