By MARY GEISEN
Every Sunday evening, a pastor of a local church gets on Facebook to deliver a short message. Several weeks ago, as I listened in, I heard the words “name and identity” swirling along with words of encouragement. My mind immediately drifted to the season I had just experienced and was just now stepping out of. The pastor highlighted Romans 16 as an example of Paul’s community. The beginning of the chapter identifies Paul’s spiritual family and I found strength in reading the names. The list became a testimony to the power of community and the gift of being known.
In my own life, I recently headed down a path I was old enough to know I shouldn’t choose to travel. Yet there I was making a wrong turn and walking into darkness. I made choices that led me away from my spiritual community and in the process, I forgot my identity. I am known by a God who sees me, hears me, and loves me. Every step I took was a push back from all the good I knew.
Just when I was letting my community in to know me better, I chose to isolate myself, believing this was the best course of action. I forgot the strength that comes from being known and the comfort that arrives in that space. I started thinking about Paul, who walked much of his journey in isolation while he was in prison and as he traveled to share the Good News. But he never forgot or let go of the joy of those who supported him along the way.
We all are faced with choices on a daily basis. As I reflect on the previous season of my life, I see the wrong choices. I find that the very thing God wanted me to know is the one thing I pushed away. My heart felt protected when I closed myself off, but God still found His way in. He gently opened my eyes to show me how He sees me and reminded me of the identity I carry in Christ.
For Further Thought God promises new life as His child. As a member of His family we are known, cherished, and loved. Today as you travel your own path, let this promise from God guide your steps. Take the time to recognize that you were chosen for such a time as this.
Spend a few minutes reading and praying these words from 1 Peter 2:9-10 as a reminder of who God says you are.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Walk in the hope that God knows you better than you know yourself. This truth is yours and you can rejoice that you are known.
Prayer Father God – When you created and named me, you already knew the plans for my life. You chose me as your child and gifted me with your grace and mercy. I am grateful that you still pursue me even when I turn the wrong direction. You provide hope in my challenges and grace when I make mistakes. My life is nothing without you and everything because you call me chosen. I thank you and praise you for who I am and all who created me to be. I pray this in the name of your son, Jesus. Amen.
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