For as long back as I can remember, if you asked me, “Who are you?”, I would answer back with a response fitting with the life I was currently living at that time, but always the thing that portrayed me in the best light. The earliest I can think back to this was in middle school- who I was was consistently defined by my accomplishments and positive attributes of the time.
“I’m a straight A student.”
“I’m a varsity tennis player.”
“I’m a college student.”
Think about it for a second – if someone asked you who you are, what would you say? If you are anything like me, you’d stutter for a quick second trying to grasp at your most recent cool experience or fish out a compliment someone gave you and weave your identity around that. Here’s where I find the problem:
In rooting our identity to society’s interpretation of our potentials, passions, and pursuits, we are allowing a fallen world to dictate our eternal worth.
This world is beautiful, but it’s fallen- we know this since Adam and Eve. When we base the depths of our souls on the superficiality of a name rooted in the accomplishments of this world, we are leaving the beautiful and most intricate parts of us nameless, and thus not identified.
Portrayal vs. Reality
“It is important to recognize these self-commentaries for the mind tricks they are. They have nothing to do with our real dignity. How we view ourselves at any given moment may have very little to do with who we are.” – Gerald May
Story time: When my parents divorced back when I was in high school, I [outwardly] handled it extremely well. I was varsity tennis captain, had great friends, was accepted into the 4-year college of my dreams, and was riding into my senior year of high school. I was, for all intents and purposes, well-adjusted. I told myself it was going to be fine, that I was going to be fine, and that because I said so, so it was. Looking back now, this was a mind trick. I tricked my own self and others around me that I was fine, but when in reality I was internally breaking, and broke in a way that still affects me to this day.
How I viewed myself was starkly different than who I actually felt like in that moment. Those days were before I knew my true identity, as a child of God.
The Enemy’s Greatest Threat
So, who am I? And what can I root in so deeply that even in the biggest storms of life, that identity would not waiver?
Let’s keep it as simple as possible: GOD.
God never waivers; God always keeps His promises; God acts and responds and loves out of a tender and compassionate heart that only wants what’s best for his children, and I am his child. Intricately woven together, piece by piece. No mistakes, no accidents.
“My dignity as Abba’s child is my most coherent sense of self.” – Brennan Manning
I am convinced that the biggest and best counter to evil is for each child of God to assert their true authority as His BELOVED. I am BELOVED by the Creator, and if I only lived out each and every day in that assurance, evil would stand no chance on this earth.
Definition of beloved // noun. – a much loved person.
Knowing you are beloved and living as the beloved are two completely different things. A year ago I could have told you with 100% truth in my voice that God loves me, and that I love him back. Was I living in that truth? Most definitely not. I relied heavily on my friends approval, societal acceptance, and accomplishments to reassert my worth.
More recently, that’s changed. More recently, tenderness has infiltrated a heart ravaged by pain and fear. I’ve allowed compassion to chip away at the walls I’ve put up, and have been asking the question – “What’s it look like to live beloved?” The answer has been the most challenging and simple arrival of my life.
Becoming the Beloved
“Becoming the Beloved is pulling the truth revealed to me from above down into the ordinariness of what I am, in fact, thinking of, talking about, and doing from hour to hour.” – Henri Nouwen
So that’s just it? Bring God into every single decision/aspect of my life and live forever as the Beloved? Basically, yes, but man is that so hard. I falter more than words can say – most recently, this morning, when I drove into work and had some choice words for the person who cut me off…. surely the Beloved doesn’t act that way, right?
Ahh, but there’s just it- there is no prerequisite or disqualifier to being the Beloved child of God, we became that when we were born. We live it every single day, even when we don’t realize it.
The way we see lives transformed and the Kingdom advanced and heaven brought to Earth is when we try, each and every day, to live as His Beloved son or daughter, and draw even nearer to Him and His heart.
Being the Beloved doesn’t mean being perfect, it means allowing Him past the brokenness, to love us right where we are. And that’s not easy, and it’s not meant to be.
Like I said before, I am convinced that an army of Beloved’s are the biggest threat to the darkness. So I’m doing my part.
When I am challenged by societal standards, I am BELOVED.
When I am rejected by this world, I am BELOVED.
When I stand out and make a scene for the Kingdom, I am BELOVED.
When I don’t feel worthy, I am BELOVED.
When I don’t feel loved, I am BELOVED.
My identity doesn’t shift with the winds anymore – my identity is rooted in the Maker of the winds.
If this is new or hard for you, I completely understand (cause I was there).
Invite God in.
Ask Him to meet you where you are.
Recognize with wondrous awe that He’s been with you.
Ask Him where to go next.
But most importantly-
Go as His Beloved.
partner with Jesus >> be the vessel
[Author’s Note: Want more information on the Beloved, and being a child of God? Pick up Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning- that inspired quite a bit of my heart behind the post.]