One of my best friends ‘Ren’ last week got me thinking about if I was ‘normal’ or not… in fact she actually asked the question “So what is ‘normal’?”
As it turns out I’m not ‘normal’ (which really wasn’t a surprise to anyone really!)… however being weird is the normal God designed us to be… so as Christians being ‘normal’ isn’t really an option.
But it got me thinking a bit more about what defines me?… and maybe more importantly how do we see ourselves?
In a way only God can plan, as I was thinking about this another good friend and mentor of mine Hamish spoke about “What defines us…” at our church today… sometimes God doesn’t let you off the hook that easily!
Something that really stood out for me was the main things define us and it was a simple list of 4 topics:
Now I had known this for a while… however it was really hammered home when I realised that 3 of the 4 things in the list are changeable…
So What are the forces that shape us as people?
What should shape us?
When we let others shape us… we’re in danger of seeing things through not only our broken ‘life lens’ but theirs also.
You see often we don’t see things as they are… we see things as WE are.
Often others have their own agenda’s and own reasons for feeling a particular way…
How fickle are the opinion of others?
It really highlights how important it is that we have people who we really trust to speak into our lives…
Who have you got that you really trust to speak into your life?
Do you have anyone?
There are plenty of events in our lives we can look at that maybe have really been hard… separation/loss of job/scandal/natural disasters you could probably add your own ‘events’to this list…
Coming from Christchurch New Zealand I know how fast a major event can change things… but the question is are we going to let these events DEFINE who we are?
One of my earliest memories of seeing someone who refused to let an event define them was when I saw a friends Mum at a funeral… the funeral of her son and a friend of mine who had died in a major outdoor accident. Only a year before this tragic event this amazing lady was saying goodbye to her husband who died of cancer… she stood up and spoke of the pain she was feeling of such loss… it was heart wrenching… however she spoke of her faith in God… and I knew that this event although it was painful and would be hard to erase, wasn’t going to be the one thing in life that would define this woman… she knew who she was.
Then we come to ourselves… sometimes we’re our harshest critics aren’t we, we have low self esteem because we don’t value ourselves or we’re always comparing ourselves unfairly to others or we dwell on our past… but here is the thing… Moods change… people change… feelings change…
So why are we putting so much pressure on ourselves?
You see these three things… Others, Events and Self are all things that change… in a heart beat… they’re not consistent… so isn’t it funny that we have put so much time and effort into letting these things be the main things that mold us into who we are… the main things that we let define us???
But God… the creator of the world… is forever unchanging… he made you to be who you are!
And it never matters about our past… “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)…
You see… while we were still sinners… it wasn’t about the fittest or the best or the most popular… it was because you… are YOU… and God LOVED you that much!
You see we know how much God loves us… so why are we striving to let others define us?
Sometimes it’s almost like we’re trying to cheat God and do things our own way…
When we’re not cheating God… we’re cheating ourselves out of what HE has for US…
We’re just cheating ourselves!
Who are we kidding?
Lastly… Hamish came to this wonderful conclusion… maybe… just maybe our list of who defines us should look more like this?
You see when you’re putting your trust in God, you have to die to yourself… you have to deny yourself.
But here is the great thing about that… when you put God at your number one… it frees us from ALL the other stuff… there is no need to ‘perform’ we can relax and let God define us… and he calls us his ‘masterpiece’… he calls us ‘very good’… he calls us ‘sons and daughters’… he calls us ‘heirs’…
So what (or who) defines you?