I have had a lot of 4 am mornings lately but let me tell you, it’s not because I’m ultra-disciplined. It’s because Holy Spirit keeps waking me up and for the life of me, it is impossible to get back to sleep at that forsaken hour. I woke up from such a tender dream that the Lord gave me in those early morning hours and I laid in bed, hearing over and over Jesus speaking His love over my heart– speaking identity over me about who I was to Him. I think that is a good start to this blog about identity. I’m starting with the conclusion in the first paragraph… the answer to all of the issues I speak of below. It is His voice of love that drives out every other false voice.
At 6 am I finally crawled out of bed, dragging my journal and Bible into the living room. I read the story in 1 Samuel 17 that everyone that has ever been to Sunday School is familiar with: David and Goliath. This is a story of inspiring triumph. If David can defeat Goliath, I too can defeat the Goliaths in my life, we’ve all said. I wonder how many self-help messages have been preached from this passage. But something in this story pricked my heart in a way it never has before. Here, we see this young kid who kind of seems to be on an ego-trip. He actually has the balls to suggest that he might be the giant-killer… out loud. It does seem a little cocky, now that I think of it. I kind of identified with his brother Eliab who looked at him in disdain. I probably would have thought the same thing… who the heck do you think you are? I’m bigger, older, and wiser than you and even I know this is impossible. But David doesn’t receive his brother’s insult– or label of himself.
But then Saul hears about this mischief and calls David into his chambers. Saul of course, sides with Eliab. David is not making sense. He’s a child. How in the world could he make this happen? But knowing that there was no way he could talk David out of it, he finds some armor for the young boy to wear into battle. He places on David what He believes is the right thing… Saul’s identity, not David’s. But David refuses the armor. It’s just not me, David says. He felt uncomfortable, bulky and it’s just not how things rolled with him. Both Eliab and Saul have tried to place what they conceive as David’s identity on David’s shoulders. Instead of seeing his value from the lense of the Father, they are only seeing David through their own flesh and expectations.
I have had some wonderful people speak into my life over the years. In that, I have been very blessed but unlike David I haven’t always believed that I was as valuable as what they spoke over me. When you hear promises and worth spoken over you and you resist God’s Word and walk in unbelief, the enemy can easily come in and snatch the Word from your heart. It can open the door for the enemy to use others to reject our value and worth and place false identities on us. When we believe a lie from the enemy, we carry it around with us. It’s placed on us just like a piece armor and it sends messages to those around us. If we believe we are worthless, unwanted, and undesirable, that’s what others will see us as. The lie becomes embedded in our hearts, creating walls and separating us further from the heart of God. There really is a demonic element to a lie that influences relationships and creates an atmosphere of deception.
What I want to start doing is resisting those false identities. As new creations (I don’t care what your theology says, that’s what we are and everything else is a lie), we aren’t the negative, worthless, stubborn, sinful beings that people speak over us. Even if we behave in a way that is sinful… that is not who we are. Yes, we need to deal with sin, weakness… whatever but that is not our identity and I want to start acting like David who REFUSED to receive that false armor upon himself. He refused to conform to someone elses identity because that wasn’t who God created Him to be. He didn’t do things like Eliab or Saul did them. Maybe Saul fights best with a suit of armor on but David doesn’t. Get over it, Saul. Let David, be David. He refused to give into other peoples misunderstood conceptions of who he was in the kingdom.
Another thing to remember: trust Jesus to deal with the Sauls’ and Eliabs’. Nothing shows more unbelief and insecurity when you feel the need to fight for your own identity. David, just simply told Saul what he was gonna do and he did it. He calmly told him that the armor wasn’t going to work and he went out on the battlefield and “did his thing”. We don’t need validation from others. We get our validation from God. Only from Jesus.
Several years ago when I was still in Kansas City, in fact when I was in my internship there, a friend of mine had “let me have it”. She confronted me about a weak area in my personality and I was mortified that she had noticed some of my “issues”. For days I paced the empty aisles of the nightwatch prayer room like a woman on fire, pleading with Jesus to help me be more like Him. Jesus, you have to help me. Just get rid of this thing. Change me! Help! I wanted Jesus to make me like some of my fellow interns who were sweet and gentle all the time. You know, the ones who are quiet and don’t try to pick a fight with the cute guys in the internship. I wanted to not want to talk all the time and I definitely didn’t want to be loud and aggressive. Finally, the Lord had had enough and he spoke back to me, Brooke. I made you like this. I made you to be aggressive and communicative for a reason. I don’t want you to change who I’ve made you to be and I need you to trust me with the things that aren’t working. I gave you a sense of justice and a passion to make wrong things right. I made you an excellent communicator. I’ll fix the rest of it.
I confess that I am still, after all of these years, a work in progress. I put up walls of sarcasm and pride, get irritated easily and if I see some injustice happening, I consistently move ahead of God in resolving the issue instead of waiting for His timing and His heart in the matter. But I have come to learn that as frustrated as I become with myself sometimes, faith involves knowing and believing He is resolving those things in my heart that need to be healed and sanctified. I have come to the conclusion that He is the one that developed my personality and to covet someone elses personality would be an injustice in itself.
I think we can apply this to many areas of our lives. We can also covet a gifting that God has not actually given us. This is harmful for both the individual and the body of Christ. While someone is trying to operate in a gifting that the Lord has not given them, there is a deficit in another area of the body because they are using all of their energy trying to be someone they aren’t and not walking in the things the Lord has called them to do. A church wouldn’t hire a children’s pastor that feels awkward around kids. They wouldn’t let someone cook at church functions if they can’t boil water. When we fail to recognize we aren’t gifted in an area, we may end up being the one who serves cornbread that tastes like soap and making everyone in church gag (ask me about that story sometime).
The point is, don’t try to be someone you would like to be but just… aren’t. If several people have repeatedly told you that you are not gifted in what you are doing, first pray about it and ask Jesus if it is true. Listen honestly to the voice of the Holy Spirit and remain humble. It may be that there are areas you need to grow in before you are released in that area or maybe it’s something you would just really like to do and aren’t gifted at. That’s okay. It’s not the end of your life. The Lord has given you awesome gifts to serve the body, you just have to figure out what they are! This is an incredibly fun journey to have with the Lord. And whether you are shy and quiet or loud and obnoxious, remember that the Father created you with certain personality characteristics and you should own them! Yes, you may still need to work out a few weak spots but don’t walk in shame because you think you need to be someone else. He loves who you are!!
I don’t have a single thing to say nor is there a single thing that I could do that will make Abba love me more.
I could turn pirouettes or be covered in mud and yet He would still snatch me up in His arms and plant kisses all over my face.
When I am hard on myself, He still adores me.
When I am scared, He still adores me.
When I don’t trust Him, He still adores me.
He loves me when I’m a jerk. He loves me when I’m sweet.
He loves me when I have compassion and He loves me when I’m selfish.
He is for me when the people around me aren’t.
He sees the best when others see the worst.
I could run away but why would I? He is the only one that will never give up on me.
If we took ourselves, our agendas and all of our ideas and turned them backward, we would have the character of God.
He isn’t anything like us.
He isn’t concerned about building buildings. He isn’t concerned about our ambitions to be known, successful and recognized. He’s concerned about building people.
He’s concerned about building me into what He has called me to be so that I can bring glory to Him. Not to myself. Not to a ministry. But to Him.
12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
Song of Songs 4:12
Yes. I’m still on this Song of Songs journey and yes… it is still what I would consider “brutal”. There have been awesome, powerful encounters during this season and dry desert times and times of testing and times of waiting.
I’ve come to two conclusions: following Jesus is really hard and I’m not very good at it.
But you know what? He knew I wasn’t good at it when I began this journey (the technical version) two and a half years ago (oh my!). But who is really good at it? If you say you are good at following Jesus, than I’m sorry… you are a liar. Because none of us are good at it… our righteousness is like filthy rags to Him.
This journey is about Him turning us into lovers… both of His Son and of the church and of those that are lost and broken.
Now back to the “locked garden”.
I just have to say that I am so glad He helps me with things. I was thinking this weekend as I was spending time with Him by the lake that I will never ever be able to figure Him out. As hard as I might try… His greatness is truly unsearchable. It goes way beyond anything that I will ever understand. And even though I don’t see the whole picture, I want so much to really believe the truth… that He sees it. He sees right through all of the cloudy mirrors that I can’t get past.
I discovered this morning during my time in prayer that this is the season of the “locked garden” for me. What does that mean? A couple of weeks ago I received a word of knowledge that I was in a season of protection. That the Lord has exercised so much protection over me. This I have already known. I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life so clearly guiding and protecting me from bad situations… even if the rescue was painful at the time.
Now let me make things clear. I don’t think He’s guarding me from a bad situation right now. I think He’s thwarting any efforts for me to have my way because there is much healing that needs to take place. I also believe He’s taking this moment to speak to me about my destiny and to cultivate other things in my life. He is locking His garden of enjoyment and keeping me all to Himself for now. I’m okay with that. Like I said in the earlier post. This is a season of preparation and what better way to prepare than to know Him more?
As I was sitting on the floor in my bedroom this morning I heard the Lord ask me a question… no He shouted a question to me– “Do you know who you are???!!”, He said… “Do you know that you are My destiny?!” Wow. We are all His destiny… We are His prize… it is because of us that He endured the cross… we are the Joy set before Him. I want to give to Him the enjoyment that He was after as He hung on the cross. I want to believe that I am as enjoyable to Him as He says I am. I want to be the garden of His delight.
This is where the line is drawn.
He either takes it all or just a piece of me.
He either has my whole heart or just what I am willing to offer.
This is where I stand and refuse to look away from his torn, bloody, broken body beaten with love for me.
This is where I come to terms with my true identity.
I won’t appear a victim or martyr or dirty ugly rotten selfish whore.
This is where I leave my fathers house and come with open heart, satisfying the King’s desire for my beauty.