I was amazed on Sunday by the Pastors message. There were aspects of his sermon that I had been working through over the week and even blogged about on Saturday.. it was really encouraging. He went on to speak about our identity. Who are we? What is it that defines us? Is it our work, family, material things, abilities? There are a whole lot of possibilities and they are not necessarily always positive things. We can even go down a negative line and place our identity in what we see as our shortcomings, failures or perhaps even a disability.
I have had to really wrestle with this one over the last 5 years. I used to place a lot of importance on appearance, my capabilities and it mattered a whole lot what other people thought of me. I think going through cancer and coming out with an 'impediment'' has been the biggest learning curve of my life. Living with a hole in my neck and a voice that sounds like a serious case of laryngitis is not attractive. I used to be able to sing quite nicely, now I can not at all. I was once able to teach and tell stories to Pre schoolers with flare and expression. Now I resort to stories on tape or CD's. When I meet people for the first time, I get embarrased laughs and potentially hurtful comments as they assume that I have laryngitis. In all the areas of life that I once held so important, things have changed forever. So I am faced with a choice. Do I crawl into a hole because I am now defined by my 'impediment' or do I embrace my true identity in Christ?
The truth is that, I am no more defined by what I can't do than by what I once could. In Christ, I am created in the image of God, by a loving designer Creator, for the sole purpose of sharing relationship with Him. When we see ourselves in this light as people loved, designed and created with purpose and destiny, all the other stuff seems to pale into insignificance. It doesn't matter about what I look or sound like. It doesn't matter what I can or can't do. Zeph 3:17 tells me that "He delights in me, He rejoices over me with singing" and I think that's just wonderful!
It's not easy to always walk with this confidence. There are times when hiding is so tempting, but God is so good and he continually reminds me of how He sees me. He gives the grace and courage for every moment and the strength to keep walking on the bright side!