So, for school, we have to do this thing called a learning contract... which basically is a form of character/spiritual formation... and involves making a goal for yourself (something along the lines of "I want to become the kind of person who [blank]." within that, there are head things (reading books, studying scripture) that you put in the contract, and also actual practices that you are going to do to establish this character trait or whatever. long story short, after explaining my LC to my mentor, Deb, who is wonderful, she suggested I read this book (for the head part) called Victory over the Darkness by Neil Anderson. I am not even close to done, and I think every person in the world should have to read this book. It is wonderful! it is all about discovering/rediscovering/understanding who you are IN CHRIST - the truth about who you are, as opposed to the lies that society, the world, and the Father of Lies himself tells us. the book has lots of different scripturally based lists (such as "who i am" and "since I am in Christ...") which readers are encouraged to read out loud and internalize as truth. I am struck, as I read the book, about the obscene number of lies that I myself have internalized over my many years on this earth... it is appalling. The first time I read through this list (out loud, for effect) I couldn't help but cry because its all true. We are loved, so we follow God. We don't follow God so He will love us... He already does. We don't strive to serve God for fear he won't accept us... we are accepted, so we strive to serve God. We get things so backwards. I have to give my life story today for my spiritual formation group, and I am really dreading it. I have lived a great portion of my life thinking that my life was some kind of disgrace... I struggle, therefore I am worthless. I mean, I'm a Christian - shouldn't I be getting this right by now?? I strive for love and acceptance from God and from others alike... but I don't live in a way that accepts the truth about who I am in Christ. Let me tell you... I can be really mean and hateful, too. But I am not a failure. I am not worthless. My life is not a disgrace. So I'm going to go to that group today, and I am going to tell my life story. My broken and imperfect and still a work in progress life story. I can do this, without fear of rejection, because of who I am in Christ. There is not a glorified someday self that I am living for... I am who I am right now! My imperfect self is okay! I bought a card recently and framed it... it says, "One of the hardest things to realize is that our Someday... is right now." It is a reminder to me every day that I don't have to be living in hopes that soon in the future I'll get it all right. I'll have this and this and this, be this way, and that way, and everything will be grand. If I think about it, nothing can improve the state I am in at this exact moment... a dearly loved child of God. Nothing I do, good or bad, can jeopardize THAT glorious truth.
"I am the salt of the earth; I am the light of the world; I am a child of God; I am part of the true vine, a channel of Christ's life; I am Christ's friend; I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear his fruit; I am a slave of righteousness; I am enslaved to God; I am a daughter of God - God is spiritually my Father; I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing his inheritance with him; I am a temple - a dwelling place - of God. His spirit and his life dwell in me; I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with him; I am a member of Christ's body; I am a new creation; I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation; I am a daughter of God and one in Christ; I am an heir of God since I am a daughter of God; I am a saint; I am God's workmanship - his handiwork - born anew in Christ to do his work; I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family; I am a prisoner of Christ; I am righteous and holy; I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now; I am hidden with Christ in God; I am an expression of the life of Christ because he is my life; I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved; I am a daughter of light and not of darkness; I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling; I am a partaker of Christ, I share in his life; I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house; I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession; I am an alien and a stranger to this world in which I temporarily live; I am an enemy of the devil; I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when he returns; I am born of God, and the evil one - the devil - cannot touch me; I am NOT the great "I AM," but by the grace of God, I am what I am."
By the grace of God, I am what I am.