We all struggle with identity—who we are, why we are and what we have to offer the world.
I remember this hit me hard after having three baby boys in five years. Everything around me radiated “BOY.” I was shopping one day and saw an adorable set of mom and daughter tennis shoes, and I thought, “How cute! I wish I could get those.”
Then I stopped, and realized, “I’m a girl. I CAN get those.”
I bought those cute tennis shoes and started trying to build “me” back into my life. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience where you had to remember you are still you.
That’s why I’ve invited my friend Michele Cushatt to share today. Without giving away her story (which you can read in her books), Michele knows what it’s like to lose her footing, and to wonder if she’d ever again be able to stand. But she also know what it’s like to cry out to God for grace and discover the miracle of His Presence and His Purpose right here, right now. Here’s Michele to share from her new book, I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is, and be sure to enter the giveaway below.
I filled the raft with air, planning a quiet afternoon of lounging in the pool. There’s nothing so sweet as the slow days of summer.
Except, of course, when you have a houseful of children.
That day, exhausted from our chaotic summer routine, I put my three littlest children down for a short afternoon nap. I needed a break. Thus, I climbed into the pool. Just myself, a single blue raft, and sixty minutes of silent solar bliss.
Within minutes of relaxing in the sun, though, I started to sink. I felt the cold water climbing up my arms and legs, soon covering my waist and making its way toward my chest.
So much for my failproof flotation device. The raft had a leak and already needed a refilling. I climbed off, blew the raft up one more time, and climbed back on.
Five minutes later, the water started to creepy-crawl back up my chilled body. For the next forty-five minutes, I climbed in and out of the pool, alternately blowing up the raft and attempting to lounge. Finally, I gave up.
So much for uninterrupted solar bliss.
Allow me to be blunt here. Sometimes I feel like a leaky raft. In spite of my regular attempts at solitude and self-care, I always seem in need of refilling. I seek more affection from my husband. More affirmation from my friends. More encouragement from my children. They try, honestly they do. But within moments of their filling, I feel myself leaking.
And I wonder, Is the problem with their efforts or with my raft? More often than not, I blame my emptiness on them.
- “If only you’d tell me I’m beautiful and take me out more often,” I cry to my husband.
- “If only you appreciated all the things I do for you every single day,” I complain to my kids.
- “If only you understood my circumstances, my point of view, or made time for me,” I whine to my friends.
Here’s the million-dollar question (brace yourself; it’s not an easy one):
What, exactly, do we want when we feel we’ve gone empty?
In my more honest moments, I’d say I crave comfort. And peace. And an absence of tension and conflict. I want a life that goes according to plan, without any surprises. I want my children to make good decisions. I want my husband to meet all my needs. I want to eat chocolate donuts and drink lattes without gaining a single pound. Because hello—chocolate donuts and lattes.
In addition to comfort, did I mention I also want control? And calm. And finances that never run out. And food that magically appears on the dinner table.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6).
Jesus’ words interrupt my whiny list of wants. Righteousness? Hungering for chocolate donuts sounds easier. Hungering for righteousness sounds like hard work.
Simply, righteousness means to be right with God. Not a bad thing. Problem is the Bible says I can do nothing to make that happen. Like trying to keep a leaky raft filled, there is no amount of effort I can expend to justify myself before a holy God. That’s why God sent Jesus. His death paid our price, patched our holes, allowing the righteousness of God to cover and fill. That means, in Christ, you and I stand whole before God, even while we’re still very wrong.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
In other words, blessed are those who want nothing more than to want Him.
Because only in Christ can hearts be full. No more leaky raft, no more whining to husband and children and friends, “Fill me!”
Instead, wholeness before Holiness.
GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED: Congrats Sally (commented 3/7 at 6:39 am). Please check your email for more info.
And everyone’s a winner when you sign up for Michele’s FREE 7-Day I Am Video Experience here.
These words pulled from the pages of Michele’s most recent book—I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is—were penned during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of tongue cancer, during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about our current identity epidemic and the reason why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds. I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.
Michele and her husband, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long walk, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele at michelecushatt.com.