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.
[Tweet “Surrender is not a stand-alone activity. It is a pruning to make room for God’s love. #TellHisStory”]
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
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
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Knowing the truth about how God sees us and who we are in Him is key to deflecting the fiery darts of the enemy! Telling our stories in the greater context of HIStory is the perfect way to remember His faithfulness and proclaim Him to others. Great post, my friend.
What a treat to see you here, June! When we claim our identity in Christ we have everything we need and that includes the strength to fight the enemy. Praying you are doing well!
Sorry… I meant at “Tell His Story!”
You are definitely not alone in this, Mary – “But as quickly as I share compliments, I find I am even faster at deflecting words of praise that come my way.” It’s a tough battle for me to accept compliments. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this and also pointing us to our identity in Christ Jesus. Your messages encourage my heart. Blessings, love, and hugs to you! May God further bless your ministry here at “Tell Your Story!”
What a treat to see you here today. I hope you are going to do some writing again. I’m glad I’m not alone in my issues with receiving compliments but God is working on me. I pray we all know who we are and whose we are. Thank you for being here! I hope you will come back soon.
Mary, I love this post and I could so hear your voice as I was reading it. It is so important that we understand who we are sin’t it. I was profoundly struck by how you share surrender is shaping our identity in Him. We (I) don’t often think about it in those terms, but it is true! Thanks for the linkup
I have never had anyone tell me they could hear my voice while reading my words. Thank you. I imagine I will be exploring surrender and identity more in the future. It seems to be a topic very close to my heart now.
“I wonder anew at all He does for me and still wake up the next day believing the same fears and doubts.”
Girl, I know! Me too! It’s so crazy how we forget what we know. The bible tells us man looks in a mirror and straightway forgets what manner of man he is. Truth!
And that is why we have to be in the word daily! Thanks for the scriptures you shared today. I had not read them in that translation. Such a blessing!
I’m glad to know I’m not alone. You would think after 50 something years I would have a better handle on not only knowing who I am, but whose I am and that God is who He says HE is. Yes to being in the Word daily and speaking God’s truth over the world’s truth. It is such a blessing to have you here today, Jerralea!
Mary, glad you took this linkup on and you are doing a phenomenal job! Our message. Our 2 Corinthians 1.3-4 We must share our stories. We must. It’s gospel when Jesus is the Redeemer of our story!
I am glad Jennifer believed enough in me to pass the linkup my way. Thank you for for your kind words. I’m so glad you are part of this community. Let’s go forth and share HIs story.
Please delete if this is duplicate. I was typing away, and my comment disappeared.
You are a beautiful soul. I loved your post especially the concept of “We.” I am so glad you stopped by my site to invite me to your link-up. I would like to do the same. I am one of the hosts for Grace & Truth Christian Link-Up. I know our readers would love your words.
It is not a duplicate comment. I am so glad you are here. We are stronger together and more than anything I want others to feel they are not alone. I would love to join your linkup. What day of the week is the linkup?
Mary, I love this post and especially this powerful scripture in The Message: “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
Mary, you truly do have God’s hand on you for something special. Thank you so much for all the encouragement you give me and so many others! Many blessings to you ❤️
I’m blessed to be able to encourage others. You all need to know you are an integral part of this community. I pray we all allow the Holy Spirit to continue to put steel in our convictions. Thank you for being here.
Mary, I truly love how you have such a beautiful heart of encouragement that shines through your openness and authentic sharing! When you shared about surrender here today, it reminded me so much of your book about being brave. It does take a brave heart to surrender our will to His, doesn’t it? What a gift that God offers us, to bring HIS braveness to us even there! Thank you for your love and kindness! May you be showered with His love in return!
I believe surrender is a theme that runs through a lot of different things such as bravery. Thank you for showing me that. You arena of the reasons I vote this community because you teach me too. It’s so good to see you here and I’m praying you continue to feel God’s strength in your own life.
Mary, I think if we are all honest that you have nailed us with something that He would have us all address. I once heard a pastor say that not to accept a sincere compliment shows evidence of false humility (a.k.a.pride)….ouch!! This was a great post!! Thanks!
The pastor’s words are quite convicting. Wow! I hadn’t thought of not accepting the compliment as false humility but it makes sense. It is such a treat to have you here today.
I agree that it’s much easier to give a compliment to someone else than to accept one, but I think I am gradually learning to do that. Thank you for your honesty and your encouragement, and I love reading about your journey of surrender. That was my word in 2016 (though it is still an on-going journey) and I can look back and see how God did so much through that one word and used it in ways I’d never have expected.
I imagine our journeys of surrender will continue long past the time the year is over. I always pray that somehow my openness will reach in a way that allows you to know you are not alone. I would love to hear how God is still calling you to surrender and what that looks like. Thank you for being here.
“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.”
No wonder I like you, Mary! We walk a similar path with different branches needing pruning, but may I say I enjoy sharing the pathway toward Jesus alongside you. =)
I will always need pruning and I pray I recognize that. I am thrilled that you walk similar path because I am stronger knowing you are there. Thank you for being here and being such a blessing!
I think some of us tend to deflect compliments because we don’t want to get “puffed up” and we want to give glory to God. Yet deflecting or saying something about God in that situation can come across as overly pious. Deflecting sometimes hurts the person who is trying to encourage and do something nice by complimenting. So it’s hard to know how to handle it sometimes. I usually just say Thank you and appreciate the person’s intentions. If I can in a natural way I try to point the attention to God (“I’m so thankful He used that” post, lesson, or whatever “to bless you.” And I remind myself that we’re told to let our lights shine so that others can what we do and glorify God.
There is a fine line sometimes at the receiving end as you say. I like how you say “I’m thankful He used that post to bless you.” I do agree that we are called to shine our lights and glorify God. I am learning and od is patient with me. Blessings Barbara!
Your posts are such a blessing – words of encouragement and just the right “we can do this” reassurance that I need. Thanks for sharing, for being willing to be vulnerable and for allowing the pruning and shaping that makes you such a beautiful message! I am always so glad after I have stopped by your blog!
What sweet encouragement! Thank you Jennifer. I pray that God continues to use my vulnerability to touch others. May your day and week be blessed!
Awww, Mary. I love this post. You are speaking to one of my life messages, as well as touching on themes from my blog post today. We do need to embrace the truth about how God sees us. And so often, He does use others to speak the words audibly. I’m learning to embrace truth and say “Thank you,” when someone says something kind. Because to refute those words calls the other person a liar.
I so appreciate your depth in the things you share and your beautiful way of encouraging others. You, my friend, are a gift.
I know when we worked together to write a series of posts on being chosen and pre-approved, we touched on some of these same themes. I felt that you and I shared some similar thoughts and beliefs. What I know is that when I am vulnerable, I am letting others see part of my story, which then helps all of us in our journey to knowing who we are. You are a beautiful message and your own words touch many.
Mary, you ARE the real deal, as Bev says above. I appreciate your wisdom, and since I’m going through a time of pruning myself today, your words encourage.
I pray that your time of pruning leads to amazing things on the other side. I appreciate how you are the message and how your words teach and encourage many. Thank you for being here!
You are the real deal. I don’t think there is a pretentious bone in your body. You are sincere and caring and you let people know. You are someone I’d like to sit down with and chat over a cup of coffee. I feel like you are one to whom I could share things and know they’d go no farther. I think you’re pretty terrific. Like you, I’m great at deflecting compliments instead of humbly replying, “Thank you.” YOU are the message and a great messenger as well. I’m actually going to link up a post this afternoon. Haven’t written in a long, long time. Sent you a message on FB….good to read your message here today.
Love and ((hugs)),
First, I love that you wrote a post this week. That shows that God still wants to use you words to share His message. I appreciate your kind words. I am getting better at receiving and that’s all due to God’s pruning.
I did get your FB message. Thank you and love having you here.
I’m joining you, Mary, in this arduous process of leaning in to all that God has created me to be, rejoicing in it, accepting the limitations that come with it, and allowing Him to break down some of the barriers I’ve set up that keep a safe distance around me.
It’s always a joy to come here and find a fellow traveler.
Thank you for traveling this road with me. I can’t think of a better person to have along for the journey. The work is hard but on the other side, God redeems us. And based on my journey so far, it is worth it. Blessings friend!