One of the most freeing things in life is the ability to be who you are. Taking off the mask of perfection and revealing the “real you” to those around you is real freedom. There is no show to keep up with, no facade…we are flawed. But, in Christ, not hopelessly so. We have a NEW identity! We are NEW in Christ and He is our life! As I sit here and write I am filled with joy at this truth. While I have not practiced this perfectly, God has grown me in this area through the years and I am grateful. He has freed me to serve others and respond with grace with little fear of being belittled…when I am focused on Him and fully aware of His love for me.
But, there are times when I develop some insecurities in my service or feel taken for granted, even in my home, that I cling to wanting respect or gratitude expressed to me instead of running to Christ in my weakness. Then, my weakness shows up in sinful frustration or disappointment instead of the beautiful dependence that I should be characterized by.
Fitzpatrick stated, “…we might forget who we are and respond instead in self-righteousness, a craving for respectability, or even a faithless self-loathing.”
I wish I didn’t so easily relate to this. For me, it is mostly a craving to be respected or appreciated. When that is missing, especially when I am tired or far from the Lord due to busyness, I can be reduced to tears. If only, I could remember the freedom there is in being a Christian. I am free to be who I am, weakness and all. And, why am I free to do so? Because God has loved me in Christ, even when I sin…even when I fail. Fitzpatrick wrote, “I’ve got a faithful heavenly Father who has adopted me…He has made me His own; that’s all that matters.”
I have read the next quote before, yet even now, it is such a wonderful reminder of the truth of who I am. It reads, “We are, each one, more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope.” Amazing.
Fitzpatrick also writes, “The questions that occupy our hearts should not be why don’t my kids respect me? Why do I have to wait for this stupid worker? Why can’t I get a better job? Why doesn’t my spouse or children or parents or boss or friend appreciate me? The questions we should ask are: Why would God send His Son to die for me, His wretched enemy? (Rom. 5:8, 10); Why would He make Him who knew no sin to be sin so that I might reap all the benefits of His righteousness? (2 Cor. 5:21)”
All I can say to this is AMEN! I pray that the Lord will continue to help me to turn my eyes away from myself and toward Him and His great love for His children…His great love for me! Fitzpatrick reminds us that “We’re women and men who are so sinful and flawed that we deserve hell, but we’ve been so loved and welcomed that every spiritual blessing, adoption, tender fellowship with our Father and each other, forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life is ours. Christ’s accomplishments and perfections are ours now. Everything about us is different.”
What a blessing that being defined by His love takes away the need to prove ourselves. We freely admit our failures and freely accept His grace and mercy. We cling to Him and to His gracious gift of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. I have a new identity…I am a Christian! Praise the Lord!