I recently listened to a podcast [*] where the speaker asked a question that made me stop, replay, and consider. She asked, “Who were you before anyone told you who you were supposed to be?”
I have wrestled for decades with this question. Who was I before innocence was interrupted and the concept of brokenness entered my mind? Who was I before a failed marriage at the age of 17, a lost baby, a second marriage, infertility, a career that climbed and then tumbled? Who am I, as I settle into retirement?
Who was I before my experiences jaded my perspectives, before the world influenced my heart?
I can confidently say that I am not what the world tries to tell me. I am not defined by success; my value does not come from my possessions. I am certain I am more than the collection of social media posts, comments stored in my mind, or the carefully airbrushed images I try to emulate. Today’s cultural norms don’t fit – I’ve been uniquely knit together.
Jo Saxton, author, speaker, podcaster, and leadership coach, offers
“The good news is that God already knew who we were before life happened to us. God already knew who we were before anybody told us who we were supposed to be.”
God has an answer.
Before my self-image was formed, God’s desire was for me to reflect His image.
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…”
27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them…
We were designed in our creator’s image. We are image-bearers, reflections of our Father’s character to the rest of the world. His intentions were not for us to lose ourselves in the distractions of this world or try to navigate life distant from Him. Rather, we were built for close intimate relationship. God offers purpose. He defines our value. He directs our path, as we faithfully trust Him with today and the future.
BeLOVED, you are so much more than the image you’ve created. You are more than the lies you’ve learned to believe and more than the definition placed on you by the world.
You are God’s image-bearer!
You are greatly loved.
You are His beloved.
13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
[*] To access the full podcast, please click this link (The Labels that Define You).
Please read these passages from Psalms 139 and reflect on the questions that follow.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
New Living Translation (NLT)
Take a few minutes to consider the following.
- As you read the verses above, how does it make you feel to know that the God of the universe has made you “wonderfully complex?” You are marvelously made.
- Verses 16 and 17 tell us that God knows the details of each of our days. He knew them before we were even born. It also reminds us that God thinks about us. In fact, His thoughts are too numerous to count. How do these verses encourage you?