I love the people in our connect group. We lift each other and learn together and very often someone will bring something really profound that changes my view on something. Sometimes we share things that are less profound and we giggle and laugh about the comment that has just been made. The occasion that I am going to refer to is somewhere between the two. We have two sisters in our connect group and the older of the two shared with the group about a time when she was younger when she suddenly realised that she and her sister were very different and she found the freedom in that. When trying to explain this to her sister, in a child like fashion, she kept repeating the phrase ‘I am me and you are you!’ in the hope that her sister would have the same revelation that she had had. As a group we chuckled at the thought of this phrase ‘I am me and you are you’ but funnily enough it has stuck with me and has turned into something very deep and profound.
One of the biggest hindrances to finding our place in the world is not accepting who we are. I am me and you are you and there’s nothing we can do about it. Many of us feel inadequate or inferior to others. I have talked before about not comparing ourselves with others but in order to not feel the need to do that, we have to know who we really are. When we know who we are we feel secure and will gain a confidence that helps us lose the need for comparison. We are of course humans and will all have insecurities of some kind, but knowing who we are in God is the greatest start to being rid of the destruction of insecurity. We need to acknowledge who we are now, not who we were or who we would like to become, but who we actually are. We have to come to terms with our past, instead of trying to run from it. We mustn’t pretend it didn’t happen or lie about it or try to act a different way to hide it. You will never move on if you don’t accept that your past has made you the shape you are. You will spend your life trying to be a different shape and as a result you will never feel like you really fit. When we have done things we regret it is very easy to be bound by them, but we must work against this, into a place of freedom.
As a teenager I started to become very aware of who I was. I always felt quite different to my peers. I put it down to my quirkiness and sometimes to the fact that I was a Christian. Over time this developed into a feeling that I didn’t fit. The things that made me an individual actually made me feel out of place. I appeared very confident and, I suppose, in some ways I was, but deep down I had this unnerving feeling that I didn’t fit. I would walk into a room and feel that people didn’t want me there. Paranoia is a powerful disease. It can eat away at our soul if we let it and it can destroy who God intended us to be.
I had a major breakthrough in my later teenage years, but I still sometimes battle with it. When I let insecurity get a grip on me the enemy tells me that I don’t fit and I have to work very hard not to believe him. I do still feel different to other people in lots of ways but this is something that we should celebrate because we are all unique. It is simple but true. I am me and you are you but the thing that ties us together is that though we are different we are all made in God’s image. At the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1 verse 27 we find that ‘God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He then created them: male and female he created them’. We are family, made in the image of God, and we all fit.
I recently watched ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treador’ based on the stories of Narnia. In the film there is a scene when Lucy reads a spell to make her look beautiful like Susan. She is taken to a place where the spell comes true but she very quickly realises that if she were in fact Susan then “Lucy’ would never have been born and none of them would have ever been to Narnia because it was she who discovered it first, at the back of the wardrobe. As she looks at her reflection in the mirror Aslan appears to her. C S Lewis is one of the greatest writers of all time and his choice of words, even within a story, was powerful and they still carry God’s anointing today. Aslan’s response to Lucy rings with the truth of what our Father says to us even now:
“You doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are”.
This phrase is filled with acknowledgement of our humanity but also with the immortality of God and how He feels about us. ‘Don’t doubt your value’. The Bible tells us that we are ‘children of God’ (John 1:12); ‘chosen by God’ (Ephesians 1:4); ‘heirs with Christ’ Romans 8:17; ‘friends of Jesus’ John 15:15; ‘justified and redeemed’ (Romans 3:24) ‘Free’ (Romans 8:2), ‘a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:21) ‘made one with each other’ (Galatians 3:28) ‘predestined’ (Ephesians 1:11) and the list goes on and on. One final thing to remember is that we are ‘loved and chosen’ by God (1 Thessalonians 1:4). God likes us. He sometimes doesn’t like what we do but he does like who we are. He chose us, he loves us and He sees us as valuable. We shouldn’t argue with the Most High! In fact we are so valuable that he sent Jesus to die to save us (John 3:16). He thought we were worth it and still thinks we were worth it.
Doubt is a crippling emotion. We must work against it. If we doubt our value we have not truly grasped what God says about us. In David’s prayer in Psalm 17 verse 8 he uses the phrase ‘the apple of your eye’. The idea that God sees us as the apple of His eye is amazing. He is especially fond of you. If you are someone who doubts your value I would encourage you to write out verses that remind you what God says about you and stick them on your fridge or your mirror. As you encounter these verses everyday they will gradually transform your soul with their truth. As you read them they will edify you. Your soul will start to ‘stand up’ as the truth of God’s word settles upon you. You will start to see what God sees and you must hold on to it.
When Aslan says, “don’t run from who you are” there is a real sense that He knows who Lucy is better than she does. The same is true of us. If God is saying to you now “don’t run from who you are” you have to trust Him. You have to trust that He knows who you really are.
In the family of God we need everyone to value themselves. We can value each other and that is good and right but we also need to look for ways to help each other value who they really are. There is unity and diversity in the body of Christ and this is our family. We need to get our heads around this truth. We are family, we stick together, we all fit and we are so valuable to God and each other.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 says it all:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body-whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
We are important and significant because we belong to this amazing family. As family we need each other. You belong in it more than you could ever belong anywhere else. Don’t doubt your value. Don’t run from who you are. I am me and you are you and we are family.