Authentic Identity…

Identity… It’s been like a foreign language to me… I was basically getting by in life because I trusted that those around me would translate what I heard but didn’t understand… Because, with their translations, then I’d feel stable and safe… And who actually cares if what they told me was true?… I mean, I trust those people, places and things… It’s where I was placing my confidence, security and identity…

For many of us, I believe, identity is like a foreign language…

We are in this great, big world searching for meaning, significance and purpose… And most of the time we choose to place our significance in the tangiblableness of life… The relationships, homes and institutes we are certain will always be there… Because they have simply always been there…

And we trust them so much, that we allow them to define who we are, what we do and what we will do one day… Never truly thinking, “what if they collapse?.. what if they fail me?”…

So then when a loved one dies, when we loose our job or when a relationship ends… Well, we don’t have a clue who we are anymore… It’s almost like we look around to listen for familiarity… For the things we are certain will keep us grounded and remind us “it will be alright”… But then we don’t understand what we hear anymore… Nothing makes sense… And so, we feel lost and confused, uncertain of who we are and what we are doing…

I feel like the questioning of “who am I/what am I doing?” has been a constant in my life… But it truly became a reality when I moved to Cali almost 3 years ago… And then it increased when my dad died unexpectedly…

Of course 2016 has truly been a year of it’s own… In January, God told me to leave my job without telling me where my next source of income would be… He basically put me on a “bread crumb” trail that’s led me to this moment (which hasn’t always been fun)… And then my grandparents (whom I’ve always relied on to be there) went into a nursing home, and their 40 year old ministry was closed… Then my mom put our families house on the market, which is so much closure concerning dad… Plus my closest aunt died unexpectedly, causing my mom to become even more depressed and afraid…

And so, in the midst of the instability of life, I’ve begun to realize I can’t really rely on people, places and things to keep me stable and safe anymore… Because they are as unstable as I am… Here one moment, gone the next…

Now, I’m going to be honest… All of the uncertainty has caused me to be a teary-eyed mess at times… To be a little mean and feel a lot of insecurity… Because each time something I believed provided stability has been shaken loose from my foundation, I’ve looked around for something, anything to cling onto…

And it was a learning curve at first, but I believe I’ve actually discovered what I can always rely on… The one source of life that reminds me who I am and gives me confidence to know whatever happens, it will be ok because He will always be who He is…

And I’ve heard it hundreds of thousands of times in church, but no one ever actually taught me what it means to have security in God… To find my identity in Him… I can say it all day long, but it wasn’t until the things I’ve always relied on in life failed me that I experienced this security, confidence and identity…

And too me, well it’s more than just God… Because He is so vast, so complex, so memorizingly authentic at His core… Because identity has so many parts that make it what it is… So having my identity in God means I am drawing my confidence and security from His love, His peace, His patience, His perseverance… From the attributes that make Him who He is… They are actually making me who I am…

Plus, the amazing thing about authentic identity… It’s universal and eternal… I’m learning that it can’t be moved, shaken or destroyed… Because once we grasp it’s authenticity at it’s core, we can be certain we will always be secure and safe… Even when life takes an unexpected turn…

Unshaken Identity…

Identity… It seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life lately…

Who am I?… Where is my foundation rooted?… Why is it rooted there?… Are the things which it’s rooted in eternally stable and firm?

I feel as though this entire year should be themed “shaken”… Because I feel like God keeps allowing my life, my very foundation to be shaken at its core…

And it’s not enough to lay in bed at night and feel the shaking my soul is experiencing…

Because I feel like each month has presented me with a reality that reveals my identity has been held within people, places, things… Parents, grandparents, homes, cities, ministries…

My security has been trapped in too many tangible things…

And in the midst I feel so selfish… So self-absorbed… Because, in some ways, well I want to hold-on to the tangible, to what I’ve always known… Because those things have always been there to keep me safe… To protect me…

Or at least I think they have…

So then… Then how do I take all of this… The places my soul feels like it’s journeyed to while being shaken… How do I take all of this and stand with a firm, unshaken identity?…

Because, as the shaking has occurred… Well, it’s revealed God on an entirely different level to me… His compassion, His selflessness, His love, His peace and His joy… They’ve all been there waiting… As each tangible player in my foundation has been shaken loose… God has revealed Himself to me in another way…

And I seem to realize… Identity…. I believe it’s universal… That we are all universally searching for intangible, eternal truth about who we are at our core…

Yes, we are all different… But, deep within, I believe we are created to connect to essential truths that make God who He is… And to allow those truths to become the key components of our foundation… Of our identity…

Because with them… With those intangible pieces and parts, well I believe we are made completely confident and secure…

And then, when tragedy, confusion and life become a reality… Well we are left in a secure place… Confidently knowing, deep within, that our core is solid and whole… That it is completely and wonderfully unshaken…

Story and Identity…

Recently I sat asking myself questions about me…

In the midst, there was a statement asking for a description of a life experience I’ve been through that’s completely shaped who I am…

So, I sat there for a moment… And thought… Because I truly wanted to give an honest answer…

And so I decided that watching my father die had actually shaped me the most… Because it was the most heartbreaking, yet fascinating moment of my life… I can’t replace it with anything… It was amazing and significant to watch, and it truly changed me from the inside out… I will never be the same…

From that moment… Death, the reality of it… Well it became a part of my story…

Our story is who we are… The light… The dark… The pain… The smiles… The ups… The downs… The backwards… The forwards… The regret… The joy…

All that we experience, it’s contained within us… Within our story of life… And our story continues to go as we continue to live… Because it exists as we exist…

And when we are gone… Well hopefully we left such a story, a truth, realities of life that it’s all very worth sharing…

Because can you imagine not knowing?… Not understanding a person for who he or she really is or was?… We do it every single day… Everywhere we go, I believe we judge mostly because we don’t know what’s stored in the depth of another… The light that can be found beneath all of the darkness… Whatever it may be… It is there…

Of course… I equally believe the fullness of life comes through God’s love and the grace of Jesus… But then what?…  Then how do we actually figure out who we are?… What’s past love and grace?… What does that grace card actually grant us access too?… And how do we begin to actually live amazing, fulfilling, truly authentic lives?…

I believe identity is the solution… Because, when we begin to capitalize on what it means to just be us and to be us really, really well… Well, we can discover our identity is found in our story because it is who we are… Our strengths and weaknesses… The way in which we choose to handle life then versus now…

And so then we can come to a place where we judge a little less… Accept and embrace one another a little more… And choose to actually give the person next to us a sense of selflessness, rather than a sense of judgement and inferiority…

Life from the Canyontop… 

I had a vision of myself recently… I was standing on a canyontop… The wind was blowing fiercely and there was a great drop from the top of where I stood…

That’s when I decided… Aside from what I was feeling… Aside from the spiritual shaking going on all around… Well I decided to stand firm…

Two days ago I was able to experience the Grand Canyon… And I willingly walked out to a very far edge… The wind was fiercely blowing… It could’ve knocked me down…

And then… Then I was hit with the realization of the past month… The course of all that I felt in the midst of life shaking… Of the winds blowing so strongly…

And I couldn’t help but begin to cry… Because in that moment I was so encouraged…

Encouraged to see what I saw a month ago become a reality… A reality that reminded me that standing strong… Standing firm… Standing on the faith of the florishing canyontop… In the midst of the shaking… In the midst of the loss of control… In the midst of the constant unknown…

Well that continuing to stand was the best choice…

And it’s almost like… For the first time… Well I felt like I’ve become the woman I want to be… Or more of her…

Because in the midst of the shaking… Well I realized the it was simply wind… And the wind was simply the movement of the Holy Spirirt…

And though life felt so shaky… (Yes I had one panicked/nervous/nauseous/anxious breakdown)… Well I choose to let Him move… To let Him just move and reorganize life the way He thought it best…

And now… Now I find myself more confident than ever in the truth that standing… Standing in the midst of what seems to be adversity is the best… And that sometimes the adversity of life is brought on by the Holy Spirit’s movement…

And if I just choose to remain calm and stand… Well then I can watch life from the top of the canyon… And stand in amazement of all of God’s goodness and glory…

And I’m ok what that…

When It’s All Shaking…

 If I have to be real… Real and honest… Well then that means I should just go ahead and talk about the things I want to carry… The things that are entirely too heavy for me…I find myself in a place where I want to become overwhelmed… Because isn’t that human nature?… Or so we’ve been taught…

From leaving my job a month ago to pursue something else… To discovering my family and life back home is a complete mess… To not knowing what’s next in my life or their’s…

Well in truth this whole thing is teaching me security… Where it’s found where it’s held…

Because I’ve always had this thing called a safey net… My grandparents… My parents… Or really I guess my mom now…

And then dad died and I thought I learned how to have complete trust and security in God… In His plan… In His provision…

But now… Now that life is once again evolving… Now that at least 10 curve balls have been batted my way… Well I find myself realizing that I’ve still been grasping onto security in other things…

In the job I had… In my grandparents… In their ministry… In my mom… In so many things we’re taught will always “be there” to catch us if we “fall”…

But now I’m learning that these things… These things I’ve held onto… And I honestly didn’t realize I was grasping them this tightly… Well they’re all being shaken… Shaken so hard…

So hard that when I lay in bed at night I can feel shaking all around me.. It’s constant… And I have to check to see if there’s been an earthquake… But then I realize it’s only the spirit realm around me…

And it’s moving so, so very much…

And that’s why I find myself in this moment… This moment where choosing to feel overwhelmed seems like the obvious choice… This moment where I see this big red button labeled “panic” and I want to run full speed at it and press it…

But… But then I’m reminded by God… Over and over He keeps reminding me that that’s not faith and trust… That He… He is my Father… That He loves me so very much…

And that if I just simply choose to trust Him… Well life will work itself out… And that He’s brought me to this place… A place where I can’t allow myself to fear anymore… A place where I just need to believe with my entire being that He is in control…. Even if what’s happening wasn’t part of His plan… It will work out for good…

And I am beginning to believe that more and more… And I want that to be my lifestyle… As I just live….