What God Says About You

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August 16, 2022

You’re never too little to ask big questions.

It’s a summer evening in Michigan, and you’re babysitting your seven-year-old niece. What do you do? You get ice cream, of course! There are few things I love more than being an aunt, and some of the moments I have cherished most have been the unexpected yet profound conversations I have had with my niece.

We were driving to the ice cream shop when she asked if I could play her favorite song in the car. It is titled “Voices” by Jana Kramer. As the song played, I quickly realized this is not a song written for children, yet the message is equally important for them to hear. The country artist sings,

The girl I used to be, she was confident and free and happy
I don’t recognize myself
Or this person in the mirror staring back at me

I’m fighting voices in my head
Voices in my head telling me that I’m not enough
I’m not pretty, and I’m broken, I’m not worthy of love
Voices in my head telling me that I should give up.

She goes on in the song to say she’s done fighting the lies and instead embracing the truth that she is strong and beautiful. It’s a touching song, needless to say. As we drove, I asked my niece why she loved this song. She said she sometimes feels like she’s not good enough, which saddens her, but this song reminds her that she has worth. I asked her what she did when she felt sad, and she said she prayed to God and hugged her kazoo real tight. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time — nothing like a kazoo to cheer you up.

My little niece is formulating in her mind who she is in what can be a very disorienting and confusing world. I, too, have often wrestled with the very question she continues to grapple with — who am I? Maybe you have, too.

Like Jana Kramer said in her song, there are a lot of voices telling us who we are, or more precisely, who or what we are not. Many times, in my life, I have felt like I have fallen short like I am not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough. The messages we believe about ourselves are important because they inform not only how we view ourselves but how we live the rest of our lives. That’s why this moment with my niece was so special. She’s so young, and yet she is piecing together her self-worth. A building block that I pray will carry her for the rest of her life; even if someday she stumbles or doesn’t recognize herself, my hope is that she could fall back on the truth of who she really is and, more importantly, whose she is.

Unfortunately, not all of us were privileged to hear positive messages of truth about who we are so young. For many, it was lies that took residence first as we felt our way through the wilderness of childhood and adolescence, desperately trying to understand our purpose and to be seen, known, and loved. I spent many years in the wilderness and remember how painful it was. It wasn’t until I truly learned about God’s love for me that I began to feel like myself.

I was at a low point in my life and had very little self-esteem. I was exhausted from living a life bound to pleasing others and seeking their approval. I was plagued by shame. I didn’t recognize who I was when I looked in the mirror. Before that point, the love of God felt unattainable. I had always heard about the love of Jesus, and yet I had never experienced it for myself. I couldn’t connect the dots of why He would love me and why His death on the cross mattered at all. It was there at rock bottom I met Jesus. I was the woman at the well. I was the woman on the ground waiting for the stones to be thrown…and instead, He reached out His arm to me, gave me a way out of the wilderness, and I met the God who sees me (Gen. 16:13).

You are made in His image.

You may have heard this before and, maybe like me, did not quite understand what it means or why it matters. The truth is, it deeply matters. The Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27. This is the origin of where our story begins, but it is not the end. Being made in the image of God means we reflect the important aspects of His nature. We are intellectual, emotional, creative, and relational beings. Unlike all other creation, mankind is set apart and unique.

The Bible is a self-revelation of God. What this tells us is that God wants to be known and has made Himself known, most evidently in His creation, and we are His greatest reflections. The Bible also says that Jesus is the Word and the Word became flesh (John 1:1). What I love about this truth is it reveals God’s intentionality in knowing His creation and meeting us where we are. We were not created and then abandoned. The Bible reveals a much more relational, present, and active Creator who interacts with His creation and loves them — so much so that He would sacrifice Himself so that we would not be separated from His love (John 3:16).

You are made with deliberate thought and purpose.

Because you are made in His image, your life is sacred, no matter that you have been told otherwise. You are not a mistake. You are not disposable. You were made with deliberate thought, precise attention, and with great and tender care. You were created to reflect God’s goodness and love and to experience the joy of living out that purpose.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

In Christ, you are forever loved unconditionally.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38–39

Unlike perhaps every other relationship in your life, there is nothing you can do to earn the love of God or lose it — it is already yours. This was and still is one of the hardest truths for me to internalize. If I believe that God is good and holy, and in my experience, I see how often I fall short of reflecting that kind of goodness, how could He possibly love me? I think the resistance to receiving this truth often comes from past disappointments and woundedness. Somewhere along the way, I understood love as something not freely given but earned, even if it meant changing who I was to receive it.

But the truth is, God is gracious and merciful, and as hard as it sometimes is to believe, He loves us just as we are, no matter what. In fact, the entire Old Testament is filled with stories of people falling short again and again and God still showing mercy and loving them through it. It’s also what makes the opening chapters of the New Testament so hope-filled. God knew in our fallen state we could never live up to His goodness, but His love was so relentless and unending that He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). We have the opportunity to set aside our disoriented paradigms and wounded spirits and take on new identities in Christ. Jesus is the most profound evidence of God’s love for mankind, and He offers Himself to us freely.

You are not alone.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Being made in His image is a beautiful reality, and receiving the unconditional love of God is life-altering. However, even after becoming a Christian, life is still hard. There are still dark nights. There are still times you may even find yourself wandering in the wilderness and unrecognizable. Does this mean you have failed or lost the love of God? Absolutely not. Jesus knew we would need help on this side of Heaven, and so He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our Helper (John 14:16). So even when we lose our way, or we feel a sense of loneliness, we are never truly alone, and God is there waiting to strengthen us and help us in moments of weakness. He also gives us spiritual community so that we have brothers and sisters with whom we can mourn and rejoice with. We were never meant to experience this life alone.

There is hope for you.

The above truths about what God says about you are simple, but that does not always make them easy to embrace and live out. When I found myself at rock bottom, and the Lord delivered me, I did feel tremendously lighter and hopeful, but it was and has been a long road. There were years of lies accumulated that the Lord continues to break me free from. He can do the same for you. Growing in my understanding of who God is and who God says I am, has been the most beautiful process. Like clay in the hands of a careful sculptor, I am being shaped more and more into His likeness.

My hope and prayer is that you can set aside the lies that have defined you and embrace the hopeful truth of who God says you are — someone who is deeply loved and made with intentional thought and purpose.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5–6