Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
I haven't been writing as often these days. I feel okay about that, and I am grateful I still feel like myself when I haven't. I remember, not so long ago, when I felt that guilty, tight-feeling in my chest when I hadn't written here. I'm not sure if it was pressure I put on myself to achieve--an unrealistic goal I was unable to meet, or if writing was something I was made to do and I just wasn't doing.
But here is what I am excited about: I don't feel that way anymore. I can write and feel good about it. But I don't feel more or less myself when I am doing it. While writing is one of the things God has given for me to do with Him--making it not just a hobby, an activity, a passion, I love--I need to hold it loosely. Writing is not something I need to chase down, accomplish, to be the woman God calls me to be.
I am already that woman. I am already His girl.
I can write and love it and abide in the confidence of knowing I am doing the thing God has called me to do with Him, right now. But I need to continue to lay it down, surrender it to Him. I must let Him check my heart so I don't idolize my own identity. I must keep my heart focused on Him.
The tagline on this blog, "inspiring women to pursuing the truth of their identity, in Christ, and live like they believe it", challenges us, as His girls, to pursue Christ, in the unique way we are made to do it. As His girls, we read scripture and we pause and we let Christ come in and show us the way to live our lives. But if the focus of our lives is on the thing we love to do more than on Christ, we are idolizing ourselves. We are not loving God the way we think we are.
I confess, I struggle with selfishness, with self-centeredness. When I finally, less than a decade ago, let Christ in to these parts of me that I had been keeping from Him all my life--my wanting to do things my own way, on my own terms--the battle in my heart against my Savior was fierce. Everything in me rose against surrender. I didn't want to face the truth of my own sin. His light felt too bright, too lovely, too good.
I wanted so much to be forgiven, but I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't deserve it. And I wanted to deserve it. I wanted to be worthy--or convince myself (if I couldn't convince God) that I was.
I idolized myself, my reputation, my success. The battle was long and hard to surrender and let God show me how much He loves me, despite all the ways I mess up and love myself more.
I had to give Him the part of me that didn't want to see my sin. I had to give Him the hard-heartedness that wanted to stay the one in control. I had to give Him the vision I had of myself, the tarnished, ugly, dark past and choose to believe I am loved, in the midst of my sin. And the choosing to believe His crazy-awesome truth is what turns the most vile things about ourselves beautiful. It is an offering of self, a surrender to life we just don't, in any way, shape, or form, deserve.
I write these words down to let this be the moment I surrender my blog to Him, again. Whatever we are made to do with God, it is only for the purpose of loving others and letting them see the face of Christ.
In all that we do, in all that we say, in all the ways we recognize and claim our unique identity, in Christ, it is only for the purpose of letting God love us, heal us, be with us. And this is what enables us to be the light for another child of God who has yet to surrender to her Father who is, right now, calling her name.
Do you know your unique identity in the Father who adores you and pursues you like crazy? What, right now, is He asking you to lay down? Is there anything in your life more important than Him? How can you begin, this week, this day, this moment, trusting Him more?
Finally, I wanted to be sure you knew about this: Subscribe to Loop, the twice-a-week email devotional, God's heart for you, and receive this special gift, for free: my very first eBook: Begin, A Book of Prayers for Women.
You can learn more about Loop (including testimonies from some people you may know!) and subscribe right here, for free.
This post appeared first at You Are My Girls.