By Karen Friday
What things are you using to define you? Walk with me on this journey to discover four things that never define who you are, and truths to replace those lies.
4 Things That Never Define You
It seemed like she looked right through me.
You’re the pastor’s wife? You’re not what I expected.
Have you ever been anyone’s “not what I expected”?
If you’ve lived any amount of time on this earth, it’s highly likely. This certainly wasn’t my first rodeo for not meeting someone’s expectations, and it wouldn’t be my last.
All the wrong ways others attempt to define us, or the wrong ways we attempt to define ourselves, have circulated for countless ages. Really, these false dictionary-attempting claims started in the beginning and in our beginning.
Let’s look at four things, four R’s, that never define who we are. With each one, we discover how God defines who we are from the book of Truth.
People have roots from childhood and family experiences. Definitions are rooted in information that is sometimes misunderstood and misapplied.
Although I started going to church in elementary school, I didn’t have a spiritual upbringing or grounding in God’s Word. So when my parents divorced, I felt unseen, unheard and unloved.
But when I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior at sixteen, and was later mentored in college and as a woman, I began to grow spiritual roots.
Our root-system in Christ most accurately describes us: loved, chosen, forgiven, and redeemed.
If your childhood was cut off from a secure source of parents or family. If your teen and young adult years were spent in ways that caused root-damage. Or, if your marriage feels dried up instead of nourishing, the Lord is your source of nourishment for healthy roots, now.
As we walk closely with the Lord, we are rooted and established in the faith (Colossians 2:6-7).
Jesus establishes our correct identity in him.
Rejection can leave a hole in our soul wider than the Grand Canyon. Yet, we make the mistake of equating what is done to us as a title to wear. The actions of others should never pen the labels we stick on ourselves.
Rejection is an action, not a person. Rejection does not make me a reject.
On the flip side, acceptance is not only an action, but also a living being—God.
I’m patterned in the image of my Creator. Accepted. Valued. Precious.
God wants me.
The Lord pursues me.
God stays intimately connected to me.
The Father never disowns me.
As a pastor’s wife for eighteen years, I never met everyone’s ideals of how they defined the role. People are naturally fault-finders in the various roles of life into which we step, especially in the church and among believers.
Why is that? The enemy!
Satan enjoys it when we back-bite, criticize, and tear other Christians down instead of speaking life over each other. He throws a party of darkness when we speak death and negativity to others instead of encouraging wives, moms, working women and so on, in their roles.
Seriously, we hear various opinions on the right way to do just about everything—spiritually and otherwise.
But what if I started weighing criticism from people against who God says I am? Because the scales always tip toward “in Christ” where I’m a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
And what if I took my cue about who I am from the Great I AM?
Because my “roles” are blessings from the Lord. They were never meant to define me. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). This is who I am.
Like ruins from a natural disaster, many of us have times when personal ruins try to highlight the biographies of who we are.
Ruins are inevitable. Eventually our walls tumble. Buried beneath the rubble, we are unable to dig ourselves out. We need a Rescuer. One who promises to dig us out of the rubble and rebuild our lives.
When my ruins are wounds, God heals me.
When my ruins are imprisonment, Christ sets me free.
When my ruins are loss, the Lord comforts me.
When my ruins are brokenness, Jesus makes me whole.
Christ lifts me from the rubble and sets me on the stable Rock—Himself.
Wife Step: Reflect on ways you have let roots, rejections, roles and ruins define you. Where can you change your perspective to line up with God’s Word?
Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com
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