How has learning about your true self/true identity impacted you, your marriage and your family?
A few years ago, my husband Matt came home from a men's weekend away and shared with me some things he had learned from the speaker, Jamie Winship. He spoke about taking time to listen in prayer and seeking our true identity. He talked about listening to God's voice and asking him to speak to us about what HE wanted us to know. It sounded familiar but I hadn't been there and I didn't really understand how this was different from what I had always known.
Matt began to spend more time in prayer and it was clear he was living more and more in his true identity. It became something he would talk about with such confidence. I wanted to know more but I wasn't sure where to start. I listened to some talks Jamie had given and began to grasp the idea behind finding our true identity in Christ. I could see that this was a different way of relating to God but I hadn't experienced it for myself. I wanted more.
When I had the opportunity to go to "A Day Away" at Windrush and hear more I couldn't wait. I have experienced God in different ways throughout my life but what I learned that day was simple and refreshing. First, I needed to make space for listening (which is not easy as a stay at home mom of three littles) and Windrush had plenty of it. Second, I learned that I could exchange the lies I was holding on to for his truth about who He created me to be.
As I sat looking at the mountain that day, I heard the Lord whisper to me the word "beloved". This word didn't sit well with me, it seemed too obvious and I doubted it was from God. Was this me talking to myself or was it really God? Don't I already know that he loves me? I spent time considering why this word was so hard for me to accept and what it was I believed about God that would cause me to struggle with fully putting on this word
I worked through some experiences from my past and the lies I believed about God and came to a place of acceptance and gratitude. This exchange was not a one time thing for me, it is something I come back to when I feel unsettled about my worth and every time He takes those lies and replaces them with His word for me, beloved. In the last year, I have found myself needing to make that exchange far less and find I am operating from a place of abundance. The process of listening to his voice has renewed my understanding of His love for me and for others. His love is something I don't want to keep for myself but want to share with those who need it most.
Throughout this process, Matt and I have noticed a big shift in the way we understand each other. As a couple that is seeking truth and identity we have seen how the Lord has brought us together for a purpose. We know each others deepest struggles and strengths. We are talking about what we are hearing from God and how we can act on the truths we are hearing in a way we never have before.
When we were asked to share about identity and how it impacts our marriage and family, my first thoughts were, "Why would we share? We don't pray enough as a couple, I get frustrated with my kids, and other couples and families have Jesus rooted much more in their lives." While we are all on our own journey toward maturity in Christ, as long as we are in the game of comparing ourselves to others, or feeling unworthy or like we haven't performed enough, we miss out on experiencing the great mystery of God's transformative love.
In these interesting times we are all living through, I continue to be shown two simple, yet profound themes and how they relate to my true identity in Christ:
1. Good is a good father and I'm deeply loved (regardless of what I do--and I think he spends more time smiling at us than we even realize).
2. God is enough (and I'm enough in Him).
I heard both of these things as a child and would have agreed with these truths at an early age. However, the more I slow down and listen to His voice, the more I begin to understand this.
As I am in the process of living into who God says I am and experience God's goodness and allow myself to be loved I am (the way HE created me), it changes how I see my wife, my kids, and those around me each day.
Additionally, there is a scarcity mentality especially prevalent today, and it's easy for me to believe that lie that I'm not enough, don't have enough, that I'll never measure up or that I will use up God's grace somehow.
The awareness of being loved, trusting in who God is (enough), and that we are enough is something we can read about, but I believe God intends for us to fully EXPERIENCE it IN HIM and REST in it as often as we are able to. And when we do, it has no choice but to spill over into our marriages and families, and out to others.
In my experience, it is very much a process and doesn't happen overnight--which is why we are so blessed to be loved by such a good, patient, and loving Father!