My whole life I have known that God loves me. That He loves me enough that He sent His son to die on the cross to take away my sins that I may be reconciled to Him and live in the fullness of life. But the thing is, just because you know something doesn’t mean you believe it. I knew I was a child of God but I never truly believed it.
I never knew that I knew that I knew.
So this week at YWAM, we talked about our identity and who we are.Interestingly enough, last Sunday was rough. I was struggling with low self-esteem. I felt like no one here at YWAM thought I was worth getting to know. I felt alone, broken and inadequate in every way.
Come Monday morning we dove into the issue of identity and who God says we are. I was still feeling pretty crappy. One of my friends helped me realize that maybe my self-esteem has been low here because I’m no longer surrounded by a solid group of confident friends who are constantly affirming me. I had that in Seattle and I don’t have that here, because like me, everyone else here is struggling too. It made me realize that I need to find my affirmation in God alone, not other people. I need to find my identity in God alone, not who others say I am or who I tell myself I am.
The week continued on and we went deeper into the issue of our personal identity as well as how we view one another. We talked about how a lot of our identity comes from past hurts, often hurts inflicted by the opposite sex.
Long story short, God moved. The girls asked for forgiveness from the guys. We committed to honoring and respecting them as brothers. To allowing them to walk in the leadership and authority they’re called to walk in. The guys knelt and asked for forgiveness on behalf of all of the men who had hurt us. They committed to protecting us, uplifting us and loving us. Call it cheesy but there was incredible healing. For the first time in my life I saw how things were supposed to be: Godly men and women loving and honoring one another.
Later in the week we made two lists. One list was of the lies that we have believed and lived by and a second list was of the truths that oppose those lies. Thursday evening we came back together as a group to go over those lists, unsure of what was going to happen. The second I walked in the room it was obvious that spiritual warfare was going on and we could tell something was about to happen.
Then God moved like CRAZY. The reality of the crap I was living in hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sick of doubting my salvation, I was sick of living in darkness. I was sick of feeling inadequate. I was sick of not knowing the love of God. I was sick of always struggling. I was sick of believing lies.
I knew I needed to proclaim truth over my life and be set free. I was a sobbing mess. Not because I was scared to be vulnerable in front of everyone, but because I was scared to face the enemy, the power of darkness that I let mess with me for so long.
In front of everyone I cried out to God, I told Him I wanted to know Him and be free from my chains. I proclaimed my list of truths while I ripped up my list of lies. That I am fearfully & wonderfully made. I am beautiful. I am made new. I am intelligent. I am made in God’s image. I am unique. I am created to live an extraordinary life. I am passionate. I am strong. I am valuable. I am worth it. I am important. I am good enough. I am whole. I am wanted. I am desired. I am accepted. I am real. I am free.
But I wasn’t free.
The group of leaders that were helping me through this told me to say it again.
“I am free”
One whispered, “You sure about that?”
That pissed me off and with everything I am I yelled,
“I AM FREE”
In that moment I felt a release. The girls came around me and prayed for me. Then an incredible man of God walked up to me, told me I am beautiful and asked me to dance. The song ‘Dance With Me’ by Evan Earwick played. I sobbed, he held me, and through him I danced with Jesus. After him, guy after guy asked to dance with me. They held me and I felt like I was finally meeting my Savior for the first time in years. He held me in his arms, comforted me and romanced me.
Later that night when I looked in my eyes I saw wholeness for the first time. After years of waiting, I now know in the depths of my heart that Jesus loves ME, is crazy about ME, and I know who I am in Him. I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I am beautiful, and perfectly made. Falling asleep I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt giddy and I continued to replay the scene of dancing with Jesus in my mind. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be loved by the King of the universe. I am His and I am free.
“The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay, and brought into the FREEDOM and glory of the children of God.” ROMANS 8:21