I love music – I have it playing most of the time wherever I am. It may be a soothing background to preparing supper, an upbeat playlist of tunes while I’m cleaning that gets the whole family boppin’, or my favorite “oldies” station cranked up to sing along with while I’m on a long drive.
Music also provides an immediate connection for me in prayer. Many a time I’ve been brought to tears in gratitude while peeling potatoes and listening to the power behind the song “Lord, You’re Holy,” or feeling His presence in dark times with “I Am Not Alone.”
But there is one song that we sing as a congregation that for the longest time didn’t “sit right” with me – and for the silliest reason. Take a listen:
Check out that line:
“And I’m loved by you | It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am”
(Heads up here: this may get a little “grammar geeky”, but even if you don’t roll that way, please stick with me for a powerful lesson!) For the longest time I fought that song. Every time I heard it I focused on the phrase “who I am” with the understanding that there should be a noun involved in that answer. In other words, “who I am” should be “your daughter”, “a sinner forgiven”, “the redeemed”, “a child of God”. Much like the way men (usually) open a conversation at a party with someone they’ve just met with “So, what do you do?” I was focusing on the same. Defining myself by my activities; defining myself by my vocation or self-appointed roles or title in this life.
Spiritually, I was firmly encamped in defining myself by what I do for God. (And quite frankly, it even pains me to write those words: as if I could do ANYthing for the creator of the universe!)
But one day while stressing over a sin I had been battling for quite some time, I had a personal revelation. It was one of those things that you knew all along in your head, but your heart finally opened up to…
I was listening to that song and I was blown away by my shortsightedness.
All the things that I had been considering as descriptions of “who I am” were off base. Worse, some of them were keeping me at arms’ length from the Lord, who was continually and patiently calling me to Himself!
- Sure I am his daughter, “a sinner forgiven”, “the redeemed”, “a child of God”…but they were not who I am.
- Neither did the sin I seemed to struggle with for so long define me…
- Nor did any activity I engaged in “for” God answer the question – whether it was teaching VBS, discipling my young ones at home, tithing, worshipping, attending church…
At the very root of the matter was this: the only way to define myself is through the heart of God. And the only way to know God’s heart is to listen to Him and dig deep into His Word. And there I find the answers…
Nehemiah 1:5 “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,”
Psalm 36:7 “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…
Romans 5:5 “..because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…”
1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.”
Jude 1:21 “keep yourselves in God’s love as your wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
The Definition of You – Our Takeaway
While we are truly unique and wonderfully made, the truth – and it is the same for you as it is for me – is this: who we are IS loved by God! It is the only definition that will go into eternity with us. We may be remembered on this earth for a myriad of reasons, and with an array of titles or descriptions, but the only thing we will take with us to eternity is God’s love for us.
He has made us in His image, he works all things to make us more and more like Him each day, and He loves us with a love that we will never be able to get our heads around.
These days I listen to that Chris Tomlin song with different ears and a different heart.
I focus on the truth in the words that (not that) long ago I misunderstood. And I rejoice that God, in His infinite love and wisdom, made something that I unnecessarily complicated, so very easy.
I’m loved by Him – it IS who I am!