There is so much I want to tell you. I might say how much I love sunsets and each one is a miracle from God. Or maybe, that family means everything to me. Then again, I could share the depths of my feelings on any given day. Each time, I shared something new, I wonder if you would agree with what I tell you. But, I won’t stop there!
You see I don’t just want you to know my favorites or how I go about my day. I want you to hear from me what an amazing person you are. You deserve to know that you are enough and worthy and loved and beautiful. You are the message!
I am a truth-teller, spirit-builder, grace-giver, and encourager. God knew what He was doing when He created me. But as quickly as I share compliments, I find I am even faster at deflecting words of praise that come my way. It’s one of my biggest flaws. I love to build others up, but find the reverse is true when affirmation is directed toward me. I pray I’m not alone in this. God wants you and me to know we are the message.
God still loves my quirkiness. He believes in me and you and wants us to know that there is nothing about us that He doesn’t love.
It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, MSG
So if I tell you the same thing, will you believe me? Will you graciously accept the compliment and say “thank you”? Now turn around and ask me the same questions. Because the words God has for you are the same ones He wants to share with me. 1 Thessalonians is not just written for you, but me too. God wants me to know I am the message, but that others want to speak truth and affirmation to me too.
During the last year, God has taken multiple opportunities to affirm who I am. Fear has crossed my path. Doubt enters my mind. And I turn around and find God already doing battle against these lies. I wonder anew at all He does for me and still wake up the next day believing the same fears and doubts.
This is my year of surrender and it began even before the calendar flipped to 2018. Surrender is not a stand-alone activity. It is a pruning that digs deep, removes the unwanted, and replaces it with the healing power of God’s love. Surrender is a reckoning of my heart, soul and mind leading to a deep relationship, in which all three get along.
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I have experienced so many “ahas” as well as tears throughout this past year. The work God is doing in me is nothing short of the work He desires to do in each of us. God wants you to know in the deepest core of your being, you belong to Him. He takes your highs and lows and works them for good. When you face challenges, God is right there with you.
All I know is that surrender is shaping my identity. When I let go and release the doubts and fears to the One who created me, He prunes, shapes, fertilizes, and finally loves all the broken pieces back into wholeness.
So go ahead–give me your best compliment and share one with a friend too. I’m learning to receive what you so graciously want to give. God assures me and you that when we know we belong to Him everything else will follow.
Let’s read the words from 1 Thessalonians together. The word is spreading that we are echoing the Master’s Word. Our willingness to surrender who we are to God and claim what He says about us gives us a unique role. It’s no longer just “you are the message”, but together “we are the message.”
Our identity in Christ, makes room for Holy Spirit to use us to proclaim His message. When we deflect what God says about us, we lose an opportunity to receive His truth and then share it with others. We are the message of Christ. Let’s live each day in a posture of giving and receiving this truth to and from others.
The word has gotten around. Your lives are echoing the Master’s Word, not only in the provinces but all over the place. The news of your faith in God is out. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—you’re the message! 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8