You’re Amazing!

I had coffee with a good friend this week and as we chatted she joked, “You know, every morning when I come downstairs, there’s a woman in the mirror and she always tells me ‘You’re amazing!’ And I believe her!” We laughed but it wasn’t a joke I forgot!

I know my friend’s story and I know she could easily allow herself to hear that same woman saying different words, something not so encouraging. But she knows that lady is seeing her through God’s eyes and she chooses to hear His words over her life at the start of every day.

It reminds me of the movie ‘The Help’ (if you haven’t seen it, it is so worth watching). In it the maid tells the little girl she looks after “You is kind, you is smart, you is important” first thing every morning.

For many years I struggled with self evaluation: comparing myself to others, being a perfectionist, seeking the approval of others, finding my identity in what I did, self criticism, measuring myself by how others saw me, allowing their actions and achievements to affect how I felt – being critical or jealous of others rather than celebrating who they were.

Although I didn’t always appreciate the process of dealing with post viral fatigue, it helped me to know that when I had nothing else (no job, no income, no energy) all that really mattered was that I was His much-loved child. It opened my eyes and my heart to how my Father sees me and how He wants me to see myself reflected in His eyes.

To each one of us He says “You are amazing”. All because of His amazing grace in our lives. He was broken so we could be made whole. His death has brought us fullness of life. He wants us to see our reflection through His resurrection.

In ‘The Help’, the maid not only tells the little girl “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” but she gets her to repeat it. Why? So the little girl says who she is.

We need to start repeating who He says we are:

I am precious (Isaiah 43:4)
I am beloved (Colossians 3:12)
I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
I am known (Psalm 139:1)
I am treasured (Deuteronomy 7:6)
I am His delight (Psalm 147:11)
I am adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
I am God’s child (Romans 8:15)
I am God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

and we need to stop saying things about ourselves that don’t match up with who He says we are.

As Bill Johnson says “We can’t afford to have a thought in our minds that isn’t in His.”

And He thinks ‘YOU’RE AMAZING!!’

 

 

 

What Do You Do?

How often have you been asked this when the real question is ‘who are you?’ rather than what you do 9 to 5!

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1, 2 MSG)

These are two of my favourite verses so I love that in Causeway Coast Vineyard we’ve been exploring how to “Take your everyday, ordinary life”. Post viral fatigue has meant I’ve been able to place quite a lot of sleeping ‘before God as an offering’ and I’ve been doing rather well on the ‘eating’ front recently too! But what about the ‘going-to-work’ part? This has changed quite dramatically for me. Two years ago I would have been rushing around 9 different schools, teaching Spanish to over 700 kids aged 3-11.

Now that my health is a lot better than it was, many people ask me ‘are you going back to work?’ They mean well and are referring to my Spanish teaching job. I’ve often felt more than a twinge of guilt when I say I’m not able to go back to my old job or when I struggle to answer that old chestnut ‘What do you do?’. The truth is that even though I still deal with fatigue, I’m enjoying how life looks at the minute now but in terms of a job title or a salary, it’s hard to quantify what I actually “do”.

So at the start of the year, I felt I wanted to write a ‘job description’ for myself based on things I had read or heard over the past year, things I had prayed and felt God speak to me about. And here it is …
I now work for my Father in the ‘family business’. I’m an ambassador of the Kingdom. As a Royal Priest my duties are to stand in His presence, to carry His presence, and to proclaim His blessings. I am a vessel for His honour (2 Tim 2:21).

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord ’s favour has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.(Isaiah 61:1-2 NLT)

– to be bold and obedient in living a lifestyle of risk taking; to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom and testify to the good news of His grace; to partner with Him to release His goodness and His glory in the atmosphere by praying with people to see the sick healed and captives set free.

– to speak out the language of heaven, the truth of His word, and cut off the voice of the enemy; to “shape the river of your beauty and goodness into words that burst the banks of the hearts of others”. Ps 45:1,2

– to be a carrier and a multiplier of hope and to create a climate of hope; to pour out the oil of gladness and to release joy; to help others find strength in you.

– to sow small seeds of great significance to release the Kingdom and change the culture in our homes, workplaces, communities, cities, generations, and nations.
As we each “take our everyday, ordinary life”, whether we work as a volunteer, nurse, teacher, social worker, engineer, artist, musician, florist, garden or interior designer, solicitor, doctor, stay at home mum, in business or in retail … No matter how different our days look, the first thing we ask each morning sounds the same … ‘Father, what do you want to do today?’ and as a result we have many of these duties in common.

Father, as 2014 begins, I “take my everyday, ordinary life” and make it available to you to pray your blessing over people; to see you release your presence, love, peace, joy, hope, grace, mercy, healing, forgiveness, redemption over lives; to see the broken made whole and the captives set free.

So “what do you do?”. As Roland Baker says “my job is to stay closer to Jesus”. That’s my job too.