When you look in the mirror, what version of yourself do you see? Do you see everything you want to be and everything you're not? Who do you wish was staring back at you?
Although I have been a Christian for many years now, it has only been recently that I have come to understand that I, with all my faults and failures, am truly important to God. It might seem obvious, but it's something I've found really difficult to fully understand and comprehend. I easily fall into the trap of thinking someone else is more valuable to God than me, because of, for example, the amazing message they preached on Sunday, or the incredible voice with which God has gifted them! Maybe like me, you fall into this trap too! You may find yourself wanting to follow someone else's path, rather than following Christ alone and the path he has in store for you. This path of striving to be like another person can so easily become a path for your own glory, rather than God's.
BUT it is so important to remember your identity, and to not stray from it! Where is your identity found? In Christ: his teachings, death, resurrection and unconditional love. More specifically, you are the most important person to Jesus, and he showed this through his sacrificial love for you. If you are struggling with understanding or finding your identity in Christ or are unsure what this means, I strongly suggest you read Ephesians 1 + 2, and 1 John 3. These chapters so beautifully depict who you are in Christ because of his unending love for you on the cross.
So, because your identity is in Christ, God calls you to follow in his footsteps, along your own path, ignoring the distractions around you. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul describes how although we each have individual and diverse gifts, we are all part of one body of Christ. Paul says that, although different, each part of the human body is needed for the body to function as a whole! And that is how it is in the body of Christ. We each have different gifts, unique to each one of us, given to us through the grace of our Heavenly Father! Therefore, you don't need to strive to be someone else, God has blessed you individually with different gifts to use in his service.
If you are feeling unsure about the gifts God has given to you, or find yourself wanting the gifts and the path God has paved out for another, here are some things that might help you.
- It is so important to meditate on the word of God, through prayer. In this, you can clear your mind of other thoughts and focus on hearing from God. Prayer allows you to abandon your plans and your dependence on yourself, and fall on your knees before God, relying and trusting that His plans for you are perfect and the best for you. Ask him what his plans and gifts are that he has blessed you with.
- Read through Ephesians to gain some foundation for your identity, who you are as a member of Christ's family. Ask God for wisdom in using your gifts for his purpose and his glory. James assures us in his letter that for those who ask for wisdom, God will give generously to those who believe (Jam. 1:5).
- I've found that through reminding myself every day that my identity is in Christ, I've become more confident in my gifts, and knowing that I am bringing glory to God through them. Something as small as writing a verse on the front of your journal that reminds you of who Jesus has called you to be or having a verse on the back of the bathroom door, or on your desk at work. Through understanding your gifts, being sure of your identity and following the plans God has in store for you, you can be sure that you are bringing glory to God, and serving him wholeheartedly.
In Jeremiah 29, God promises this: "'For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Now look in the mirror, see yourself as God sees you - his own child, made perfect through the sacrifical love of Jesus. A valuable member of God's family.