Identity

I’m only going to do this type of a forward ONCE this year: this is not part of “Allan’s Bootcamp” – in the future you’re going to have to notice I didn’t put the scriptures from the reading in the title (not that I mind if you read this too, that’s why I had a blog in the first place).

Moving on.

Last week we started a series at church called “identity”. To be completely honest, I heard the title and I was like “Oh, what a nice topic! Everyone needs to hear that once in their life. Why am I here, again?”

Well helllooooooo there pride. How have you been doing lately? I didn’t miss you. Anyway, I don’t remember much of last week, other than it was about image and how we are supposed to not be identified by our image.

Today, however, the message was about labels. At the beginning we all had to repeat this phrase with my pastor:

I am not what others say I am.

 
Ok, I realize this is a rather cliche, normal saying. But it especially hit hard today because I’ve been particularly struggling with this concept the last few days. Ok fine, the last few months. I always take what people say (or rather what they don’t say) and start to evaluate myself based on those – whether it’s good or bad (usually bad). I, and I know everyone else, tend to focus on the negative things I hear instead of the positive, even if the positive outweigh the negative 10 to 1. Even if I do end up focusing on the good parts, I start to blow up my own ego, which gets to the point I was at last week with that oh so un-wonderful pride cropping up.

The point of the sermon was that Jesus labels us too – and his label cuts through all the other ones we and the world throw at ourselves. His label? Forgiven. Forgiven is so much of a better label than anything else anyone could ever label me as. So much better than the horrid things I label myself as, so much better than the best compliment I could think of.

It isn’t easy for me to remember this – I fall into the trap of defining myself as what others say I am all the time. People don’t even have to say much, I read into things so much it’s almost like I want to be told something. But it doesn’t matter. I am forgiven. It doesn’t make sense, I don’t deserve it at all. But I’ve been gifted beyond my wildest dreams with this. Praise God!

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt?
– Casting Crowns

Not only was this an home-hitting message, it was a humbling moment as I realized that there is always room for growth in Christ, I’ve never become perfect and I never am going to become perfect. It is a constant journey and battle to find my identity in “Forgiven”, instead of something else.

Rest

On the night of this January 1, I’m reflecting on everything that has happened.

ok, thats a lie. I’m going to do that on Friday maybe …

However, I did want to share this song that I heard recently. My favourite Youtube channel is Blimey Cow. I have literally watched every single video twice, and I show it to pretty much everyone I can. Then I was a stellar genius and remembered I have twitter so I can follow them.

Anyway, they tweeted about this one song by Pompton Lakes.  I don’t usually follow links for things, but I did on this one occasion. It was oddly the perfect thing for what I needed to hear on that day. You’ll notice I haven’t written in a while; and while I deeply regret that, it couldn’t be helped. I plan on writing more about it later, but I had reached a point in my semester/year where everything added up and I was at my wits end, end of the wick, hanging onto a thread, or however else you want to put it.

Most people didn’t believe that I was having as much trouble as I was, which just made it worse. I needed rest, and this song speaks of the rest and comfort that I can find in Christ. My soul can find rest in Christ alone.

Rest can be one of the hardest things for us to find sometimes. There is so much stimulation and quickness of pace in society, and it is all to easy to assume that we can do something all on our own. But true rest is only found in one place. Yes, it can be hard to realize and accept, but the rest is there for the taking. The peace that comes with knowing Christ is something that cannot be replaced with anything else.

So, without further ado, Rest – Pompton Lakes.

Little Things or Big Things?

The other day I wrote a letter. (Side note: This is actually a regular occurrence. I find that expressing myself in a written form is a lot easier than verbally. Also, it lasts longer and I can be fairly sure the person receives it. As an added bonus, its a surprise for the person who gets it)

This letter was to someone I usually write to, but I hadn’t recently because of school overload. It wasn’t a “God told me I need to write this letter” kind of letter. It was more of a “this has been on my to do list for way too long, so I’m going to get’er done” type of letter.

However, when I talked to the person who received the letter, it happened to be exactly what they had been needing and praying for. I was astounded that something I hadn’t thought was going to be a big deal turned out to be a huge one. This little, simple thing was used by God to make something big. It was so easy to see God in it because there is no way I could have planned it myself.

So the point to my story …

It is so easy to forget that God has a plan for my life, and that it is good. It’s easier to just live mundanely … but God doesn’t want us to life an ordinary life. I have been listening to some Eric Ludy sermons, and he has been talking about how we can “Dare to Ask for More in our lives. Life with God should be a beautiful story that makes you excited to get up every morning – not something that makes us tired or depressed.

If he can make something that is so little and ordinary turn into something that is extra-ordinary, then why can’t he do the same with everything in my life, if I let him have access to it? The more I open my life to him and allow him to take over, the more my life will exude his love, faith, peace, and joy to those around me. To coin a familiar phrase, “more of him and less of me”.

Are you satisfied with your life, or do you think there could be more to it?