I received the coolest birthday gift ever. This gift held power. Oh, it was not in the making me "do" anything kind of power, but rather, in the kind power that allows the recipient to feel known. And to be the recipient is even cooler.
I felt known.
How many of us are really "known" by another? If you were to ask me my favorite activities, I would respond with the following, in no particular order:
Let's take my interest in writing for a moment. I am just starting to dabble in the thought, "What if God has something to say through me?" This blog is an attempt at answering that question. It's something I feel Father has worked into me, and therefore, I work out. I trust him in an entirely new, terrifying way each time I write here. Maybe you'll all relegate me as pertinent and useful as the telemarketers who call on a personal cell phone at the most inopportune times. Maybe you'll see me as pushy QVC salesmen pushing you into buying the mascara that will change your life. (But really, there IS a mascara that will change your life. See the bottom of this post.) Maybe you'll do that cute little pat on the head that says, "Oh, bless your heart" but meant in that southern kind of way. I have Texan friends and I have learned what they mean when they say that. (If you don't know, don't feel badly. Just comment below and I'll fill you on what it means to our beautiful southern states.)
Yes, sometimes our minds transport us to this mental space of seeing ourselves through an incorrect lens.
And as I write more and more, the equal pull to considering these “lies” about who I am continue to barrage me.
I’m not enough.
I’m not good enough in my writing. I’m not a Elizabeth Gilbert, or a Max Lucado, or a Jenette Oke.
I’m just me and sometime I worry that I’m not enough.
I’m a pest…a bother.
I’m too this…too that…
I'm too honest.
I’m not adequate.
In creep the lies that stealthily lodge deep inside often unaware to us all.
And this is where trusted friends can come in and speak truth into our very souls about our true identity. I didn’t even realize I was beginning to fall for these lies of who I am.
The gift I received allowed me to see myself through another's eyes for a moment.
Let me describe the gift.
Do you know in biblical times a king would have a signet ring sealing his word as binding? His signet ring was a small seal worn on the finger. NOTHING could change his word. If the seal was in a decree, the information was sealed and nothing could alter it. Each seal spoke truth about the one to whom the item was sealed - the King. The king holds power. Remember the story of Esther, Mordecei, and the King? Well, the king's word goes. The king's importance renders this signet ring potent. The king's worth and value gives value to the seal.
The seal bestows value, worth, and significance upon whatever is sealed.
Well, I am thrilled to share that I now have my own seal!
I was given a really special seal that when pressed into a book, indents a message. "Loaned with Love. Read it. Love it. Let's chat." Then inside the middle of the seal is my first and last name.
My awesome gift-giver really "sees" and "gets" me. She knows that a conversation over things that bring life, brings life to me! She knows one of my favorite things is to have coffee and chat. With a husband. A son. A niece. A friend. The shy little insecure girl grew to be a woman who loves sharing life with others in this way. My friend knows this and did something special to my seal by changing original wording from "Read it. Love it. Return it." to "Read it. Love it. Let's chat." It was customized! Somebody went to all of that trouble for ME? Um....wow! Trusted people rock!
I absolutely adore this customization! "Return it" shuts down communication. "Let's chat" opens communication. This person knew that this would be my heart, even if I didn't have the words to communicate that.
This person gave me a gift of seeing myself through her eyes.
How does she see me? She saw a warm, friendly, engaging, and communicative person who genuinely desires to listen and to also be heard.
How easy is it to see ourselves through others eyes? Easy peasy…if we look at all of the negative stuff to which we so easily turn our heads. We see the eye-roll of another directed toward us and we make assumptions. They hate us. We see the whispers and we just know it’s about us. We hear the sharp and unkind words tossed casually to us and be start to believe their view of our value. We kind of "see" ourself through another and we don't like what we see.
Where are trusted places in our lives that allow ourselves the gift of seeing ourselves in another way - the way of truth?
One of my favorite books, “The Cure” asks “What if there was a place so safe that the worst of me could be known, and I would discover that I would not be loved less, but more In the telling of it?” What if I had one or two people so safe to me that I could spill out my anger, I could be whiny, and I could just say it like it is, and trust that we can talk through whatever is needed and that the relationship would not be damaged? Do such places exist. Yep. they do. They are new to me and I struggle through them. That's probably a great post for another time.
But do you know what? There already exists a place even safer than those safe people in our lives. People will hurt us. No doubt. You've probably already been hurt. So have I. I've probably done the hurting, too. So have you. At least, please just nod your head and allow me to think that I can't be the only uniquely broken person today, okay? At the time of this first draft writing, it's still my birthday week, all right? Will you give me that gift?
I take such comfort in the fact that we have a relationship so safe that we can run to and know that not only will the one to whom you are sharing will listen, but he will actually empower you through Himself? Yes, you probably have already guessed the answer -God, but let me caution you not to just say it for the answer's sake.
Do you really believe it? I need to say it. I struggle here. I really do. Maybe you do as well?
Does God's opinion of you matter more than anybody else's?
More than society? More than that person who hates your guts? More than even the great opinion of you by your close friends and family?
Are you squirming here with me? Big breaths.
What if we are truly are somebody new?
What if the Bible is both a glimpse into who Jesus Christ is and also a glimpse into who you are, therefore?
Let's sit down and open that picture album of Christ that we probably all have sitting inside our homes. Do you have yours? My picture album of Christ is inside a black, leather jacket given to me by my former church choir. It is marked with colorful sticky notes and underlines. It shows me pictures of the one person so safe to me, it will take a life time for me to unwrap that gift.
The finished work of Jesus Christ is depicted over my Bible. It hints at Him in the old covenant and loudly proclaims Him in the new covenant. And if that wasn't even enough, it shares exactly what changes in US so that our identity is now changed.
I am now called... Christ in me.
Saint. Holy. Redeemed. Accepted. Loved. Child of God. Heir. A member of Christ’s body. New Creation. Chosen. A branch on the Vine. Never alone. Perfect in Christ. Totally forgiven and cleansed. Empowered by the Holy Spirit. Adequate. Acceptable.
Any view of ourselves that does not agree with the biblical view of our identity is a lie. Yes, even the hurtful statements I slip into believing. Just as we call a spade a spade, we call these hurtful statements for what they are - lies. And maybe if you’re honest, too, you will take a look at the lies which can easily foist into your mind, building a case before you are even aware.
And that’s where truth comes in.
We confess the lies and now “believe” the truth.
For all of the pain and confusion from believing lies about ourselves, Father wants to exchange for his peace and his joy. Peace and joy are found in the person of Jesus Christ.
My signet giver knows this. I was allowed to see myself through this person's eyes for a moment, well, actually every time I now seal this message into a book in my fast-growing library.
And you, my friends, you were given a view into who you are now, as well, even if you don’t have one of these cool do-hickey types of seal presses.
The message of Jesus Christ is literally sealed into you. And it is giving you a new view of his finished work in your life, too.
Biblically, to be “sealed” is to be verified as God’s child by the giving of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13 says “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
So WHAT was sealed? Our new and true identity.
Nothing is getting in. Nothing is getting out. It is protection with a capital “P”. Why? Because nothing can get into or out of a seal. It is both a protection and a proclamation. It screams out “What’s in here is declared as truth”. It is not tampered with. It can’t be changed by anything in your circumstance. This word is as good as true. Father’s word IS a good as true…even when things are falling apart and we are tempted to believe there is something uniquely wrong with us.
When things go wrong in our lives, we are most tempted to believe lies.
Let’s not entertain or argue those lies; let’s renounce them and replace them! Let’s allow our sealed identity, found deeper inside than the lies we believe, to stamp truth. Let’s see ourselves from the eyes of another, from the eyes of the person who gets to set truth and seal it into us – Jesus Christ. He is the most trusted friend in the world. He alone can set our true identity and therefore knows us the best. A friend can remind us for sure, be HE sets it and seals it as true. He is that safe place because his very spirit has been vacuum-packed into us, giving us a new protected identity. Nothing is getting in. Nothing is getting out. The seal says so. And this seal can NEVER be broken.
Do you feel known by Father? See yourself through his eyes. Remember, God’s opinion of us matters more than anybody else’s. Even those darned ‘ole lies. Especially those lies.
Next time you are believing a lie, get out that seal from our king and allow it to shine forth in the book of your life.
His name is emblazoned in the middle. Close your eyes and allow yourself to trace his name on the page of your life and into your mind. Know that his signet ring changes who you are and since he's the king, he gets to make that true.
His name changed who I am.
His name changed who you are.
I will remember this every time I seal my name into the cover of a book.
I am new. I am changed. I am now Christ in Aleisha.
I am adequate. I am sufficient.
The King has said.
His word goes. It's sealed.
Want to talk over this further?
I'm going to take a clue from my favorite line of my new book seal.
p.s A friend of mine told me about this mascara that really did change my life. Okay, not my life, but certainly my lashes. This girl here has tiny, stubby lashes. Not anymore! It transforms me into one who was blessed in the eyelash department. I hope you enjoy this. BTW - your pocketbook will startle when you look up the price. Be forewarned!