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What Will Be Our Story?




Theme: There is no me without you.


Within the narrative of our live’s journeys, there exists the truth that we were designed for community. The truth of how we are created is that we cannot establish our identities without relationships. If there is not a you, then there is not a me, because how can I establish my identity without you?


In God’s autobiography, we are told early on that we were “created in His image”. What are His clues as to what this truly means? His story, given to us, begins with the words, “In the beginning (our’s, not His) God created the heavens and the earth”. At the same time as God, in His infinite artistry, is shaping and molding our future home, we are told, “the spirit of God is hovering” over His creation. This is the first hint of more than one person within our God, as the Creator is bringing things into existence, the Spirit hovers over separating the waters from the land and more. Then, God’s own revelation of who He is, comes to us in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 26, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image’. Our image. Suddenly we become aware that our God is not one person. As Robin Stockitt explains, in his book entitled, “Restoring the Shamed: towards a theology of shame”, “So God is plural and yet somehow, mysteriously, we are not left with impression that this is a plurality of gods working in committee. This is one God, but a God who is more than one”.


Once again, in Matthew 3:13-17, God reveals to us His three distinct persons acting completely harmoniously as one. Jesus, the Son of God the Father is establishing His servanthood by being baptized by John. At the same time, the Holy Spirit descends on Him to empower Him for His earthly ministry, while the Father says, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. The persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit become clear when we see them in relation to each other.


Why am I taking so much space to describe this? Because this is who we are and leads to our greater purpose as Christ’s body. This is the God in whose image we are created. We, too, are created to act in harmony with each other, to gain our identity within the relationships we have with others. However, because of our sin and our deeper reality of shame, the relationships we are to have with our God and each other have become corrupted and short circuited. Like Adam and Eve, we suddenly become shamed and hide from each other and our God, painfully introspective.


So, how do we, as individuals and as a collective body, follow Pastor Dan’s instructions to be “outward focused”? First and foremost, we must individually come to the conclusion that we are flawed and lose all pretense of false piety and self-righteousness. Each of us cannot allow our shame to cloud who we are behind carefully crafted masks that hide our stories. We only discover our identity and purpose when we are in real and vulnerable relationships with others. Thus, our small groups and designed interactions should be crafted to allow these dynamics to take place. So, being outward focused must begin with healing ourselves from the shame of our individual stories.


Next, we must lose the tendency we all have to value another by how closely he or she compares to us. Our pleasure cannot be in how another acts in relation to our story, but that the other exists, was created with a purpose, like us, is in need of healing, and is valued and has worth with God. Each person who walks through our doors, walks in with a story, and is searching for acceptance and a feeling of worth. This must be separate from conformity and performance. Each is used to not fitting in and adapting in order to be superficially accepted. We need to communicate immediately that their worth and value are separate from their appearance or performance, as is ours.


And lastly, we must understand that Love is the antithesis of Shame, and that it is the love of God, flowing through us, unencumbered by our own unhealed shame, that will heal and attract others. There can be no vibe that a certain norm must be achieved before you can belong, but we value and love you because God does, and because of this you are valued, worthy and acceptable.


 


Scripture: 1 John 4:19 and John 3:16 (NIV)


“We love because he first loved us.”


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”



 

Prayer:


Lord, let me always remember who I was before I knew you, and how far I remain from who you intended me to be. Allow me to heal from the traumas of my story and the scars that hide who I truly am. Please always remind me that my worth and value come only because you value me and created me for your purpose, and not because I perform a certain way or conform to the earthly environment around me. Allow me the courage to be vulnerable and transparent, and not afraid of how others accept that, opening the door for others to do the same. In doing so, Lord, allow me to be healed and closer to what you created me to be. And Lord, once you work in me, only then would you allow me to help heal others out of pure love and acceptance. Amen

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