Priscilla Shirer said it best when she said, "When you're not the same person you used to be, you have no business going where you used to go." Isn't that the truth? Then why do I continually find myself in the places I don't want to go? It's like I have an alternate personality or something.
But it isn't an alternate personality that's the problem. It's my humanity. Plain and simple. The human side of me takes over and leads me places I thought I had long since run away from. In those moments I find myself defeated and frustrated and wanting to eat a gallon of ice cream. But, as I am on my way to get a spoon for that the ice cream, God reminds me of something so simple yet so profound. Though I feel defeated, that is not who I am. I am not defined by my failure. I am defined by Him and the things HE says about me.
Though I could come up with a million statements defining who I am in my own eyes, I need to remember who I am in His. I need to learn to change the way I view myself and allow Him to define me. When I do that, those places I used to frequent are much less appealing. I am learning to see that God has much better for me, but I will never be able to recognize it if I am looking at myself as the one who fails, the one can't seem to get it right, or the one who is back there AGAIN.
I am reading Steven Furtick's book Unqualified. He goes into detail about how God calls Himself I AM. He connects that to us making statements about ourselves and defining ourselves using I am _______ statements. He says, "Anytime we take God's name (I AM) and fill in the third word about ourselves (I am _______) with things that are contradictory to what God says about us, we are taking his name in vain. When we allow our third words to override his third words we are treating his name as empty and hollow." My. Mind. Was. Blown. When I read that, it hit me. I am always making statements about myself, but never really connecting it to the fact that that is not who I am in Him. I have been living as if what I say about me matters. It doesn't. But I let it.
When I fail and stumble and feel the pain of regret, Jesus reacts to me the same way he did to the woman who was caught in adultery in John chapter 8. He defends me. He protects me. And He gives me hope that I can live differently in the future. When I come face to face with my failure, it is far too easy to give up on myself. But in Christ my accusers are gone. And the One whose opinion matters most stands before me, a smile on His face and tenderness in His eyes. He tells me there is hope. There is a future. I can live a different kind of life. I can become the person he meant for me to be.1
1-Unqualified by Steven Furtick