The summer sun was bright and hot as it poured in the windows as I drove down the nearly deserted interstate in northern Wyoming. Under the shade of an overpass I heard Jesus speak, “Turn off the music.” When Jesus speaks like that, you obey no questions asked.
In the ensuing silence I began to pray and He brought a conversation I had had with a friend to my mind. “Virginia, Jesus calls me Stephen The Redeeemed.” When he told me that I was instantly jealous. Why did he get a “the” in his name and I didn’t? It wasn’t fair. It smacked of him being Jesus favorite and I was somehow less than. I knew Jesus didn’t love me less but it felt like it.
I began praying, “Jesus, what is my “The”? Can I have one too?”
I heard the unmistakable voice of my Jesus as He said, “Virginia The Joyful.”
A few weeks or months ago, I wrote about finding a treasure in the Old Testament book of Ruth. We discussed that we are not a What but we are a Who. We are not what we do because we are human BEings and not human DOings.
Everything that follows our The is our identity. And, friend, please hear my heart so loud and clear, your “the” matters because your Identity Matters.
You might think your identity is in being a hot mess, a screw up, a failure, a bitter woman but, friend, if you are in Jesus that is not who you are because that isn’t who Jesus is!
If I could encourage your heart, it’s with this. Don’t give up. Don’t settle for what the enemy whispers in your soul about who you are. Cling tightly to Jesus. Hold fast to His life living in and through you.
When we find, believe and live out our identity in and because of Jesus life, we see life through a whole new lens. We are free. Free to love, free to rejoice, free to live.