by Pastor Tim Thomas
I spent a large part of my life trying to be someone else, because I didn’t particularly like who I was. But I’ve come to realize that I was looking at myself through lenses that could only provide a distorted picture. Once God healed me from a deep-seated issue of rejection , I was able to more readily take in the truth that God had been speaking to me all along: that he loved me as I was, with all my seeming imperfections and weaknesses; that he made me as I am intentionally, and that it was meant not only for my good, but for the good of others; and that he wanted me to embrace who he created me to be, so that his purpose in this creation could be revealed in light rather than hidden in the shadows.
I would say to anyone reading this, that if you don’t feel loved, special, and with purpose for your life, you either need healing at some deep places in your life; or truth spoken to you and then embraced to replace what you are now believing; or both.
For me, healing came through the ministry of some friends one evening as they prayed with me. It was a God-appointed time. What changed me was a vision that God gave me of him carrying me in his arms when I was a baby at an orphanage before I was adopted. He spoke to my heart something that I didn’t even know I needed to hear – that he never abandoned me, but was always with me, watching over me, caring for me. That picture set me free from believing I was rejected and deserving rejection. I was healed on the inside, and I started believing my worth. And once I was healed, I was more readily able to receive God’s love and the love of others.
If you also need healing, I want to assure you that God wants you to be healed, and in the right time, I believe that he will heal you. Your part is to invite him to heal you, and to do your best to follow him and cooperate with him as you wait. I didn’t even know I was in need of healing, and I didn’t have my amazing experience until after I turned 40.
To help you build a foundation of truth and see yourself as immensely beautiful and having a meaningful role for your life, I would like to present a few verses from the Bible that can be transforming. They were for me! The first is from Ephesians 2:10, where the Apostle Paul writes, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Have you ever thought of yourself as a masterpiece? As someone hand-crafted by God? That is exactly what you are! And yet most people cannot believe such a thing about themselves, because they – like I used to – have lenses that give a distorted view. But the truth is how you are made is beautiful. What you thought were quirks and oddities that needed to be hidden are actually strengths that need to be displayed. (To be clear, I’m referring to your ways of seeing things, ways of expressing things, preferences, talents, etc. I am not trying to justify anything that you might mistakenly think is part of the “true” you that would seek to harm yourself or others – things that are selfish or sinful. Those aren’t things that God put there, and they are not part of the “true” you.)
More than just being finely made, this verse tells us that you are made with a purpose. What you do with your life has critical value. But this verse suggests that the only way we can find and live out this purpose – this destiny – is through walking with Jesus. We don’t do great things in our own strength, but with the strength, inspiration, and guidance of God.
In 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul teaches that each of us have a special role to play in the Body of Christ. He writes, “The body is not made up of one part but of many… God has arranged the parts in the body… just as he wanted them to be… The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:14,18,21-23, NIV).
We are not all meant to be alike, no matter how much our school system and our society try to push us into molds – no matter how much we believe we are supposed to fit into molds. We are not. God has made us each in a different way, and if we fail to embrace that difference, everyone suffers, because who we are in our true selves is what the world needs. That difference is freeing, too, because it allows us do what we were meant to do, and allows us to let others do their part. We don’t have to do everything ourselves.
It takes some patience and even humility to come to understand and embrace ourselves as God made us. Shauna Niequist explains in her book “Present Over Perfect”, “Some of being an adult, though, is about protecting and preserving what we discover to be the best parts of ourselves, and here’s a hint: they’re almost always the parts we’ve struggled against for years. They make us weird or different.”
But as we learn to embrace who God made us to be, we are also challenged to courageously live out of our true selves. Jesus tells us, “’You are the light of the world… No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house’” (Matthew 5:14-15, NLT). You were not meant to keep your uniqueness hidden, but rather to embrace what you have been given, and use it for the glory of God and for the sake of others who need to see the light you shine.
As Shauna Niequist tells us, “You were made by hand with great love by the God of the universe, and he planted deep inside of you a set of loves and dreams and idiosyncrasies, and you can ignore them as long as you want, but they will at some point start yelling. Worse than that, if you ignore them long enough, they will go silent, and that’s the real tragedy.” You can squander your life living out of the false self, or make an impact by living out of the true self. And while there can be some fun found in the false self, deep fulfillment is only possible living in the true self.
So for those of us who always thought we were a bit weird, I want to assure you (and me, too): You’re not weird, you’re rare. That is God’s honest truth. “Weird” and “rare” are both out of the ordinary. The difference is that “weird” is not valued (and perhaps somewhat despised), while “rare” is highly valued. As God’s hand-crafted masterpiece, you are highly valued, and it’s time to start embracing that idea.