Who Would You Be If You Weren’t You?

Years ago, our youth minister plastered the youth group’s meeting place with teen photo mashups. Headshots of each member of the group had been cut in horizontal strips so that the eyes, noses/ears, and mouths were separated into three distinct pieces. Then in random order, the pieces were put back together so that each new photo contained a strip of eyes, noses/ears, and mouths from three separate people. The results were hideous to say the least. The display reminded all who saw it that we are uniquely and wonderfully made exactly the way our Creator intended – inside and out. 

Who would you be if you weren’t you? 

Praying for Taylor Swift’s blue eyes, Jessica Biel’s “perfect” nose, and Julia Roberts’ smile just might be a prayer we’re glad never got answered. Now, don’t get me wrong! I’m still a fan of the old saying, “If the barn needs painting, paint it!” (And sometimes old barns need a board or two replaced. Just sayin’.) But never becoming satisfied with how God made you can wreak havoc on how He is able to use you.

Appearance ranks high on a teenager’s list of priorities, yet even as we grow older, we can be tempted to remain overly aware of how others perceive us. It becomes tempting to compare our own emotional and spiritual growth to that of our peers.  We say to ourselves, “If only we had her knack for leadership, his positive outlook on life, her knowledge of Scripture, his sweet spirit, and her ability to love even when it’s hard, then we could do what we need to do for the Kingdom.” That sort of mashup of gifts works when we are talking about the church as the whole body of Christ. But, none of us were made to individually do everything. We were simply made to do what we were made to do. 

“In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. God’s marvelous grace imparts to each one of us varying gifts.” (Romans 12:4-5, TPT)

God gave you YOUR eyes to see things others might miss. The hurts and joys you’ve witnessed with your own eyes provide insight others may not have. God has given you the privilege of noticing things others might overlook, such as an awkward glance, an uncomfortable shift, a short sweet smile, or glistening eyes. The closer and longer we sit next to Jesus, the more He teaches us to see people and things as He sees them. You love others because He first loved you abundantly.

God gave you YOUR nose and ears to signal when it’s time to pay attention. Like a bloodhound hot on the trail, you’ve learned to pick up Satan’s stench whenever he begins to meddle in certain areas. Now, just a whiff puts you on high alert – for yourself and others. You enjoy basking in the fragrance of Christ so much that it entices you to follow Him more closely. You’re learning to drown out the whispers of the accuser by tuning in to the Spirit’s voice. As a result, you pay attention to others because He first paid attention to you.

God gave you YOUR mouth to tell all of the praiseworthy things He has done in and through you. Hearts willing to share their testimonies minister powerfully to those lying in similar circumstances. No one else can tell your story like you can. Throughout Scripture, important events displaying God’s power were told and retold. He did not want them to forget how He led His people out of Egypt, the significance of Passover, the importance of the cross, or Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Sharing your most significant stories honors God and helps you humbly remember all He’s done for you. You have a story to tell that only you can tell. And it’s a powerful one!  You speak up for God because He first spoke up for you.

No matter who you are, God has a personalized plan already mapped out for you. You can confidently say the same thing David did in Psalm 139. Even though you may know this Psalm well, read it slowly with fresh eyes – those beautiful eyes that belong to you and no one else.

“You saw who you created me to be before I became me. Before I’d seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book. Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.” (Psalm 139:16-18, TPT)

Dear Lord, 
Thank you for loving us well, paying attention to what we need, and using Your power to deliver and redeem us. Give us more opportunities to love others well, to pay attention to You, and to speak of Your power so others will be drawn closer to You. It’s not to us, O Lord, but to Your name that we give all the glory and praise! In Jesus’ name!
Amen

Posted in
IMG_1457

Leave a Comment





Take Me as I Am

By Donna Jackson | July 20, 2021 |

The waitress poured us another cup of coffee. Not seeing the bottom of our cups for a couple of hours would earn her a nice tip. Measly crumbs from breakfast lingered on empty plates as we each revealed our own tidbits of angst. Realizing we’d both had similar frustrating weeks, my friend sighed, “I started…

What a Sweet, Sweet Spirit!

By Donna Jackson | July 13, 2021 |

Does any of this sound familiar? Your emotions are pushing you in one direction, but you’ve learned you can’t trust swirling emotions. They’ve misled you more than once. Yet, in the middle of your wrestling, you feel a stronger-than-usual nudge. You wonder whether it’s the Spirit or Satan. On one hand, you’re tempted to believe…

Props for the Drooping

By Donna Jackson | July 6, 2021 |

Street corners, window boxes, and yards are filled with beautiful flowers this season! Newest plants continuously soak in raindrops and rays that push down roots and help sprout new leaves. Older established plants in my yard received extra attention during our months of quarantine. Faithfully, they’ve put down deeper roots and grown stronger branches. A…

Keeping the Light On and Staying Out of the Darkness

By Donna Jackson | June 29, 2021 |

What Won’t Help Someone Struggling with Depression Trying Harder Criticizing Disbelieving Comparing Over Spiritualizing Dismissing Deflecting Redirecting Minimizing Reducing Taken from Out of the Cave by Chris Hodges, p. 38 What Will Help Someone Struggling with Depression Committing Being Trustworthy Connecting Supporting Accepting Helping Encouraging Giving Hope Listening Offering a new perspective Taken from Out…

A Solid Lump of Burning Fire

By Donna Jackson | June 15, 2021 |

Our house sits perched on the edge of Gunter Mountain. From our deck, you can take in the view of the Tennessee River slicing through Lake Guntersville. My husband says we can see 20 miles up and down the river. (I can’t tell you how many yards it is to the mailbox, so I just…

Martha and Mary’s Hidden Gem

By Donna Jackson | June 14, 2021 |

If you listen to playing children for very long, you’ll most likely hear the words, “That’s not fair!” Exasperated parents often respond with, “I’m sorry, but life’s not always fair.”   If we’re honest, even as adults, it’s easy to fall into the “that’s not fair” trap. We grudgingly witness others happily waking up in our dreams, or…

Reflections of You and Me

By Donna Jackson | June 8, 2021 |

Mountains or beach? Most of us develop an intense preference for one or the other early on. I enjoy going to the mountains, but the beach ALWAYS blesses my soul. The smell of salt air mixed with sunscreen and the taste of freshly grilled fish (or steak at Big Mike’s Steakhouse) paints my face with a big wide grin. I bask in the constant…

The One Jesus Loves

By Donna Jackson | May 25, 2021 |

I love Jesus for many reasons, but one of them is for teaching us the importance of friendship. Jesus was a friend to everyone, but perhaps His three closest friends (Peter, James, and John) knew Him best of all. Do you have a nickname?  In my family, everyone has at least one, and most have…

Sweat, Grass, and Sam Cooke

By Donna Jackson | May 18, 2021 |

Last summer, the swelter of the hot southern day forced my skin to do more than glisten. Sweat dripped off the end of my nose, temporarily watering the stubborn weeds being jerked out of my flower bed. Lively tunes in my ears helped make the task more bearable while drowning out my husband’s roaring mower. …

Can You Answer One Question?

By Donna Jackson | May 11, 2021 |

The message for ladies struggling with drug and alcohol addiction rested quietly in my notebook. My outline on grace was simple – one I thought would resonate with ladies who humbly admitted their unhealthy choices. I prayed that my newfound passion would be evident, and that it would entice others to want the Jesus I…