Know, Beloved, who you truly are.
These are beautiful words that have come from pain and heartache. Most beautiful things come that way I’m beginning to discover. Pain is something I am learning to embrace rather than run from. It’s so much easier to ignore the ache within and just slap a smile on. At least that is what feels safe.
I talk often about the transforming power of love, and I won’t be stopping soon. I really have seen love change a person’s life. It has been the power that has changed mine. As we come and go in these countries where the Gospel is not preached, I have found love to be the only language that is understood. We often don’t have a translator, but when you know who you are and you love others from a place of being perfectly loved, you don’t need a translator. People feel that love. People can see it, they can smell it, they can feel it.
It is now from this place that I interact with those around me. When before, an action or behavior hurt or offended me, I would react to that action in like form or in a form of self-control that resulted in bottling and later exploding. It was easier and I felt I could come to that person pointing the finger screaming “you made me ….”
I have found that blame will no longer suffice.
As a daughter of the King of kings, I have found that I am responsible for my feelings, for my emotions, and my reactions to those around me.
This is a reality that is so much more difficult to live from. I must take responsibility for my reactions and my emotions. If I am ever to obtain the fruit of self-control, I have to be responsible for myself. Therefore, I can choose to be angry, frustrated, depressed, etc. or I can choose joy, thankfulness, love, patience, etc. The power to live in this kind of control comes, not from myself, but from my Father who has the greatest self-control of all.
Stepping into this reality has been painful. There has been a lot of humility, a lot of repentance, and a TON of prayer! I have found myself beginning to feel anxious from outward circumstances and having to remove myself from that situation, sit down, close my eyes, breathe, and saying “OK Papa, where’s Your peace?” I then sit and wait, listening for His voice, looking for His face, and resting in His presence. I don’t get up from that place until I find that peace. I have found myself pausing mid-conversation and silently taking authority over my emotions and asking for God’s perspective of what is happening.
Sometimes I fail. One night, it took two hours for me to reign in a line of thinking and bring it back into God’s line of thinking. Another night, I told the girls on my team I felt neglected by them. Later, the Father showed me that I was operating from a victim mentality. He and I took care of it together. I had to go back to the ladies on my team and repent for blaming them for how I was feeling and ask for their forgiveness.
See, we are a powerful people, we who follow Christ. We have control of ourselves, and only ourselves. We cannot control the people around us or even our circumstances. Every day, we are confronted with opportunities to be offended, angry, bitter, etc. We get to practice self-control every. single. day. We get to learn how to depend on the Father for all things, to ask for His perspective on every situation and person.
When we live like this, yes, it is more challenging. I would venture to say it is impossible without Holy Spirit. Without His presence in us, I don’t think we can ever really reach a place of true self-control. We may reach a place of self-restraint, but I don’t believe those are the same thing. I believe God has a plan to destroy your ability to be independent of Him. Holy Spirit will keep coming and removing crutches we’ve used to be self-sufficient until the day comes that we realize we can’t even breathe without Him.
It’s a beautiful process of reliance on the One who loves us more than we can imagine. His plans for us are so good. In this process, I find my mind on the Father all the time. It’s a rare moment I’m not thinking about Him, talking to Him, or wrestling with Him because I want to think or act in a way contrary to His thinking or ways. Lucky for me, I have His mind, so His way of thinking is never too far out of grasp. He is in me, so I never have to look for Him.
So how does all of this tie into “Know, Beloved, who you truly are”(from my previous blog titled In A Few Words)? I have to be secure in my identity as a daughter to walk in this reality. I have to leave behind orphan and victim thinking and step into the reality of the power within me because Christ is in me. I have to believe I am loved, delighted in, and cherished if I am going to walk away from the blame game. It’s in knowing who I am in Christ that I know who you are in Christ and I can treat you accordingly.
Your identity, Beloved, is key to all of this.
In what ways are you being challenged to walk in your identity as a son or daughter?
Photo Credit goes to Lydia Seymour!