Identity. We have no clue how it drives our lives. How it shapes our daily, minute-to-minute choices.
Today’s post is an invitation into my journal, my musings. I’m just audacious enough to believe God meets me there, when I’m quiet in my recliner, snuggled beneath my fuzzy blanket, journal and pen in hand. (He meets me other places, too. Increasingly I believe there is no divided secular and sacred space. There is only space. And where there is space HE is. But I digress.)
On that day, pen in hand, I talked with Him about hopes. Fears. Dreams. About feeling unqualified, unworthy, and other “un” words.
He said, “I Am your qualifier. I Am your worthiness. I Am has brought you through the experience you need to do what I Am has planned.”
I told Him I knew the journey was about His ability, not mine, and I surrendered to His plan. Then I added, “I am afraid.”
“No,” His tone was gentle. “Do not use ‘I Am’ for identity statements. I Am is ME in you.”
Often I say things like, “I am overwhelmed. I am tired. I am afraid. I am inadequate.” Since this conversation with Him I’m trying to break that habit.
Am is a linking verb. In English class they taught me that whatever is on the other side of “am” renames “I.”
God reminds me not to give myself names that are outside of who HE is within me. HE is never inadequate or afraid or overwhelmed. In the book of John Jesus told His followers, “I am in you and you are in Me.” If God indwells me (and isn’t this the crux of Christian thought?) then His resources and character are also inside of me. Besides, God promises in Romans 8:29 that He is remaking me to be like Jesus. That makes me think that using identity statements about myself that differ from who Jesus is contradicts the work God is doing. I want to lean into the process to be MORE like Jesus, not to push against it!
That said, I don’t think God wants me to pretend I don’t have real emotions. However, I do think He wants me to see them as just that. The other day I caught myself saying I was overwhelmed. Just saying it made me act even more as if it were true.
My new goal is to change my verbiage from “am” to “feel” when dealing with negative crap that isn’t part of who God is. So . . . I feel overwhelmed, but I know the God who lives inside of me can handle anything. Sometimes situations seem hopeless, but God is a God of hope, and with Him nothing is impossible. Hard tasks can make me feel inadequate, but God is always up for any challenge. And HE lives in and through me.
But God . . . what a difference those two little words make. In Him I am a whole bunch of stuff that is glorious.
How about you, my friend? Been saying or thinking “I am” statements that whisper identities you really don’t want to take on? What thought patterns can you change by a twist of verbiage and the addition of “but God?”
Until Next Time,
*If you’ve not been around much Jewish or Christian theology, there’s a whole new depth brought to those words, “I Am” based on an experience with God and Moses. Moses, the guy who led the Israelite slaves out of captivity in Egypt, was one of those guys who felt unqualified with a glaring “UN.” When He asked God His name, God called Himself, “I AM.” Jesus also made a bunch of identity statements using those two little words, “I Am.”
Writing this post reminded me of another time I pondered those two little words. At that time I wrote 10 devotionals based on those musing, and because of this post added them to my website in hopes they might encourage you. Maybe you’d like to bookmark the devotional page and spend the next ten days thinking about what God means when He calls Himself, “I Am.”
Tagged: But God, devotional thoughts, feeling inadequate, feeling unqualified. Moses, God, hope, I Am, inner strength, Jesus
Paula – most of my management work life has been stuffed full of the “positive thinking” elements. How we are in synergy: head and body reacting off and with each other. I thought of that as I was reading your piece here. That the words we use have power, except that your musings took it to another whole level.
We were taught to add a timeframe: “I am tired – this minute” … “I feel crap … today” … etc.
What I like about your words here is “I Am” and taking it right back to its (godly) roots and indwelling.
“I am” off to re-blog and share this! Thank you!! :
Reblogged this on Just me being curious and commented:
Positive thinking? Or is “I Am ….” so much more powerful than just that? If so – how much more?
Thank you Paula – I Am so glad you wrote this, I Am obliged to share it. 🙂
You are such an encouragement to me, Paul. Thank you for reblogging my post and for your insightful comments! I like the idea of adding a time point to the I feel comments. That way they are not open-ended and we have taken away even more of the power of negativity.
This is a powerful thought – thank you for sharing what God has been teaching you. 🙂
Thank you, friend, Always good to hear from you.
I like your stories on your devotional page about the names Jesus called himself. It is a good reminder of who he is and what the names really mean to us. We serve a mighty God. I am so glad he loves us and cares for us so much. Words are so powerful ,they can give life or death. It is good you are so sensitive to what you are saying. You know as a side note. I took on a challenge awhile back to change the temple God has given me,(my body). I lost 51 pounds. It is good to be fit for Christ. I was energized to do more for Jesus and felt better about myself. All the attributes he wanted me to have for myself . Kind of neat . Be blessed Paula. I am glad I found your blog.
Much love Tom
You made my day, Tom! Thrilled for you having lost that 51 pounds. You and I have been given a great gift (and yes, we worked for it too) in getting our health and energy back. Good for you!!! I was very touched that you took the time to read my devotionals on my website, and I am thrilled that they meant something to you. I love to think about Who God is. What He calls Himself is very revealing! As is what He DOESN’T call Himself. I love it that HE is not the accuser or condemner! He IS justice and the ultimate Judge, but not the one shaking his finger in our face. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
That will preach Paula. I had a great moment of sadness prior to writing this reply to you. The recent loss of my daughter Kelly washes over me sometimes and is more than I can stand. There I have to and willing and thankfully let Jesus have it. Then I seen Hallelujah and my soul was revived and my spirit soared to new heights at your love for Jesus and passion in expressing it. I love it when the Holy Spirit moves. God has allowed different folks to come into my life after losing Kelly. They have had supernatural gifts to heal and bandage my broken heart. Bless you.
Much love Tom
Tom, This brought tears to my eyes. I’m so very sorry about your loss. I can’t begin to imagine the deep of grief. But your faith in Him, the One who heals and sends us new friends to along the way, encourages me. I praise Him for giving you that moment of joy as we communicated. He is so personal. So tender. Praying for you as I head into a new day.
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