Earlier this week, I watched a video that a friend sent me…it was pretty thought provoking and inspiring. In the video, the speaker was challenging her group to identify what was in them and what their purpose was. She challenged them with questions like, “Who are you?”, “What is your purpose?”, “What holds you back?”…dang girl! “Who are you?” That has always been a super hard question for me and I think for most people. “Who am I?” It took me days just to write my “About Gretchen” post for this sparkly new blogsite that I’m so proud of… When put on the spot, the identity question can be a really tough one to answer.
The thing about ‘I am’, is that it’s talking about who you are at your core. I love coffee and deep blue skies that go on for days. I love the ocean, converse tennis shoes and sci fi…I hate pain and sickness and certain kinds of country music. But this list doesn’t define me. A list of likes and dislikes is easier to share but it’s just the peripheral of who we really are.
Most of us either don’t like or don’t know how to look inside and see our core. And when we do look, what we see scares us and can cause shame or guilt. Or what we see is unimpressive. If what you see makes you cringe, fails to inspire, or makes you angry – then you’re looking at the wrong things. Most likely you’re seeing behaviors not identity.
And there is a difference! Behaviors can change. Attitudes can change. Beliefs and mindsets can change. When we peel back the peripheral layers we get to the heart of who we are. What makes us shine? What makes our heart beat with anticipation and excitement? When we are at our best, what comes out of us? That moment, that situation when you were in a groove and it just felt good. What were you doing? Who were you impacting? What was coming out of you then?
God was really clear in how He ‘fearfully and wonderfully made‘ you. But all too often, we don’t give ourselves permission to identify what makes us so wonderful.
Then this fantastic lady in the video, Jennie Allen, she nails it. We want to package ourselves so that those around us will approve. Our parents. Our friends. Our coworkers..our kids. And even our rebellion toward approval can be carefully crafted to get the exact response we want from those around us. So chew on that, those of you who prescribe to being “free-spirited” and “not caring” what others think of you. Of course we care…it’s just in us.
“Even our rebellion toward approval can be carefully crafted to get the exact response we want from those around us…”
However, I do believe that it’s important to steward how much we care and how we let others opinions or perceived opinions affect us. Identity and personal value is a big deal and it’s important for each of us that it be anchored in the truth of who we are because…life will come. It brings great beauty and joy, excitement and adventure. It also brings storms, difficult times that can easily knock you off your foundation – so do yourself a favor and get anchored in truth.
And here I am…first official post on my new blog, so I feel a bold freedom to paint this canvas with whatever I want and I’m choosing to answer those questions…
I am… (Do you know that that’s God’s name? That’s how He defines himself to Moses? I AM…gives me shudders every time!) I am Gretchen. I am intense and deep. I am a warrior and a champion and I identify with movies like Gladiator and Braveheart… I am complex and unique. I’m fierce and passionate and will surprise you with tenderness and tears when you least expect it. I am a leader. I am honest and vulnerable. I am confident and powerful. I am His in more ways than I ever thought possible. I am a mom. I am a wife and life partner. I am courageous and undaunted. I am bigger on the inside than on the outside…for now. I am a teacher, a counselor, a daughter, a friend. I am a servant.
My purpose is to draw you into yours. Some people were made for that and I am one of them. I am gifted as a leader to inspire and motivate. My purpose is to connect you with the heart of God in such a way that you can’t help but respond to His call. My purpose is to lead the way in the deeper things of God; connection, relationship and empowerment. I’m learning that my purpose is to propel other leaders into the fullness of their calling. I was born to share His heart.
What holds me back? Everything that holds people back on any given day. Fear. Rejection. Inadequacy. Lack of focus. Lack of coffee. Laziness. Excuses. Lots of excuses.. No connections, not smart enough, too old, too young, overweight, not enough money…etc. There’s always something.
But what if? What if God is bigger than your fears? (as Jennie Allen asked) What if He’s bigger than my lack and my inadequacy? He is. He is bigger. Flat out. I mean, His name is I AM. He says in Isaiah 46,
“I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me….My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please…. What I have said, that I will bring about; What I have planned, that I will do.”
Wow. Sounds like He means business. I have some excuses. And they are weak and feeble. So it’s my weak and feeble up against, “I will do all that I please”? Ummm…yeah…I don’t stand a chance.
And possibly, neither do you…
Who are you? What’s your purpose? What holds you back? What has He said to you? What has He planned for you?
I’d love to hear what this post stirs for you in the comments section below and if you feel your heart is restless, please consider checking out Jennie Allen’s bible study that inspired this post : Restless
Until next time…