Romans 5:8, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Timothy 2:21, Romans 8:37, Isaiah 61:10
While the month of October has many things to look forward to, Halloween is my favorite. There is something so fun about dressing up and eating way too much candy. For one night you get to embrace a new identity- maybe a princess, a teacher, the pink power ranger, a box of crayons, etc. The options are limitless! However, I think I enjoy dressing up during Halloween because I perfect my skill of dressing up all year long.
Playing dress up was (and is) so fun! However, God has taught me over the years that there is both a healthy way and an unhealthy way to play dress up. For many years I lived playing dress up the unhealthy way.
Pretending to be Super Woman and fight all of my own battles. Pretending to be Cinderella, waiting for a prince to come in, sweep me off of my feet, and take away all of my problems and worries. Pretending to be Wonder Woman and take on more than my capacity could hold because “I could do anything.”
I would wake up in the morning and put on one identity. I would go to work and put on another one. I would go to school and put on another one. I would come home and put on another one. I’d do homework and another one goes on. But as I kept putting on these identities for the different roles I played, the costumes began to layer themselves, becoming restrictive and suffocating. Pretty soon, I was so weighed down that I could not take the next step. I was so wrapped up in my identities of what I did that I forgot who I was.
Thankfully, God lovingly tells us in the Word all about our one true identity.
First, we are loved. God loves us directly for who He created us to be. Romans 5:8 declares, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God sees us, without any identity on other than the one He gave us, and chooses to love us. We are loved deeply, richly, incomprehensibly in our sin and in our righteousness that Jesus’ blood gives to us.
Then, He tells us that we are chosen daughters of the King, royalty. First Peter 2:9 says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” He has made us royalty, giving us places of privilege and influence in the domains of our everyday life so that we can proclaim His good news.
We are called, separated, holy vessels. Second Timothy 2:21 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” We are useful tools for the Kingdom of God!
We are more than conquerors. Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” This is better than putting on a Wonder Woman outfit! We have the Spirit of the Savior of the world that dwells within us! He has already conquered, so we live victoriously in His victory!
Now that we know who we are (loved, children, holy vessels, more than conquerors), what outfits does God give us? Isaiah 61:10 says, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exalt in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” We can wake up each morning knowing what we are going to wear, righteousness and salvation. They are not of our own, but they are from the very closet of God.
So each day, we can continue filling the roles God has called us to while putting on the identity that He gives. The identity of a believer lies with Jesus Christ and His accomplished work on the Cross. May we go forth choosing to live in the identity that Christ gives us as it is far more than all we could ever imagine.
We are on the brink of my absolute favorite time of year. Having lived in East Tennessee for all 21 of my years, I can honestly say that I never get tired of fall in these mountains. I could spend hours describing my favorite sights, sounds, and smells (pumpkin, pumpkin, and…um…pumpkin), but let’s be honest, you would have to experience it yourself to really appreciate the beauty of it all. But this fall is a little bit different for me. For me this is a fall of lasts.
My last football games as a University of Tennessee student.
Last fall in my undergraduate career.
Potentially my last fall in Knoxville (who knows where I’ll end up come May).
It’s also a fall of firsts.
First fall in 2 years spent without one particular significant individual in my life.
First fall spent combing through job postings.
First fall looking into graduate programs.
Mostly, this is my first fall realizing that I do not have any idea what the next fall will hold.
If you know me, you know I’m a planner. If we have a dinner date scheduled, I want to know when and where we are going, how we’re getting there, what I’m going to order, and I want to know a week in advance (okay, that’s a bit of a stretch but you get the idea). And up until this point in my life, up until this new season the Lord has placed me in, I have always had a plan. Now obviously I haven’t known every single detail, but I’ve had a general idea of what my next steps looked like and in what direction I was headed.
When I was in middle school, I knew I was moving on to high school.
From high school to college.
From freshman year, to sophomore, to junior, to senior, to…..
Oh. Wait. No clue.
Do I have an idea of where I want to be and how I want to get there? Yeah, sure. Vaguely. Am I scared? Yes. Terrified. Am I trusting God with my lack of a plan? With my unknown? Well. Here’s the thing….
But it is so much harder than it sounds.
I wish I was going through this situation with the attitude of Abraham. In Genesis 22, God speaks to Abraham and essentially says, “Hey Abraham. I’m gonna need you to kill your son. Yeah, Isaac, you’re only son. Do it tomorrow, I’ll show you where.” (Genesis 22:1-2, Sarah-phrased) And from what we see in scripture, Abraham essentially says, “Okay.”
He didn’t ask why. He didn’t ask for more details. He didn’t ask to put it off. He didn’t ask for God’s reasoning behind His request. He just obeyed.
He obeyed an order that (had God not intervened//see rest of chapter 22) would have ended the life of his own son.
Call me crazy, but if Abraham can trust God with a situation like that—if he could trust the Lord enough to be willing to place his own child on an altar meant for a sacrifice—I should be able to trust God with the next 7 months of my life.
So in this season I’m in—though I want to call it a season of trial, of wandering, of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress—I’m going to make it a season of trust. A season of leaning into Him, His Word, His love, and His plan. Because though times of uncertainty rack us with doubt and hopelessness, His Word restores clarity and proves His faithfulness.
Lord, make me an Abraham.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, Romans 5:3-5, Ezekiel 36:25-26
I’m sure we all have all seen the Instagram posts of #psl #itsfallyall or #bootsandscarves. I can’t help but get excited for fall! It is my favorite season for so many reasons!
I love the fresh crisp air, the leaves, pumpkin everything (had to throw that in there), bonfires, football, and the list keeps going and going.
I love new seasons and the change that it brings. It brings new life and growth. And much like the seasons of weather, we have seasons in our spiritual lives. Maybe the Lord has you in a fall season, full of color, energy, beauty and freshness. Maybe he has you in the harsh, cold, bitter, feels like it’s never going to end season of winter. Maybe he has you in the springtime, full of redemption, growth, life, and newness. Maybe you feel like you are in the scorching heat and dryness of the summer. Whatever season you are in right now, know that God wants you there, right there, and that He is teaching you something through that.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”
In those seasons of great joy and happiness we need to remember to give thanks to our God. We can take the blessings He has given us for granted, thinking we are deserving, or simply just being so focused on ourselves. It’s in these times we have to remember the grace He has shown us. Every day we should wake up thanking God for another opportunity to bring glory to His name.
Have you ever been caught in a giant snow storm? It creates so much chaos! Especially here in the south when 2 inches can all but shut down the entire city. It is astounding to think that something that creates so much chaos also brings so much beauty. The pure white snow glistening off the trees, untouched by tire marks and footprints is one of my favorite things about winter.
Romans 5:3-5 says “And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.”
Sometimes we have to walk through a season of chaos to reap the harvest of our sowing.
The colors of spring after the long winter remind me of life and redemption. Maybe you are in a season of the Lord healing those dark places of your heart. Be reminded of this promise from Ezekiel 36:25-26, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” We are not identified by our past. We are a new creation in Jesus Christ. Allow the Spirit to move in your heart as you seek and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Summer days are usually associated with all good things-pool and lake days, slushies and ice cream, vacation and free time. But maybe yours feels more like a miserable heat that you just can’t shake. Hear this promise from 1 Peter 1:7, “These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may results in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Your faith is being refined in these seasons of hard times so that you are stronger and more equipped in your faith. Remember that God is with you in the fire and he will bring you out (Daniel 3:19-28).
We can learn something from every season of life. You may not understand in the midst of that season what the Lord could be teaching you, but with each season brings growth in ways you’ve never thought.