What Do You Think? Wednesday
Last night was an amazing time of prophetic ministry during the women’s service at my church. Our women’s pastor and my BFF, Renee Carr, spurred the women to remember that “Only the Strong Survive” and challenged us to avoid the traps the devil has to give us a TKO (Total Knock Out). All while she spoke a woman near me kept shaking her head and saying “umm, umm, umm.” Most of what Pastor Carr was saying was identical to a conversation she had had minutes earlier. She knew God was speaking directly to her and received the confirmation to embrace her calling.
Sometimes, though, we don’t want to heed God’s voice even when He is evidently speaking. This happened last week while in prayer with my children when Joshua, my oldest, my prayer warrior, said a quick prayer. When he ended, I said, “C’mon, prayer warrior,” then Nathaniel, his four-year-old brother, shouted, “Pray like a prayer warrior.” I had never said what Nathaniel said to Joshua and didn’t even know Nathaniel could process like that. After Joshua attempted to pray more effectively, Nathaniel said, “That’s all you got, Smith?” (A phrase my husband uses when the boys are trying, and failing, to beat him at a game.) “You’re a prayer warrior. Pray like a prayer warrior!” Nate kept saying over and over again.
Though Joshua initially tried to deny that the Holy Spirit was using his brother to prompt him in his calling, to claim his identity, he was clear that his yet to be saved brother had some unusual insight. Joshua just couldn’t believe how adamant Nate was in telling him “Yes you are!” after Joshua proclaimed “I’m not a prayer warrior.” Denying our identity is something some recovering strong black women may have a problem with, too. We know what God is saying, but we know what we want to do instead. We know where we want to work, where we want to serve in ministry, who we want as friends and where we want to live. But perhaps we keep getting denied a promotion, aren’t working well in our chosen area of ministry, get tagalongs who try to befriend us, and can’t sell our house because what we want is a denial of our identity. What we want isn’t suitable for the person God has called us to be.
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This “all” includes everything that we want to hold onto that is definitely not “in Christ”—our attitudes, our relationships, our activities and, yes, our identity. We may have thought we would have a certain career path and God led us on what we thought was a detour, but the switch was God’s plan for us all along. He stamped our identity before the foundation of the earth. Even with that knowledge, some of us fight our identity. But there comes a time that we need to just do what the woman at my church did: Hear the words, recognize them as familiar and simply say, “Yes, Lord, I hear you. I submit to your way.” Our lives will be less of a struggle; God’s grace will be with us, and He will be pleased.
What have been your greatest areas of identity denial? Read the “Reclaiming Your Identity” article by Dr. Deana Murphy in EEW Magazine (a different, yet complementary, message to mine but for me confirmation that God was speaking this word about embracing our identity when He prompted me last week to write about this) and tell me what you think.