“Before I formed you I knew you and ordained you…” Jeremiah 1:5
Some years ago, while having a moment of reflection I began to ponder this scripture, wanting to know myself, not as a wife, a mother or a career woman but simply as the person God knew and ordained.
I found that even though I have many titles and wear many hats and have had many experiences that shape my perspectives, I did not really know my self . My life moved so fast — from teenage mom, to wife then worker. I had never given much time to discovering who I am.
A lot of women, teenage mothers or not, have this same issue. Life is remarkable in that we can live for years without getting to know our true selves. Life can move along so quickly that we can actually grow up and become something without actually knowing who we really are. We grow up to be wives, moms, workers, professionals, friends, sisters, daughters but if we don’t take the time and dig deep enough to find out who we are we may take on our experiences and titles as our identity and never really come to know ourselves.
Through trial and error and my human experience I had come to know my strengths and weaknesses, my likes and dislikes, my favorite colors, favorite foods and such. I knew a lot about my human being but not my spiritual being. I had not so much as asked God, who I was meant to be and what was really meant for me.
When I finally asked, I discovered that the way to get to know who I am is by listening to the thoughts and intents that come out of my spirit, the part of me that is connected to God, because my spirit knows my eternal story.
1 Corinthians 2:11 says, “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
As we come to know who we are in the Spirit it influences how we live life.
I remember when I first became a born–again Christian I was a young mom with four young children going through a divorce. When I joined my church I had no idea what organized religion looked like or what was expected of me.
I was a passionate worshiper and unpolished in my zeal for the Lord. I’m thankful that God knew exactly where I needed to be and planted me in a church that was just as passionate about the Lord but had order and discipline. My pastors allowed me to grow into a more mature version of myself without requiring I be like someone else.
After a being in church for a few years, the Lord saw fit to choose me for ministry. As I started to take on more of a role in the church I noticed that I started to dress like the other women who were in ministry. I wore skirt suits with blazers and pointed-toe heels. I felt a bit uncomfortable because my style is more Bohemian but I figured his was how I was supposed to dress. I also noticed how other women worshiped, praised and prayed, very calm compared to my very loud sound, so I tried to calm down. To no avail.
Then one day while on a 21 day consecration the Lord spoke to me and said with a still small voice, “I desire an authentic relationship with you. Don’t come into my presence with pretense. I want to know you and I want you to know me. You don’t have to be like anybody else. You cannot know me unless you come to me authentically. Do not try to change who you are. I knew who you were when I called you.”
Those words changed my life and my perspective. When I realized I did not have to fit into a certain mold and that in fact, God did not want me to, I gained the freedom to grow into the woman God made me to be.
I learned to embrace me. I gave away most of my skirts suits, though eventually I matured in my style choices as I grew older but I’m still very Bohemian. I also learned to contain my worship a little bit. However, embracing myself did not make me unteachable. The Bible teaches us to imitate what we see in others as they imitate Christ (Philippians 4:9). I learn from and imitate (practice) the good I see in godly women.
God doesn’t want us all to look a like or act alike.
I get frustrated when I hear people say they are color blind , as if this is a form of acceptance, as if God did not know what He was doing when he made all the cultures and colors of people. To deny that we see color is to deny the beauty of God’s creation and our right to exist authentically as God made us. God wants us to see and accept the beauty in each other. Every color, nation, race, culture, tribe, family and person who call on His name become His sons and daughters, and therefore our brothers and sisters. We make up a coat of may colors.
Embracing Your Self
Beloved, it is better to spend a lifetime discovering who you are and embracing your self than to try to be like somebody else. When you make the decision to live authentically and embrace yourself other people will honor that authenticity and do the same.