WHO AM I?
“Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Who am I?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you ever pondered exactly who you are in this world? Without much thought I know for certainty that I am a mother to three children, a wife to my husband, a daughter to my parents, and a friend to many people. But those are the easy answers to the question “Who am I?” There are a lot of people who would describe themselves as a mother, daughter, wife and friend. What about the tougher answers to that question? Have you ever gone deeper into your heart and mind to discover who you REALLY are? Have you ever dared, or even thought, to ask God, your Creator, “Who am I to you?”
Several years ago I read a book titled, “Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive,” by John Eldridge with several friends of mine. It is a book designed to help people, through Jesus, to get their whole heart back after a lifetime of Satan tearing it into pieces. It is about mending your heart back to wholeness, so that the Holy Spirit can truly live in you and through you. It was while I was reading this book that I learned about the concept of asking God, “Who am I?”
While reading this book, my friends and I were first instructed to write down all of the “unhealthy names” that we have been calling ourselves over all the years of our life. Examples of these names are failure, boring, stupid, ugly, unlovable, annoying, unworthy, worthless…etc. We use these names frequently to describe who we are without even realizing what we are doing. These names are the ones we call ourselves whenever we mess up or are feeling down. Unknowingly and unfortunately these names become part of our identity.
After we made our lists of names, we were then all instructed to consider where these names came from according to the Bible. Very quickly we identified that all of these names we have claimed for ourselves throughout the years are actually the lies that Satan has been speaking daily into our ears. Satan’s purpose for repeating these lies is to keep us from having a life that is truly filled with all of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, once we identified the source of these names, we were told to discard these lies from Satan as untruth, and to ask Yahweh, our Heavenly Father the following question, “Who am I to you?” or “What do you call me?” This was a new concept for me, because I never realized all the names I unconsciously called myself. Also, I had never really considered asking God who I am to him. However, I did realize the importance of this question, and it made sense to me. If we are truly children of God, then why wouldn’t God want us to know what he calls us in order to counteract all the lies that Satan speaks into our lives. So for a week I boldly identified the negative names I called myself and then denied them because of their source, and I asked Yahweh to give me a new name.
Because I truly wanted my entire heart back, I spent one entire week thinking about the names I called myself, and really considered when and why these names came about. This particular week was extremely difficult, because as I considered these names I remembered all of Satan’s arrows that produced them, and it felt as if I was experiencing these hurts all over again. Except this time, while I was reliving the insecurities, hurts and sorrows, I was convicted by God at the same time that this would be the very last time these hurts would ever have a hold on me again. It was at the end of this challenging week that God gave me a new name.
The day Yahweh answered my question “Who am I to you?” was on a day that my friends and I had gathered together to discuss another chapter of this book. The question of the day was, “If you were sitting at your funeral, what would you want people to say about you?” As my friends answered the question, many of them said they would want to be known as a good mother, a trusted friend, or a loving wife. When it came time for me to answer, I had a hard time even speaking, as the week’s emotions and insecurities came flooding back. Through tears my answer to the question was different than my friend’s answers. My answer was more basic. I said, “I would just want to know that people enjoyed my company while I lived on earth.” You see, the names Satan had called me throughout the years ran very deep, to the point that I even questioned whether or not my friends and family enjoyed my presence.
When our meeting ended that day, I remember sitting in my car listening to my friend telling me a story about her mother. As I was listening to her speak, I heard God speak to me at the same time. It was if he whispered into my left ear, for only me to hear. He said, “You are Lovely!” I immediately knew whose voice I had heard. Since the word “lovely” was not a common word in my vocabulary, I knew my Heavenly Father had just spoken to me. He wanted me to know right then and there who I was to him. It was an amazing feeling.
Immediately upon arriving home, I looked up the definition of the word “lovely” in the dictionary. It read:
1. Full of love, loving
2. Inspiring love or affection
3. Having beauty that appeals to the emotions as well as to the eye
4. Enjoyable; delightful
Wow! I just wanted to be enjoyable. I couldn’t believe that God thinks all of these things when he thinks about me. According to God I am full of love, I inspire affection, I have beauty that appeals to God’s emotions as well as to his eye, and he likes being with me. Not only that but he finds me to be enjoyable and delightful while I am in his presence. And to think that I just wanted to be thought of as enjoyable by my friends and family. I was so much more to God than I ever thought.
With three words, “You are Lovely,” God successfully gave me a new identity, and erased all the hurts I had ever experienced through all of Satan’s lies and arrows. With my new identity in Christ, almost overnight, my old identity vanished into thin air. I now knew what God called me. Talk about a boost to my self-esteem.
Each one of my friends who asked God, “Who am I to you?” heard God speak new names to them. Some heard from God quickly, while for others it took 6 months or more before he answered their question. Examples of the names God gave my friends were, “content,” “light,” “mine,” and “constant.” All of them received names from God that fit them exactly. My friend Lisa was so amazed that God called her “light” that she felt the need to ask him again. Of course the reply was the same, “You are light!” For the people who know Lisa, the word “light” explains exactly who she is. However, because of Satan’s lies throughout the years, Lisa would never in a million years have ever described herself this way if it weren’t for her Heavenly Father’s words for her. What our new names did for us is give each one of us NEW LIFE knowing exactly who we are to our Creator.
For approximately one year I found comfort in the name “Lovely.” My new name given to me by my Heavenly Father completely healed my heart. Once my heart was healed there was plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to completely invade my heart with Yahweh’s love for me. God’s love for me gave me a new bounce in my step and a peace that was hard to explain.
Then one day God led me to look up the meaning of my given name of Judy, the name I received by my parents the day I was born into this world. The cultural origin of my name is Hebrew. The inherent meaning of my name is “She who Praises.” When I saw the meaning of my name I just had to laugh. Of course my given name of Judy means, “She who Praises!” Since the day the Holy Spirit invaded my heart with God's love, what those who know me will tell you is that a day does not go by that I don’t praise Yahweh and Jesus’ holy names. God’s love for me is so overwhelming that I can’t help but speak of his love to anyone I meet.
Since Yahweh knew that while I walked this earth I would become a passionate follower of his son Jesus Christ, he knew what he wanted me to be called. So he told my mother and father to name me Judy, because he knew one day in the future I would discover that my given name has a meaning, and that it would describe exactly who I am to him. What God did on this day was to rename me once again. He said, “You are Judy!”
What I find humorous about this is I never liked the name Judy while growing up. I always wished I had a more popular name like Kelly or Susie. What I didn’t realize then is that my Heavenly Father had a different plan. He wanted me to have a name that represented my future self. He wanted me to have the name, “She who Praises,” because that is the best name that he could give me to describe who I would become for his Kingdom. What a gift!!!
So who are you? What do you call yourself? What unhealthy names do you unknowingly repeat over and over in your brain? Do yourself a favor today and stop calling yourself these names. Find out who you truly are to your Heavenly Father. Find out for yourself how he describes you. Ask him a personal question, “Who am I to you?” and then be expectant to hear his reply. Don’t wait, because his new name for you is guaranteed to change your identity. After you receive your new name allow God to heal your heart as only he can do and then fill it to overflowing with his love for you. With a healed and whole heart there is no telling what you can accomplish for God’s Kingdom. Allow Yahweh today to strip you of your old self, so that he can clothe you with your new identity, the one that he wants you to embrace.