Friday, October 01, 2004


Since I've been here, we've been talking a lot about our identities in Him. I've come to see that we often put ourselves into little "bins" and assume that we can never be anything different. Or maybe someone in our lives has told us that we are a certain thing and we believe that, even though it's not the identity that God gave us Himself.

For instance. The last quarter of first grade and the first quarter of second grade, my teachers gave me excellent grades, but they checked the box that said that I lacked self-control. I didn't know then, and still don't know now what I was doing that caused that marking...but since then, I've spent a great deal of energy in trying to stay in control of myself. For over 20 years, I have taken as my identity that of one who lacks self-control. What I've learned from some of my co-workers here is that I shouldn't look to other people to find out who and what I am - I should look to the One who created me with a purpose in mind.

So I've asked Him who I am in regards to this particular issue of self-control and I've come to see that He has made me to be precise. I like to say what I mean and mean what I say, and I like to hold others to the same standard. Denotation has always been more important than connotation. Being technically accurate in a musical piece has always been more important than instilling any emotion or dynamic to it. And while, as I grow older, I see the benefit to giving the grace that comes with connotation and with dynamic and emotion, I still feel very strongly about ensuring precision in discussions. When I get into a discussion, I often feel like there's something that I _need_ to say, but for various reasons, I usually try to keep it to myself. Part of it is a fear that I'll cry, which I do when moved by any strong emotion, but especially anger or frustration (common emotions in discussions). Part of it is a fear that I'll be the only one standing up for what I see to be is right. A lot of it is the fear that I'm completely wrong and will make a fool of myself. So I try to control my tongue...and by that I mean, I try not to say anything. But what usually ends up happening is that eventually I burst and say all that I'd bottled up inside of myself...but instead of saying it in a loving, tactful, and controlled manner, it spills out in anger or frustration. That spilling over only reinforces the idea that I need to better control my tongue and just not say anything....when in reality, I just need to trust that He's giving me these words to say, and I need to learn to say them in a loving and tactful manner.

What I thought of as a flaw, and what the Accuser has been having a field day with for most of my life, is really a strength that He has given me to be used for His purposes in truth telling.

I honestly don't know where the idea was introduced into my mind that I'm clumsy, but it's there. It has been for as long as I can remember. That's one of the main reasons that I gave up on my dream of being a ballerina at six years old (the other reason being that Maria Tallchief (a famous prima donna) had started at three and here I was at the advanced age of six so obviously I could never be great, and therefore, why even try?). It doesn't seeem to matter how often people tell me that I have great poise...I still think of myself as clumsy. I'm still asking God about that one.

How many times has some well-meaning person told you, "you're just not very good at that, are you?" And you've believed it about yourself? Maybe they said that you just weren't as smart as the other kids, or you just don't have any athletic talent, or that you're tone deaf, two left feet, black thumb, rotten cook, you're a screw up or a failure, you're too fat/thin, ugly, have a big nose, bad hair, sickly....I could go on for a long time...and you've been weighed down by that thing (or those things) for your whole life.

It's very liberating to just ask Him, "I've believed for a long time that I am this way and that there's nothing I can do about it. But who do _You_ say that I am? Who and/or what did _You_ make me to be?" And then just wait for the answer and _accept_ it when it comes (that's usually the hardest part).

And if you go away singing "Who am I? Can I condemn this man to slavery? Pretend I do not see his agony - this innocent who bears my face who goes to judgement in my place? Who am I? Can I conceal myself forevermore? Pretend I'm not the man I was before. My soul belongs to God, I know. I made that bargain long ago. He gave me hope when hope was gone, He gave me strength to journey on....who am I? I'm Jean Valjean! And so Javert, you see it's true - that man bears no more guilt than you! Who am I? 2-4-6-0-1!!!" Well, then you've listened to or watched Les Mis too many times too. ;p

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