"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. "Colossians 2:6-7 NLT
When you first meet someone, how do you introduce yourself? Here's a few of mine:
“I am Scott’s wife.”
“I’m Christopher’s/Taylor’s mom.”
“I am an entrepreneur.”
“I am a consultant, speaker and author.”
“I am your neighbor down the street.”
“I am Stacy’s sister”
“I am Birdie’s daughter.”
“I am a graduate of the California State University at Chico”
We introduce ourselves based on the roles we play in our lives. Why? Because it gives contextual clues of our identity to the listener.
What happens when those labels become our identity?
I share in chapter two of Cultivating Peace what happened when my dream job turned into an identity and what happened when that identity no longer applied. In short, it was devastating.
Adopting our identity as anything other than who God says we are leads to chaos in our lives. We all have been given gifts and talents to accomplish our part in God’s grand tapestry for this world, but that is not who we are. In fact, it limits who we are; we are so much more than what we do!
Imagine for a moment the limitlessness of being identified not by what we do, but by Whose we are…
You are His chosen, beloved, righteous, wanted, holy, valuable, equipped, essential, radiant and wise son or daughter… all because of what Jesus did for you. Nothing you could ever do can upstage that, so we are free to stop trying and just be with God because of Jesus.
In that we are enough. Period. Let that truth sink in this week. Focus on it. Think about it. Allow it to affect your beliefs about yourself.
The focus in chapter two of Cultivating Peace: Who God Says You Are is on the following:
When our dreams cloud out God’s dream for us we become stuck in a pattern of doing instead of enjoying (pages 44-47). What dreams do you have for your life? What if God’s dreams are different? Are you willing to surrender your dreams for His? There is a song by Casting Crowns that I really hope you will listen to this week: I Have a Dream For You. I am convinced we dream so small because we are afraid of failing at something bigger. God says you are worth the biggest of dreams…things you can’t even conceive of or think to ask for (Ephesians 3:20-22). He will make them happen so you don’t have to worry about making them come to life. Will you trust Him?
Learning to accept who God says we are is the most freeing, peace-instilling thing we can do. (page 48) The peace we long for isn’t available just because we want it to be. If that were the case we could have manufactured our own peace simply by achieving our dreams. “The peace that “transcends all understanding,” the deep contentment that comes from a complete trust in the plan of God, comes when we choose to believe what God’s Word says over the voices in our heads and in our culture. Things like we are forgiven of every sin…forever, we are fearfully and wonderfully made just as we are in this moment, and we are loved unconditionally.
We have access to a “super soil” that will give us what we need to trust God in every situation of our lives, but there is a catch: this super soil requires belief to be activated. (pages 50-52) Now don’t get me wrong, God’s word is true whether we believe it or not; the benefits however are ours once we chose to believe, not before. This change in perspective offers freedom from the treadmill of “do-ty” and gives us entrance into experiencing the abundant life Jesus came to give us. Our expectations are what add to the chaos of our lives. God’s truth gives us an opportunity to see our lives from a different perspective, a grace-filled, merciful one, and in that change of view we are able to see how much better life could be on the side of Truth rather than the side of having to earn our worth.
The Four Key Principles of Relationships apply to a relationship with ourselves (pages 52-63). We cannot love others well of we do not know how to love ourselves. We learn to love ourselves well as we learn to receive the love God has for us. As we receive that love, it flows through us to others, giving us the ability to “love one another.” (John 13:34-35). This principle is foundational to cultivating peace in all the relationships in our lives. It is through the love we receive from the truth of God and His Word that we are healed and as we are healed we are able to express that love for ourselves to ourselves and then to others.
Within a relationship with ourselves, the four key principles can be summarized like this:
Submission = accepting that we cannot (nor should we) be in control of our lives, and letting go of the weight of being responsible for everything. This choice gives us the opportunity to discover what God is doing in our lives for us and trust Him to carry it out instead of our own efforts.
Respect = accepting that we are not like everyone else without fear (which comes through comparing ourselves to others) that our differences make us not good enough. This choice gives us the opportunity to embrace our essential part in Gods master plan, creating peace within as we surrender to our value in who we are, not what we do. (See Romans 12:4-6 the Message)
Forgiveness = believing that every sin in our lives is covered by the blood of Jesus; no matter how big or horrible we may think they are, every single one is covered and hidden in Christ forever. This choice allows us to live in the freedom of grace and in freedom from fear, which grants us peace.
Intimacy = taking time to discover ourselves to become who we were meant to be through accepting who God says we are. This choice allows us to live fully, using our God-given influence, and experience the amazing world of possibilities awaiting us in our truest identity as a daughter of the High King, sister to Christ herself!
It’s up to you. You have the power within you to listen to the voice of Truth. Seek God, and He will meet you and guide you into the truth about who you are to Him. In that, there is peace!
Here are this week’s assignments:
Schedule Tracker Exercise: Color-code your current Schedule Tracker from this past week (see page 72 of Digging Deeper for instructions on this OR Watch this video). Once you have it color coded, reflect upon what you see:
Are there any areas not represented? Why? Is this a commonly neglected area?
Are there any areas that take over the majority of your time? Which one(s)? Why?
If there was one thing you could change in your weekly or daily schedule, what would it be and why? Share your answer below to be entered into a drawing for a FREE personal schedule management coaching session with me! (a $249 value!)
Download another Schedule Tracker and complete it again for this week, but this week be sure to add in at least one segment of time (at least 30 minutes) to do something just for yourself that will help you connect with God in order to learn more about who He created you to be. If you don’t know what to do, ask Him and then listen. He will answer. Trust me, you will have the time for everything else when you take some time for yourself.
Which activities for each of the four key principles of relationships will you try out this week? (pages 54, 56, 60, and 63)
Do questions 1-5 of chapter two in Digging Deeper (pages 15-17)
Feedback Friday Discussion Question:
On Friday April 21, 2017 I will post another short video and discuss my perspective on the following question. It is my hope that you will join in the discussion on Facebook!
How do you honor Psalm 46:10: "Be Still and know that I am God"? (Hint: I'll be working through the devotion at the back of Digging Deeper called "Stilling Your Soul."