“You see me, and You know me, and You love me through and through.”
-United Pursuit Band “Through and Through”
Generally when I go through a time of spiritual attack, Satan goes after one specific area: my perception of who I am. Why is that?
There are different struggles that we face as humans in a broken world. One of those would be the comparison game. Am I as thin as the girl next to me? Is my skin that flawless? Am I as smart as the other applicants? Am I as talented as other people at my job? Like it or not, questions like these cross our minds probably more than once in a while.
Sometimes we find ourselves at a different point where it doesn’t even matter to us as much what other people look like or are good at, but we start to have misconceptions of ourselves based on past actions or perceived flaws. Maybe they are based on true weaknesses. These statements generally have the words “always” or “never” in them. “I always mess things up.” “I am never right.”
So we pretend. Usually we don’t even know we are doing it. There’s the simple thought inside, “Well, if I just let myself go, I would be too much for someone to handle.” “If I truly was myself, I would be rejected by this certain person whom I really want to like me.” “Last time I was vulnerable, I walked away feeling like an idiot.”
I heard the story today about this guy in the Bible named Jacob. You can find his story in Genesis. His name means “deceiver.” You could say the jealousy that he had toward his brother got the best of him, but it most likely was simple human nature with the desire to be special and have the best that fueled his deceitfulness. One day, his dad decided that since his time was short, he was going to bless his older son, Esau. He sent him out to hunt, and Jacob used the opportune moment to steal from his brother what was rightfully his brother’s to have. He dressed up in Esau’s clothes, mimicked his brother’s stew, and claimed another identity. That day, his father blessed him, but as Pastor Steven Furtick says, “God can’t bless who you pretend to be.” 21 years later as Jacob was heading back to reconcile with his brother, he had a wrestling match with God. “I won’t let you go until you bless me!” he cried. God responded, “What’s your name?”
There comes a point when we must confront the “face in the mirror”, whether we like what we see or not. Last night in our Bible study as we talked about the subject of our fears, one of my disciples said, “It’s a scary thing to go too deep with God, because you are confronted with who you really are.” I wonder how many of us maintain a busy lifestyle or several superfluous friendships simply because we are running away from having to confront who we really are?
The day that Jacob wrestled “the angel”, he was given a new name: Israel. So why does the Bible continue to call him Jacob sometimes? Why, many years later, when God gives Moses instructions on what to tell the Israelites, does He tell Moses to say, “I AM has sent me to you. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and JACOB”? Why not the name He Himself gave Jacob: Israel?
Could it be that God loved him as he really was, character flaws and all? Could it be that God blessed Jacob, not for who he pretended to be or who he could be if he changed, but as he really was?
I have often dreamed of someday maturing into a person that I would like. I would be that charming girl who never talked too much or shied away from intense situations. Inadvertently, I dream about someday becoming the girl that God could love and use for His purposes, when the truth of the matter is, HE LOVES ME AS I REALLY AM, not who I pretend to be or who I want to be. He loves the girl who is maybe a little too honest and innocent. He can use the shy girl who would rather be a wall flower than in front of a group of people. God is not limited by my perceived “character flaws.” He is only limited by my reluctance to accept His love for me as I am.
So I will wrestle the angel and I won’t let go until He blesses me. Why? Because I want to be done with the desire to be different in order to be loved. Because I recognize that God can’t have His way in my life until I allow Him to love me as I really am. Quirks and all.
What could that mean for you? Have you accepted His love for you for who you really are? Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable before God; you might be surprised by the outcome.