Our Power and Potential: Who I Am

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September 8, 2019

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    DAY 1: The Truest Things About You

    First recommendation: Get a journal or notebook and keep a running record of your thoughts in the weeks ahead. You will find it very helpful to write-journal-record your reflections.

    Second recommendation: Check the LWCC Blog regularly. There will be many more resources there to help you discover and live out who you really are.

    To begin your week of reflection, you will look at some of the most significant passages in the Bible. For each passage, notice how YOU are described. Each description, according to the Bible, is part of the truest things about you. For each item seek to understand what it actually means.

    Genesis 1:26–28 This is the Big One. You are made in God’s image. What does that mean? In what ways are you like God?

    Genesis 2:7 You are alive, you are a human being, you are a person.

    Psalm 8:4–9 God thinks very highly of you. How highly? And how does the psalmist respond to God’s view of us?

    Psalm 139 Go ahead and read the whole psalm, but notice in particular verse 14. What does it mean to be fearfully and wonderfully made?

    Ecclesiastes 3:10–11 You have eternity in your heart. There is something vast, deep, and enormous about you. Do you know what that is?

    John 3:16 (and Romans 5:6–11) You are loved, and I mean really, REALLY loved.

    What you have just read about and considered are the most true and most real things about you. What difference does it make for your personal identity to know and believe this is the truly truest stuff about you?

    This is your truest identity. It is the foundation for security, confidence, humility, and gratitude. This is your dignity and your destiny. How secure are you in these things? Is this who you say you are?

    DAY 2: True Things About You That Endure

    There are the truest true things about you (Day One) and then there are things that are merely true things about you. They are true, it is just that they are not the most important things about you. You should not deny them or neglect them. Nor should you live as if they are what is most important.

    These are the true things about you that endure through the years. They remain essentially or mostly the same. If they change, it is only through drastic and dramatic measures. It is not a long list, but it is an important list. It includes things like race, ethnicity, gender, DNA, genetics, chromosomal makeup, and some enduring (even if not endearing) personality traits.

    There is one more item to add to this list, and that is your family of origin. Your story. Your history. Your roots. Even if you have moved away from much of this, your history is still your history.

    So, answer this question with at least 10 to 15 responses: What are the true things about me that endure through the years? What is constant about me? These things are part of your identity. It will be helpful if you jot them down. You can always add to your list and redirect any particular answer to another list if it fits better for another day’s focus.

    Remember, while these things are TRUE about you, they are not the MOST important things about you.

    But, what happens when you put a merely true thing in the center and begin to believe it is the truest thing about you?

    The Bible calls this an IDOL (a false god, or a pretender, to be most real). Philosophers call it an IDEOLOGY. Good things can become very bad things when they become what matters most. That is certainly true about IDENTITY. And when this happens, it can get very ugly.

    What true things do you tend to move to the truest true center? What happens when you do this?

    Day 3: True Things About You That Change

    Once again, these are important things, but they are so prone to change. In fact, it is their nature to change. While they exist they are true, but they don’t last forever, and sometimes not even for very long.

    For example: Relationship status of many kinds—single, married, childless, parents, friendships, and so many more. People are a core part of our identity, but relationships change often and sometimes against our will. So, what are your current relationship roles?

    Work and career. This is another important part of who we are. What we do matters. Being able to work matters. But what we do is prone to change. However, right now, what do you do? What is your work? What is your vocation?

    How about age? Fill in the blank. I am _____. What do you feel about that number? And what do you feel about the fact that the number is only going up? What about fitness and health and how our bodies reflect/reveal health and fitness? This too is important to identity, image, and esteem.

    Socioeconomic status. We are situated someplace in our culture. Where are you?

    People groups to which you belong. If relationships had to do with individuals that matter, who are your groups, your tribes?

    Read Philippians 3:4–8 to see how Paul had to let many temporary things go that he once valued a great deal. He adopted something else he valued more. What did he adopt? It is important to know your answers about what is true but temporary. This is a part of who you are. Handle these things with care.

    What do you think happens to your identity, as well as your self-image and self-esteem, if you are unhappy with something that is currently true about you?

    What do you think happens to your identity, image, and esteem if you lose something that you care for a good deal? When what you love and value is gone, then what and who are you now?

    Day 4: True Things About You That Need to Be Reframed

    This is where your identity is a little more painful, therefore, it really matters that you get this part of your identity figured out. I like to say it needs to be reframed.

    First, read Romans 8:28–39. Be sure to notice Paul’s reference to the image/likeness of Jesus. That is God’s grand goal for you—the reimaging of your life so you become like Christ. And then notice how God is at work in everything that happens to you, including the bad stuff.

    When bad stuff happens, it seeps into your identity. You begin to see yourself not only in light of that bad stuff, but AS that bad stuff.

    Most of us have experienced lies, anger, aggression, misuse, abuse, and more from others.

    Most of us have been let down by life. Events seem to have conspired against us.

    Most of us can point to episodes of failure. Some of that failure was self-inflicted.

    Most of us have to deal with old labels that have become intertwined with our identity, like, “I am divorced.” “I was abused as a child.” “I am an addict.” “I was fi red from my job.” “I had to file bankruptcy.” And we have both guilt and shame that is associated with these labels.

    Here is where it gets delicate. While those things are true, God is in the business of changing and reframing those labels—especially when we are secure in the truest things about us.

    The process goes something like this: We stop seeing ourselves as victims and become survivors, then overcomers. We stop seeing ourselves as passive recipients, but as active agents who can choose what is good. We stop seeing ourselves as powerless and weak, and understand that we can do all things with Christ who strengthens us.

    That is a core part of the Good News of Jesus. He accepts us as we are and then he repairs, reframes, and renews all that is broken.

    So, what needs to be repaired and reframed about your identity? What old labels must you let go of? What new descriptions do you need to receive and embrace? This is not a self-help project, this is a God-help project.

    What really needs attention in this God-reframe identity project?

    Day 5: True Things About You That Must Change

    Now you are ready for the final reflection. Yesterday was a reflection and reframing about what is broken, about the repercussions of bad things happening in your life. Today is a reflection about the wrong things you have done, about your own badness. It is the hardest reflection of all.

    This is where we hide, minimize, rationalize, blame shift, and fl at out deny who we are. And we like to play spin-doctor and engage in image management control. That is not God’s way of Identity ReFormation. It is a dead-end way.

    God’s way is to forgive, to heal, and to redeem. Your way is to confess, to acknowledge, and to turn from what is wrong and receive God’s restoration and salvation (salvaging of your life).

    We are all badly broken. We have all done what is wrong and hurtful to others (as well as to ourselves). We all have signature sins or bad things that we just cannot shake. We do these things persistently. They are character flaws. It is vice. It is badness. It is wrongness.

    We need to acknowledge, “I am an addict.” “I am an angry person.”

    “I am mean and harsh.” “I am unforgiving.” “I hold grudges.” “I am a complainer.” “I am promiscuous.” “I am materialistic.” “I am self-centered.”

    And the list can go on and on. We must be particular and honest about our signature badness.

    It is who we are, but it is not who we need to remain. Read 2 Corinthians 5:16–19. Jesus is making all things new, and he starts with you. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies… but now he has reconciled you …” (Colossians 1:21–22).

    This is Identity ReFormation at its finest. In fact, this becomes some of the truest things about you. Once you were this, but NOW you are loved, accepted, forgiven, healed, and transformed by Jesus. You are a New Creation in Christ. It’s who you are! Identify what is badly broken in your life. Discern how God is already at work changing those things. What remains to be changed? How is a new identity emerging as this change continues?

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