You Are Not a Robot

 

I was bathing my then 4 year old daughter one evening after dinner. Earlier that day she had been to preschool at our church where they were rehearsing some songs for the end of the year program. As she slid all over the bathtub, she belted out from the top of her lungs a song they were teaching her.

She sang “I am a friend of God, I am a friend of GOOOOOOOD…I am a friend of GOOOOD…He calls me NAMES!”

She kept singing, totally oblivious to the fact she had messed up the lyrics. The real lyrics are “I am a friend of God. I am a friend of God. I am a friend of God He calls me friend.” Not only did she add an extra UMPH to the word God, but she also said He calls her names. I tried not to hurt her feeling by bursting out loud with laughter, but it was too hard to keep it in.

She heard me laugh and said “Mommy, what’s so funny?”

“Nothing baby.” I replied with a big ole’ smile on my face. “I like the way you sing that song.”

The song in it’s original form reminded me of a prayer I had prayed to God earlier that same year. I attended my very first Bible study and for the first time I heard the video teacher say we can be friends with God. Friends with God? That was a weird and uncomfortable statement for me, but there it was in plain view. Right there in the Bible, James 2:23 “And the scripture was fulfilled that says “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend”

Wait, what? God as a friend? Up until that point, it had never even crossed my mind that God could be a friend. I always thought He was too big, too powerful, too boss/master like to be a friend. But I thought I’d ask Him if we could be friends anyway.  

Fast forward to now. My sweet little preschool baby girl is now in middle school and I am now fully receiving my friendship status with God.

A few months ago I wrote a post on depression. (Feelings Vs. Truth) I was in a pretty nasty slump and found myself sleeping all day, eating tons of junk food and getting little to no exercise.

I told him “Father, you’ve got to help me out of this. I have no structure in my life now that I’m not working. I need you to tell me what time I need to get up, what to eat and when, when to exercise. I need you to function. I don’t want to just sleep my days away anymore. I need rules to be a better me!”

protocol-robot-ms294-2He replied “You are not a robot and I am not your programmer.”

I instantly got it. Our relationship is much more personal than that! He’s not my boss, he’s my friend.  Over the years, we’ve grown into friendship with each other. My prayer had been answered and I didn’t even know it.

I realized how our relationship has progressed from the beginning to where we are today. I went from slave, to servant, to friend. A sermon from Bethel Church (God on Mute) illustrates this beautifully. I’ll try to paraphrase – “As a slave, we receive a list of to-do’s from our master. As a servant, we spend some time with the master and maybe even go into his house, but we still carry out the to-do’s. As friends…we hang out together, eat meals together. We dream up new things together, tell each other secrets and share a personal intimacy. There are still things to be done, but now we are co-laborers and we do it together. ”  

Friends don’t set rules for each other. Friends dream together. Friends plan for their future together. Friends become like each other.

Don’t get me wrong. God is still fully God. Still the creator of the universe, and I do submit to his authority, but our relationship has reached a whole new level. We dream together now. There are things I’ve wanted to do for a very long time with him that align with who he is. In fact, right now, in this very moment of our relationship, we’re dreaming up something HUGE together and I can’t wait to share it! It’s too early still, but when the time is right, you bet I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops! 

I dream and create with God because he is more than a master, he is my friend.

I realize he didn’t give me a list of rules on how to be a better me like I wanted him to, not because he was being cold or distant, but because he trusts me in our relationship. He knows I’ll listen to him if I’m getting off track. He knows I’ll come to him if I need help or guidance. He’s equipped me to make decisions and because we are in constant contact, my decisions will be influenced by him because we are friends.

I pray that you too receive your identity as a friend of God. I pray that you live in the freedom of knowing you’re a son or a daughter of not only the best Father in the world, but the best Friend in the world too. I pray you walk in confidence, a confidence that can only come from God. I pray you know he is your biggest fan and he will never leave you. I pray you dream BIG dreams with him! Dreams that impact your world and the people you know and love forever. I pray you spend lots of time at his table hanging out, remembering how he’s always been a faithful friend. I pray the two of you talk about your future and most importantly, grow in your friendship.  

What’s Your Favorite Color?

“What is your favorite color?” This was a question God asked me a few years ago and I honestly couldn’t answer it. When asked this question before, I had always answered “blue” or “green” because these were my parent’s favorite colors. Seriously, I had no clue. As I started to think on the question God put in my heart, it began to bother me that I really didn’t know the answer! What IS my favorite color?

Rainbow Crayons

 

Realizing I didn’t know my favorite color was just the beginning of an incredible journey of discovering who I am and who God created me to be. Just recently something shifted and I gained a whole new understanding of my identity.

I realized I believed a lie. A lie that Christians are supposed to be extroverts, bubbly socialites who can talk to anyone anywhere and share their personal stories and with others. After all, as a Christian, this is what I’m called to do right?!

There’s a problem here. Saying all Christians are supposed to be extroverted, and bubbly socialites isn’t true. I had, for far too long, believed I wasn’t a good Christian because I couldn’t be quite as outgoing as everyone else. See, I’m more of an introvert kind of girl. I believed I wasn’t reaching people or doing what God wanted me to do if I wasn’t out making friends daily, having hordes of women over to my house on a weekly basis for small group, or talking to EVERY single person I’ve ever seen in public and sharing Jesus with them.

The pressure I was putting on myself was creating debilitating insecurities and awkwardness, stealing my joy, confidence and sense of community. The lie was growing into an even bigger one and I began to believe I was losing my mind. For real. I tried to be someone I’m not for so long, I began to believe there wasn’t a place for me anywhere but alone in my home with my own thoughts.

A few months ago, my church (Valley Creek Church) did a series called “Alignment“. The series focus was on unity as a church, as God’s people and with God. My prayer throughout the whole series was for God to unify our church, our family and myself with Him. He began to show me a few places in my life where I was believing a lie and not in alignment with Him. This lie / false belief about my identity surfaced. I believed I wasn’t good enough because I struggled so much to be an outgoing Christian. I was letting down God, my church, my family and myself. I wasn’t living up to my potential and I wasn’t living out my purpose.

Ahh, but then God. He began to speak to me about some of the things about myself I’ve considered “quirky” or “weird”. Stuff like my tendency to daydream. I will think on something so intently and for so long, I lose track of time and certain tasks. As a kid (and an adult), this was super inconvenient and got me into a heap of trouble. I was labeled imaginative, dreamer, idealist, believer, hopeful and not in a good way. I would spend hours chastising myself for getting too carried away with ridiculous thoughts. I’d tell myself “Stop dreaming, you’re supposed to be working!”, but God spoke life into me. He told me this was how He created me. He made me to think on things, to go down those rabbit trails and invite Him along on the journey so He can reveal His secrets to me. It’s OK to be WILD with my imagination. What I thought was a flaw, is actually the thing that connects me to God in one of the most intimate ways. I’m born to dream and imagine with Him. There’s so much peace and freedom from this. I can’t wait to see where He takes me from here. We’ve already started dreaming something  up together. I can’t wait to share, but in the mean time, here’s my prayer for you!

I pray you ask Him to align your heart with His. I pray you receive the identity as a son or a daughter He has just for you. From that place of receiving identity, I pray you grow in your relationship with Him and the two of you carry out His kingdom advancing purposes hand in hand. I pray you find the true freedom that only He can bring. I pray you discover your identity in Him and you are restored to His original design for you. I pray He reveals lies from the enemy that may have made you feel like you weren’t good enough. I pray you become who He says you are and not what the world says. And for those of you who don’t know, I pray you find out your favorite color…Mine’s red. 😉