This is an excerpt from a talk that I was supposed to give at a women's event on May 1, 2020. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 and restrictions on events, the event was cancelled to protect everyone. I still wanted to share this and I pray that this resonates or clicks in some way.
All my love,
I've hit rock bottom before a few times. I used to think that it was the end of the world, and that in my brokenness, God couldn't possibly love me.
But a trusted friend changed my perspective on the idea of hitting rock bottom. She said, "It may feel like you have nowhere more to go because you hit rock bottom. But know that the rock you find yourself on is the solid foundation of Jesus. Let Him rebuild you."
How do we allow Jesus to rebuild our identity after we hit rock bottom?
I can say that it isn’t easy. Particularly as women, it can be so easy to identify ourselves by what we do and what we’ve accomplished.
But God sees us as so much more than that. Further, in Isaiah, the Lord says this: “You are precious in my eyes and honoured, and I love you" (Isaiah 43:4).
Sister, HE LOVES YOU. But the key is that we need to allow Him to love us.
To allow ourselves to be loved means that we need to be vulnerable. We need to open ourselves up to God and let Him into all parts of us – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
As women, we tend to recoil at this. We’re all about aesthetics and beauty and decoration – all good things. There is nothing inherently sinful in desiring things to be beautiful and put together. For us, we make sure that our house is tidy before we have people come over. We make sure to have our outfits and makeup on point before we leave the house. We put filters on our photos before we post them. Essentially, we hide or put aside the unfavourable things – the things that we want no one to see.
We can think of our lives like a house with many rooms. I want you to visualize that for a second. Imagine that God called to let you know that He wants to come over to visit you. You spend the day cleaning and putting stuff away. When God arrives, you start to spend the evening with Him and you show Him around the house. You show Him every room – everything, except for one small room where you shoved all your old clothes, knick-knacks, and things that you haven’t gotten around to sorting through.
Usually with other guests, we skip over this room because there is nothing of value in there, or so we tell ourselves. But God is persistent. He wants to go into that room. You’re a little shocked and confused, and you might also get a little anxious. Why is He so persistent about this room?
It is here, in that very room, that God shows who He is. He wants to be let into every room of our lives, not just the ones where we put up new paintings or matched our pillow covers with the wallpaper. Even in the mess, He calls us beautiful. And I think that this is what gets lost in society today: we aren’t allowed to have shortcomings. We are in a society of filters and constant comparison, and I believe that this leads us to distance ourselves from other people so that we don’t get hurt. And because of this distance, we start to do that to God as well. We welcome Him in when things are going well and we’re thriving and succeeding. But in those moments where we might need a little help or have fallen because of our sin, we shut the door on Him.
Sister, I challenge you today to let God into every single facet of you and your identity. I challenge you to stop running and put down all the tools that you’ve been using to build up your identity. The Lord calls us to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to abide in Him.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus uses the analogy of being the True Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:1-17). He doesn’t need us to do anything but to rest in Him and allow us to be loved by Him. This love does not need to be earned, nor do we need to work towards accumulating it. After Jesus died for us on the cross, we were given this salvation.
What I found when I started to abide in Him and take stock of what mattered in my life – my family, my friends, and most importantly my relationship with God – was that everything else would fall into place. When we surrender everything to God, we don’t lose our identity. In fact, He helps us shine even more.
One of the greatest lessons that I learned from starting my podcast The Feminine Genius is that the gifts and interests we have are not random. God has given them to us to fulfill a specific purpose that He has entrusted to us. We each have a calling and a journey to share the love of God with others. How we do that is through the unique talents we have. Abiding in Him and building our identity on the solid foundation of a relationship with Jesus helps us to live freely and more like ourselves.
To close, I want to share a quote from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that was shared with me by a CCO missionary: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.”
Sisters, our identity is in Jesus Christ alone. Nothing else in the world matters: no amount of likes, no tidy house, no matching make-up and outfit, no career, wealth or power, not even well-behaved children and spouses. However far away you feel that you have gone from your relationship with Him, know that every moment is an opportunity to turn back to Him. When we look at Jesus on the cross, we see His arms outstretched. He wants to embrace you, speak to you, and love you. Find your identity in Him today and always.
On the date of publication (April 29), it is the feast of St. Catherine of Siena, mystic and Doctor of the Church! One of my favourite saint quotes is by her, and I think it goes quite nicely with the theme of this post: "Be who God meant for you to be and you will set the world on fire."
When we live in the fullness of our life in Christ, we not only transform ourselves but the world around us. Let us live confidently in our gifts and identity in Christ!