Whose and Whom
This summer, I was blessed enough to be a college leader on my youth group’s summer trip.
Before leaving, my pastor gathered up the leaders and told them to give a quick ‘sermon’ on a time that we were fearless, the theme of the week.
My immediate reaction was, “this will be so easy. My whole life basically revolves around fear. I’m a pro”.
Weird flex, but okay.
But I started to write down some ideas and basically threw down words like ‘depression’, ‘suicide’, and the real star- ‘the light of the world’.
I thought if i just word-vomited my struggles, it would make a meaningful sermon- and that would be the end of that.
But I sat down to do my quiet time one day and realized I was just writing down struggles and I wasn’t talking about how God got me through them.
So I started writing it like a blog post.
Hence, this blog post.
So here’s the small speech I gave while shaking like a leaf in front of 30 high schoolers (fearlessness).
When I was in high school, I dealt with a lot of mental health disorders. I finally got to the doctor’s office where I was diagnosed with an anxiety and panic disorder, depression, and finally last summer- PTSD.
Let me stop here. I’m so grateful for these diagnostics. They led me to get prescriptions that prevented panic attacks and even suicidal tendencies. I still take these prescriptions today and they save my life on a daily basis. I am so grateful for the opportunity that arose from the diagnostics.
But I took what the doctors said too far.
My identity changed because of what the doctors told me. I didn’t have depression, I was depressed. I didn’t struggle with suicidal tendencies. I was suicidal. I didn’t have fear, I was fearful. Sensing a theme?
And yeah, that was a lot of mindset. But it also was me taking my identity and putting it in something that wasn’t true.
We are children of God.
As Christians, that is our identity. But the enemy wants to change that and skew it, because as soon as we decide not to be defined by God, we stop acting like children of God. And that can destroy us, our testimony, and sometimes our lives.
I have always thought one of the stupidest stories in the Bible is when Peter denies Jesus.
At the last supper, Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray him. Peter immediately speaks up and says, “it’s not me, right?” To which Jesus replies, “you said it- not me” (paraphrased).
Jesus literally tells Peter he will betray Him. And Peter tells Him that he would never do that, and then goes ahead and does it.
It always seemed avoidable. Just don’t deny Jesus. It’s not that hard. But that’s what I did too, and it’s easy.
I denied Jesus every time I associated myself and my identity with an illness instead of the truth.
And the truth is beautiful.
The Bible has hundreds of passages talking about the identity of children of God. But there are 3 that really stood out to me.
1 John 3:1 talks about how we are like Jesus, not like the world. I find this stunning because we are like God, our identity is linked to His. So we need to accept that and act like it.
The second passage is John 1:12-13. The verse talks about how we are already in the world, we already exist. But God still chose us. We didn’t need to be chosen to function, but yet we are still chosen by the creator of the Earth. And we are continually chosen, no matter what we do.
Finally, Romans 8:17 talks about how we are heirs of God. Now, I don’t know about you- but I always wanted to be a princess. And we are heirs to the king of the world- which is a million times better than being a Disney Princess.
We are like God, we are chosen by Him, and we are heirs to His kingdom. Knowing that, why would you want to identify with anything else?
If you know me, you know I love the passage where Jesus calls us the light of the world. But after that verse, He warns us not to hide our light- but to let it shine.
When we identify with the things of this world, we are hiding His light and Satan is rejoicing. His job is to hide God’s light, so he loves it when God’s children do that for him.
Yeah, a lot of my problems stemmed from a chemical imbalance mixed with some hard times in my life. But a huge part of it was also how often I told myself I was whatever was bothering me, rather than knowing I was a child of God.
I still struggle with mental health. But the way I deal with breakdowns is different. Instead of immediately grasping onto what I’m struggling with and making those struggles my identity, I tell myself what I really am. I am made in God’s image, I am chosen, I am an heir.
I want to quickly state that being a child of God doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with fear, or depression, or anything. It just means you aren’t defined by those things- you’re defined by who God says you are. And He says your worth His Son dying on a cross. He says your priceless. He says you are like Him, you are Chosen, and you are His heir.
So yeah, there is no one time 1 was fearless, but there are a million times when I remind myself that I am not defined by my fear- but by my God.
1 John 3:1- “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
John 1:12-13- “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Romans 8:17- “Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.”
Matthew 5:14-16- “You are the light of the world. A town on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everything in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”