I’ve been attempting to discover myself my entire life.
I had a few people tell me when I was in college that I was a “chameleon” and seemed to fit into any crowd.
They did not, however, mean this as a compliment.
That word stuck with me. It made me feel as if I was inauthentic, fake, trying too hard. In reality, it was my clumsy way of trying to figure out who I was, who God made me to be.
I simply craved human connection in a big way. It is embedded into the deepest parts of me. I was, and am, constantly seeking to authentically understand the desires and motives and passions of someone I care about.
I am an Enneagram 4 (if that means anything to you), which is a recent and life-changing discovery for me.
This last year was one of incredible significance for me. Every year of my life, God reveals Himself a little bit more to me, and in doing so, I understand who I am on an even profounder level. I experienced a personal evolution and revolution in 2019 that I wasn’t expecting, but fully and completely needed.
Our spiritual growth ought to never come completely to a halt, but some years are notably more prominent than others.
Two thoughts stand out in my mind as I head into 2020. At first, they might look and feel conflicting. However, I believe that they are intrinsically connected.
The Bible verse I feel like God showed me for 2020 is sobering.
It’s Acts 20:24 and it says, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
At first glance, this verse is quite frankly a little annoying. I ask myself, “So, my life isn’t precious? It’s not valuable? I’m not special?” But this isn’t the case at all. What it’s essentially saying to me is that as followers of Christ, we are to see our own plans for our lives as worthless in comparison to the full calling that we have in Jesus.
All that I want to do in my life is considered worthless in comparison to what God has called me to do in Christ Jesus. In short, we are saying to God, “Here is my life, do what you will with it. It’s really yours anyway.”
That is part one of what 2020 is for me. I am offering and surrendering my life, my gifts, my time, my energy and my finances to the greater cause, the greater “good”, if you will. It’s a completely humbling and uncomfortable thing to do, quite honestly.
I am entering more fully and embracing more intentionally who God has made me to be. In doing this, I need to release the opinions of others. I need to ignore the abuses and offences that are meant to bring me down and deflate me. The lies, the affronts, the “well-meaning” (yet still insulting) criticisms, the flurry of worldly beliefs and judgements, the meaningless attempts of shallow self-discovery…..
I need to rebel against these and refuse to allow them to affect or control me.
This is why my second inspiration for 2020 is this (and this is where the literary nerd in me comes out): “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum”. If you haven’t read Margaret Atwood’s incredible dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale (and I suggest picking up the book before you even consider watching an episode of the recent show), it’s a Latin phrase that an abused, hopeless slave woman finds scrawled onto the wall of her “prison”. What it means, roughly translated in the book, is “Don’t let the bastards grind you down”.
For me personally, this isn’t meant as a “down with the patriarchy”, “men are all evil” sort of feminist anthem.
For me personally, I am applying it to anyone, or anything that is trying to distract me from the purpose God has called me to in my life.
I am applying it to anyone, or anything that is grinding me down in hate, instead of lifting me up in love.
I am applying to anyone who will try and tell me that as a woman in ministry, I need to just “Go Home”.
I am applying it to anyone who will try and pigeon-hole me as a lunatic because I am a Christian.
I am applying this saying to anyone who might try and insert negativity into my life where I require positivity.
I am applying it even to myself, when I begin to speak destructively or self-deprecatingly about the person God created me to be.
Am I constantly striving to be more holy? Yes! Am I open to accountability and correction spoken in love? Yes! But am I going to allow the lies of the enemy seep into my consciousness and disrupt my Christ-given confidence? No!
I know that God is a fighter. He fights for justice. He fights for the meek. He fights for the pure in heart. He fights for His people. We are called to nothing less.
So, while I count my life as nothing in the grand scheme of things, I count my calling as everything.
And if I do this, if I really am going to do this, then I need to be prepared to fight for that calling. I can’t allow others to dissuade me from my true identity in God.
I can’t allow others to try and dictate WHO I am in God and WHAT I am called to do in Him.
I can’t allow the cynicism of others create in me a reluctance to fulfill my personal mission.
This is what the Pharisees tried to do to Jesus when He was healing the sick and raising the dead.
And guess what? Jesus knew exactly who He was. He knew exactly what He was called to do. He wasn’t going to let anyone dissuade Him from the mission that God had called Him to.
Jesus didn’t let the bastards grind him down.
Neither should we.