You are known. You are valued. It might even be you are seen for who you are and what you have done. I don’t know a person who doesn’t want those things. As human beings, it’s likely your desire to be taken seriously and to be valued for who God created you to be.
Again, I don’t know a person who feels complete when he or she feels marginalized. Settling for less than who you know you truly are, robs us of wholeness.
The writer of the Psalms agrees.
“…I praise you because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14).
You are uniquely created by God. You are one of God’s great accomplishments.
The Baptism of Jesus
The story of the baptism of Jesus affirms it as well. “…And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22).
When you are baptized, you are claimed by God and given a purpose. In fact, God says, “You are mine and I am proud of you.”
Even though you have been “remarkably and wonderfully made” and have been claimed by God as God’s very own, there are times you don’t live into who God has created you to be. Sometimes you just want to fit in because it is too painful or difficult to stand out. So, you live into less than who God intends for you. Sometimes, you conform to a group’s standards because you “don’t want to draw attention to yourself,” or “rock the boat,” or “that’s the way things are done.” So, you give up a part of yourself to be a part of the group.
God has created you with unique talents that are to be used for God’s purposes. But there are times you don’t explore or live into what gives you meaning and purpose because you feel selfish or you feel like you are taking a place that does not belong to you.
Who Are You?
I know how you feel, and I know what you are thinking. I have lived much of my life with a false humility, saying that “I’m not good enough” or afraid to step out and lead, when deep inside knowing that it’s God’s goodness, not mine, that matters and that I have been given certain strengths and talents to lead in a particular and needed way. A few years ago, just to survive, I had to accept God’s claim on my life and live into the uniqueness of my personality and strengths.
I went through a season of rediscovering myself and who God had created me to be. As I listened to God say, “You are my child. I love you and I am proud of you,” I heard friends and colleagues say, “We believe in you.” Sometimes, to become who God created you to be, you have to answer the question, “What does it mean when someone believes in you when you do not believe in yourself?”
I don’t know what season of life or leadership you are in at this point in time, but I do know that to be whole and to be at peace with yourself and with others, to be who God created you to be, you have to be clear about who you are and your purpose in life.
So, here is what I want you to do. This is for you and it is not hard to do. I want you to take a few minutes to focus upon yourself and reflect upon what follows.
Live into Your Name
As a Jesus follower, accept Who You Are. You have a name. Live into your name. Let’s do it this way.
Ross Marrs tells the story of being a teenager. Before he went out on a date or to be with his friends, his dad you say, “Come here, Son. What is your name?”
“What is your last name?”
His dad then would ask, “How do you spell that?”
Ross would reply, “M-A-R-R-S.”
His dad would say, “Does that sound like Smith, Altizer, or Miller?”
Ross would reply, “No.”
Then his dad would say, “So, be a Marrs. Behave as a Marrs.”
As a Jesus follower, your name is Christian. How do you spell that? C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N. Accept who you are. You will become who you were created to be as you live into your name. Reflect upon how you can live more into your name as Christian.
Be At Home With God and With God’s Children.
You have a home where you are not a stranger or a guest but God’s beloved child.
You will become more who God created you to be when you allow God to shape your life and your living through relationships, through the people around you. Sometimes God will shape you through family, sometimes through friends, other times through colleagues or co-workers, and often times through strangers or enemies.
Take time to notice where God is showing up in the people around you. Experience God’s love through your children, grandchildren, spouse, nieces and nephews. Begin to live as God’s beloved child and be generous with God’s other children who are loved as well. Become vulnerable in your relationships so that your heart and arms are open to God in and through your interactions. As you look for God, you will become more at home with God.
Isaac Watts wrote these words:
Your sure provision gracious God attend me all my days.
Oh, may your house be my abode, and all my work be praise.
Here would I find a settle rest, while others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest, but like a child at home.
As a Jesus follower, you have a home. Your home is God. You will become who you were created to be when you are at home with God. Reflect upon how you can become more at home with God and God’s children.
You Have A Purpose.
Your purpose is God’s business.
You become who you were created to be when you see yourself involved in God’s business. Claim this reality: You have been chosen by God. You are God’s daughter, you are God’s son, you are loved. God is proud of you. There is nothing you can do to earn God’s choosing or to deserve God’s love. God has already named you and claimed you. But you can decide to be about God’s business.
As a Jesus follower, living into your name and being at home with God, you have the opportunity and responsibility to live as a loving, caring, healing, feeding, living, dying, rising child of God.
Look at Jesus, still wet from his baptism, he left the Jordan and went about God’s business. Every crying person, every brokenhearted person, every hungry person, every diseased person, every alienated person, every suffering person was his business. God’s business was his business. He was to serve the needs of every human being.
As a Jesus follower, your purpose is God’s business. Want to become who you are created to be? Give yourself to the purpose for which you were created. Reflect upon how God has created you and how you were created to be a part of God’s business.
If you’d like a little help with these reflections. Take the 5 question quiz we put together. Determine your “Season” of following Jesus and uncover your next step to grow as a Jesus follower.
What’s Your Business?
Let me wrap it up with this. My friend, Fred, tells the story of being a pastor, in a small town, early in his ministry. The town’s population was about 450 people on a good day. He also said there were four churches in that town, with each church having its share of the population.
He said the best and most consistent attendance in town was at the little café where all men gathered on Sunday morning. While their wives and children were in one of four churches, the men discussed the weather, their cattle, their crops, etc. Although the church attendance would rise and fall according to the weather or to times of harvest, the café had consistently good attendance. Better attendance than some of the churches. The men were always there.
Fred said the patron saint of the group at the café was Frank. Frank was a seventy-seven years old man when Fred met him. He was a good man, a strong man, a farmer, and a cattleman. He had “pulled himself up by his bootstraps” and had earned his credentials. All the men at the café considered him their leader. Fred said, “I heard one man laugh and say, ‘Old Frank will never go to church.’”
One day Fred met Frank on the street. They visited for a few minutes before Frank took the offensive. He said, “I work hard, I take care of my family, and I mind my own business.” He said that as far as he was concerned, everything else was fluff. Fred said, “I took what he said as, ‘Leave me alone; I’m not a prospect.’”
So, Fred did not bother Frank. But Fred said, “I was surprised, indeed the church was surprised, and the whole town was surprised, and the men at the café were absolutely bumfuzzled, when old Frank, seventy-seven years old, presented himself before me one Sunday morning for baptism.”
There were some in the community who said that Frank must be sick and that he must be scared to meet his maker. Others said, “He has heart trouble. I never thought old Frank would ever go up to be baptized.”
Fred said he and Frank were talking the day after his baptism and Fred asked him, “Frank, do you remember that little saying you used to give me? ‘I work hard, I take care of my family, and I mind my own business?’”
Frank replied, “Yeah, I remember. I said that a lot.”
Fred asked, “Do you still say that?”
“Then what’s the difference?”
Frank replied, “Back then I didn’t know what my business was.”
Frank discovered his business was God’s business. He went into the water minding his own business but came out of the water minding God’s business.
Want to become who God created you to be? Live into your name, become at home with God, and give yourselves to God’s business. It is with God and God’s business that you will find peace within yourself and in your relationships.