Keys to Being Real

God’s plan for freedom is beautifully simple. He gives us these keys to find healing in our hearts:

Repentance

When we repent for specific ways we have judged people, and for the lies we have taken into our hearts, we find freedom. Repentance allows us to break out of the enemy’s hold on our hearts. We replace lies with truth.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools God has given us. When we forgive, we release others to be who God has created them to be. And we free ourselves to step into healing of our hearts. The article Wash, Rinse, Repeat will help you learn more about the process of forgiveness.

Presence

We have the privilege every day to just sit still and be in God’s presence. Quieten yourself. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do for your life. Don’t expect it to get easier. It never changes. It’s always hard. But the results are life-saving. Presence. Don’t leave home without it.

Accountability

Find people, a tribe, a community that will help you when you’re good, bad, or indifferent. You can’t navigate your authenticity without it, because you lie to yourself, and the enemy reinforces those lies. You lie to yourself about yourself, so the reality is you only have the Word of God and your people to help you navigate what’s true about you.

Truth

Truth is your greatest weapon against the lies that have taken root in your heart. A lot of people avoid truth because it seems harsh. Here’s the reality: If truth can save your life, and heal you, don’t hide from it. If I went to my doctor’s office, and he discovered I had cancer, wouldn’t I want to know, so I can be healed? What if the doctor didn’t tell me because he was afraid the truth would “hurt” me? Let God’s truth do its work in your heart.

Peace

Peace is a Person (Ephesians 2:14-18; Isaiah 9:6.). As you develop the practice of peace, He, the Prince of Peace (Jesus) will walk with you and teach you how to live in the now (present), in the moment. Shalom is mind, body, spirit in complete unity and rest.

Wisdom

Wisdom is also a Person (Proverbs 1:20-33). She will take up residence and walk with you, after you search her out in God.

Sabbath

God rested on the seventh day. So should we. Not necessarily the literal seventh but at least one of every seven. One hour of every seventh hour during the day.

What does it mean to rest? Quieten yourself, do things you enjoy: art, nature, music, presence. Quiet. Fun. Adventure. Friends. Puppies. Whatever brings you joy … recalibrates you … resets you mind, body, spirit … resynchronizes you with the Creator in rest.

You have the keys to your identity. God has given you everything you need. You are ready to walk out your identity quest with Him.

This is the last article in the Identity Quest series, and I hope you have enjoyed this series. To see all of the Identity Quest articles, you can follow this link.

To read more articles on the topic of Identity (including the Identity Quest articles), you will find all of my Identity-related articles here. God bless you on your identity quest!

Spiritual Identity Theft

God created you with an amazing identity. He has awesome plans for your life. Jesus wants to give you an abundant life (John 10:10) but the enemy has tried to steal your birthright. How? By trying to weigh down your heart with wounds and dysfunction. The enemy is the ultimate identity thief, and his goal is to replace God’s truth with hurts and lies in your heart.

Do you recognize any of these fruits in your life? This is the enemy’s plan for identity theft. (The links below will take you to more articles on those topics.)

Bitterness
Unforgiveness
Trauma
Fear
Sleep struggles
Emotional upset
Masks
Shame
Performance
Weight of the world
Sick and tired
Lies
Neglect
Judgments
Dishonor
Walls around your heart
Generational sin

No matter what is weighing you down, Jesus is here to bring healing to your heart. He can help you find freedom in each of these areas. You can read that in Isaiah 61.

God provides amazing keys for your freedom. To help you discover some of those keys, here is an article on Keys to Being Real that will show you how to start living in greater freedom.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Keys to Being Real.

If you would like to read all of the articles in the Identity Quest series, you will find them by following this link.

Personality, Talents, Passions

Personality, talents, and passions direct you into who God created you to be. God has innately deposited a plumb line into your being – a plumb line of your perfect created self. You can seek that out by pursuing things you enjoy that line up with His will, His Word, and His Spirit.

For example, obviously, drugs and alcohol may make you feel good, but they don’t line up with God’s will, His Word, and His Spirit. But hobbies, talents, giftings, or the pursuit/enjoyment of, help you to see and affirm who He has created you to be.

For example, when you listen to music, or you participate in art, in mindless creative artistic projects, you check out of your mind and into your spirit. And so your spirit is in His Spirit, and His Spirit is in your spirit. You are united with Him in the creative process. When you finish, you will realize you’ve spent time with Him, spirit to Spirit. It affirms God as the creator in you, and affirms His identity in you.

As you begin to step into your true identity, you may notice some lies and dysfunctional behaviors holding you back. That is the work of the enemy – the ultimate identity thief. To learn more about spiritual and emotional identity theft, and how to step into healing, this article on Spiritual Identity Theft can help you see what is weighing you down.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Spiritual Identity Theft.

The following link will take you to all articles in the Identity Quest series.

Living out of Your Creative Self

If you are searching for your identity, it’s important to learn how to live out of your creative self. This is living from the perspective of the Creator, so that you’re consciously aware of colors and smells and your senses are heightened. When you live this way, you’re smelling, seeing, hearing, touching, feeling your feet on the ground, and aware consciously of your environment in the moment.

The Word says we all are creative beings, and all uniquely in synch with each other. What is our part in nature? How does nature recalibrate us? How are we recalibrated in line with the Lord? How is our spirit in synch, how does our song tune in with nature and God, how are we a conduit for Him?

The Word says rocks will cry out and every being has a song, so how do we tune into that and calibrate ourselves in line with nature and God … as individuals … in peace and rest … coming out of disharmony, addiction, emotional discord, and hatred. How do we come into the shalom of who, what, and where we are in the universe as a whole?

When you begin answering those questions with your life, you move closer to your true identity.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Personality, Talents, Passions.

To see all of the articles in the Identity Quest series, please follow this link.

Art of Identity

If you are searching for your identity, here are some steps that I hope will help you. To find your true identity, you have to recognize your false identities, and you need to discover the things that keep you locked into those lies. You also need to listen to your heart, and listen to God. He knows your real identity. He created your true identity when He created you!

It is God’s desire to help you strip away all the junk that’s been piled up in your heart all these years – your junk, family junk, the world’s junk, the enemy’s junk. He wants you to let go of all that. Recognize where you’ve held onto things that block the truth. Find forgiveness for those who have dishonored your identity. And then walk with Jesus through the cross. That’s where you’ll exchange the lies for the truth of who you really are.

God wants more than anything to restore your true identity to you. Then you can be free to live as who you are meant to be; to enjoy all the desires God has put into your heart. And you can help others find the same freedom He offers.

Are you ready for freedom and true identity?

Here are some ways to start listening to God, and listening to your heart.

Exchanging Good For Bad

Take a pen and paper. Find a quiet place, preferably outside.

Be still.

Be quiet.

Take inventory of your emotions, good and bad.

Make two columns: Good. Bad.

Ask God to show you each emotion.

As He shows you, write the emotion, and ask Him where it came from. One at a time.

Forgive or release the person or the circumstance that caused each negative emotion.

Lay it at the cross.

Thank Him for the good. Offer Him the bad.

Ask God to show you what He wants you to have instead of the bad.

Write that down.

Re-check the negative emotion. Is it still there? If so, repeat the process, writing what you hear on each step.

Where Is Jesus?

Take out your creative journal.

Write your negative emotions, giving them a negative visual appearance.

Write your positive emotions, and give them a positive appearance.

Now draw what’s happening that would have put you in the places where you’re struggling.

Whatever the Lord shows you about the things you are wrestling with, draw that, and include yourself in the picture.

Now ask Jesus where He is.

Draw Him into the picture.

Ask the Lord what He wants to show you about that scene.

Thank Him for the answers.

What Are Your Passions?

Write down your passions, hobbies, ideal job(s). Now give those to the Lord and ask Him how to incorporate this into who He has called you to be. If you had a free pass to create your ideal work responsibility, what would it be? Now present it to the Lord and ask Him to open the doors.

How Do You Hear God?

As you go through this creative process, you might be asking, “How do I hear God?”

He’s not going to speak audibly. He speaks more loudly in silence. You would most likely have an unction to do something, or no sense of peace in moving. That’s how He speaks generally. If you don’t “hear” Him, you’d better not move. Or you’re going to have a whole lot of undoing.

P.S. The more you know Him, the less likely you are to feel Him, either. He will use anything. If a cardinal is symbolic for you, He will send a cardinal. That’s an example of the Lord using your environment to speak to you. A flower, an animal, a cloud, a puppy, newspaper headline, something somebody says.

If you wake up in the morning and you focus on God and read His Word, and ask Him to affirm His Word in your environment throughout the day, and then open your senses to awareness of those opportunities, you’ll start to see God affirm what He gave you in scripture that morning throughout your day.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Living out of Your Creative Self.

You can find all the Identity Quest series articles by following this link.

Truth Versus Lies

We often get stuck believing lies about who we really are.

What are the lies you’ve most believed about yourself? Take a moment to ponder that. Can you name them?

Did you know that when you identify those lies, they give you keys to your true identity?

The enemy always shows his hand. When he convinces you of a lie about yourself, name it, and look for the opposite. That is your true identity.

For example, if the enemy has convinced you, your whole life, that you are stupid, you are actually brilliant. If the enemy has convinced you that you have no worth, the Lord wants to teach you your worth.

Whatever the enemy has taught you about yourself, turn that around, and there is your identity.

Moses stuttered and he was called to lead nations. Do you see how the enemy attempted to kill, steal, and destroy his identity? (John 10:10)

What lies have you believed about yourself?

What is the opposite of those lies?

That is your truth.

Your identity.

Spend some time bringing those two questions to God. Let them sit a while in your heart. See what you hear.

Write your answers in your journal: What are your lies? What is the opposite of each lie?

Now pray and ask God to help you step out of each lie and into your true identity.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Art of Identity.

All articles in this series can be found by following this link.

Who Are You?

WHO are you?

I am always amazed at people. I am constantly amazed at the level of individuality and uniqueness of people.

Even more interesting than the uniqueness of folks is the lack thereof.

Have you ever sat on a college campus and watched students pass by? Can you see the lack in their eyes? “Lack” you might say… they are in the prime of their life, no worries, no stress, mostly living off their school loans or even better their parents’ credit cards. But if you really take the time to look deep into their eyes, you’ll see what’s missing.

Now pull back in your perspective and look at humanity. Lack? Absolutely. But they have nice cars, nice houses, successful careers, yes … but do they know who they are? Not usually.

I have just come out of a year-long career change. I have been in inner healing for almost 20 years. For the past 5 years I have been a pastor in a denominational church. After serving in the church for the past 12 years, I started waking up dreading my job. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED pastoring. I loved teaching and I LOVED preaching. One of the things I love most is worship. I was dreading WORSHIP!!! And suddenly I was dreading everything about my job. I began wondering what is wrong with me?!

And then I knew. I’m done. In hindsight, I realized that for several months I could feel my passion slipping. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore. And worst of all, my poor husband. What is he going to think? Who (in their right mind) walks away from a comfortable, stable salary and a job where you make your own hours and spend a lot of time just being with people? Me. For whatever reason, my heart was no longer in it.

So, I resigned. To do what? I’m not really sure. But the one thing I do know is that I will not spend my life doing what I’m not supposed to do. And I know when the passion goes, so must the job. Granted, we can’t always love everything about our job. But day after day, I don’t think we are created to live our lives doing things we don’t love. At least, that’s my truth and I’m sticking with it.

My daughter has a chalkboard on her wall and she has written on it: “Life’s too short to pay bills and die.” That’s exactly right. I believe God created us all to live passionately. I believe He has placed specific dreams in all of our hearts, and I don’t believe He would place them there just to frustrate us. So I have set my passion, desires, and energy to find out the keys to life and identity.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you.” That word “plan” means an “ever-evolving process.” To me, that means God has a plan specifically for me, a plan that satisfies all the desires in my heart. I don’t have to settle by living in a cookie-cutter world, looking or acting like all the other cookies!

Can you imagine? If snowflakes are individually unique and fingerprints are all different then WHY would God make His kids all the same? He is not that boring. He is the Creator. So, wouldn’t it make sense that all of His creations would be absolutely unique?! YES.

Let me try it from a different angle. I like to make art. I will paint anything. (I even let my students paint my Labrador Retriever as a testament to our art project that day.) I love to make art out of anything. Often I have made an image over and over to give for Christmas gifts or whatever. Even though I created the same image (Genesis 1:27) over and over again, every single piece of art is different. If I, just an artist, made the same image over and over, with each one different, can you imagine what the Creator would have the capacity to create?

So, I say all of that to say, WHY? Why would you want to live in somebody else’s personhood? What are you missing out on? What are you depriving the rest of us of? I can’t ever know you, if you can’t know yourself. What a waste!

One of my favorite pieces of art is a piece of pottery that I got out of the trash can. The artist threw it away and I happened to see him. So, I got it out of the trash. It retails in his gallery for over $500. I love the fact that it is a reject. If you knew my history you would know that much of my life would suggest to me that I should live as a reject. But I know my Creator and I know that He created me for a specific purpose and it’s good. Most importantly, I don’t want to miss it. I want to know the purpose and I want to live it.

So, I’m going to live. I am going to live my authentic self and see who I turn out to be.

Besides, the artist that made me and you doesn’t make junk. And He has a plan. And it’s good!

To read the next article in this series, please visit Truth Versus Lies.

You can find all the Identity Quest articles at this link.

Do You Know Who You Are?

Do you know who you are? Do you know who God created you to be?

Most people don’t know, but they are searching. I call this an “identity quest.”

How about you? Are you in search of your identity?

If you’re on an identity quest, know that you are not alone. You are in very good company. Many of us are on the same journey. There is a whole tribe of us, and it grows bigger every day.

Getting to know your own heart is a key to discovering your true identity. I hope you will find some keys here to help you along your journey.

Start with Your Heart

If you would like to know who you really are … if you are on an identity quest … start by looking at what’s in your heart.

What are your gifts?

What are you dreams?

Who do you want to be, when you grow up (in God)?

Don’t just skim over those questions. Take some time. Take each of those questions before the Lord, and listen. Listen to your heart. Listen to God.

Keep a Journal

Do you have a journal? Excellent! How about getting out your journal, and go over those three questions again. Write down whatever comes to your heart.

Or draw what you feel. Sometimes drawing images can help you get in touch with your heart in a deeper way than with words.

Do that for each question. Really get to know your heart, and the desires God has put into your heart.

If you don’t have a journal, you’ll want one, especially if you are on an identity quest. You’ll want a place to cathart, draw, write, pray. Tear out a page, crumple it, and toss it on a bad day. Write the things you want to talk to God about. Write what you are hearing from Him.

To read the next article in this series, please visit Who Are You?

Here is a link to all articles in the Identity Quest series.

“I Am Not Artistic”

I am always suggesting that folks grow in the Presence of God and in Peace by participating in art, nature, music, etc. One client responded with the following:

“I am not artistic and ‘all’ that I am good at creating is food, and that’s not art.”

My response to her is that in her deciding to agree with this statement, she is hindering the Creator from flowing through her in a spirit of creativity. By doing so, she is blocking His hand in developing who He created her to be. We are created in the image of God, the Creator.