I was privileged enough to read a book by one of my mentors (from afar) titled; “Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms.” This book is coauthored by Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory. I remember the first time I picked up the book, I had to put it down. Not because I could not read it, but because there were so many quotes, phrases, words in the book that forced me to stop and think. Truly think about who I am, but most importantly, Whose I am. A few days later, as I was scrolling through my ‘Holy Bible’ app, the 5-day devotional to “Shaken” was one of the studies recommended to me. I figured that I could check out what the devotional was all about so I clicked on it. One of the first questions I was asked as I read through was “Whose are you?” Well, on that question, is where this journey begins.
Whose are you? Knowing this will help you to answer the question – who am I?
“Identity comes not necessarily from who we are, but from whose we are.” (Tebow, Day 1). This was one of the first phrases that made me stop and think. What does that even mean? Where can you even begin exploring that? Whose am I? Well, I know that I am a child of God. I am a child of the being who created the heavens and the earth. I am the daughter of the one who is Father of all. I am the daughter of a King who has given me the opportunity to enter into His kingdom by giving up the life of His very own Son for my life. I am chosen, I am sanctified, I am His. Whose am I? I am God’s. No matter what I went through, am going through, may go through, or will go through; I am certain of the truth that God loves me and has a plan for me. He will take me to my expected end – one with a future and with hope. My identity comes from God. He shapes who I am.
I figured I had conquered day one of the devotion and could rest my eyes, clear my head, eat some food and feel wonderful – until I read the concluding questions for day 1.
“How do you see yourself? How do you think God sees you?”
Well, that was unexpected. This question was/is very personal. How do I see myself? Well wasn’t the answer I gave earlier enough? I figured I could just walk away from this devotional and rationalize that I had answered the question earlier anyway. But, I was prompted in my heart to write down an answer to the questions.
How do you see yourself first and foremost? How?
I didn’t like this question. It was too honest. Too raw. It required me to actually look at myself. Turn a mirror onto my soul and look at what’s there. When no one is watching, when no one is there, when it is just you and your thoughts, how do you see yourself? How do I see myself? For the longest time, I saw myself as less than – not good enough – and often times, damaged. It was quite interesting because I used to think that I was confident and sure of who I was but I truly never was. Externally, I was independent, resilient, strong. Internally, I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. At that time, I would have been offended and probably had a thing or two to say, if someone ever had the audacity to tell me that I was insecure. I used to pride myself on my false sense of independence, not realizing just how dependent I was on others and things in areas that also mattered – emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
Glory be to God that I now have a better understanding of myself, as I have been allowing the Lord to show me who I am through His eyes. It has not been easy in any measure. There have been areas that the Holy Spirit had asked me to deal with and my first instinct was to literally run. I tried to run away from Him, from it. I ran to the house of friends. I ran to work. I ran to events and activities. I ran into the comforting arms of sleep. But He was patient enough, and encouraging enough to finally convince me to trust Him enough to let Him show me how to deal with them. I cried, I laughed, I was exhausted emotionally, mentally, physically, but He never gave up on me. He taught me how to look at me through His eyes; not mine. ‘For my thoughts were not His thoughts, and my ways was not His ways’ (Isaiah 55:8). He showed me how to look at me through His eyes. Which brings us to the next question that was asked.
“How do you think God sees you?”
I cannot say that I think, instead, I will say that I know that God sees me as good enough. First and foremost, I did not choose Him. I simply responded to His call. He saw that amidst all of my wrong choices, bad attitudes, bad habits; that I was good enough for Him. Good enough for His love. He sees me as whole. As His child bought in love, by love, to be loved by Him. A gem paid for by the highest price ever set. The blood of His only Son. He sees me as an intricate piece & part of His eternal plan. He sees me as an object of His love. A vessel useful for His purpose to the glory of His name. God, and only God sees me (sees you) as I am (as you are) – PERFECT in His eyes.
I need to look at myself from His lens. God’s lens.
I need to start looking at myself less from the lens of the world, or the lens of people’s thoughts & ideas – even my own. Many times, I find myself slipping back into my old way of thinking in terms of self-doubt. I start to see myself and think of myself as not good enough or ‘lacking’ in some way – but I cannot afford to do that anymore. I am worth more than the most precious stone to God, because even the most precious stone life has to offer, could not save me for Him. Only the blood of His Son did. Only the life of His Son could, and still does. I am worth way too much to God to allow self-doubt to steal my position from me. I have too much to do, too much to offer the world than to let self-doubt stand in my way. God chose me, to use me. I have too much to lose to ever let anything or anyone stand in His place in my life.
My life was worth fighting for, so Jesus did that. My life is worth fighting for, so I have to let Him teach me how to stand guard. In order to effectively do so, I must have the right understanding of who I am, by understanding whose I am – “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).
"This is what identity is about. It comes from God. And it gives us a future and a hope" (Tebow, Day 1).
Tebow, Tim, and A.J Gregory. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms. Waterbrook, 2016.
Tebow, Tim. Shaken: A 5-day Reading Plan. Holy Bible App 2016.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, 2001.