Alas…I’m Free To Be Me!

Today is my birthday. And what a beautiful day indeed! It is Monday, and I’m reminded that I was actually born on a Monday.

As I woke to make my morning coffee, I noticed a red bird in the backyard. Not a sight I see every day. Immediately I recognized God’s birthday reminder to me.

You see, for most of my life I was trapped into believing that I was completely unacceptable. As I worked through my teen years and ventured out into adulthood, I used many things to “make” myself be what I considered acceptable (clothes, position, promiscuity, compromise,  gym memberships, diets, alcohol.) I conformed at every turn, being who I thought I needed to be in any situation just so I would be accepted.

Now I’m sure most people had no idea all this was going on inside. But the truth was, I was full of self-hate. Self-hate can be crippling. By all appearances someone can appear to have it together, but internally there is a living hell of thinking you’re too fat, too white, too hippy, not pretty enough, or not smart enough (just to name a few.) The key to this problem is COMPARISON. Because how can you be “too” anything, unless you are measuring it against something?

In January 1999 my life forever changed… I heard and understood the good news of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Savior of my life. Through the following years, the Lord began to reveal this self-hate and take me on a journey of restoration. He began to show me that I’ve been acceptable all along. And it wasn’t because of the clothes, it wasn’t my position or how much money I had, it wasn’t the jewelry, car, house or my physical size. It was simply that God created me JUST THE WAY I AM. Wow. I was comparing myself to the wrong standard. I needed to learn that my standard was not the world or other people, but what God said about me.

I’d love to tell you that I just “got it” that day, but I didn’t. It’s taken YEARS of transforming my mind to see myself as acceptable. One of the tools God used back in 2005 was a message by Jason Upton entitled: Your Life is Meant to Be a Prophetic Word – Destroying the “Man Pleasing” Spirit. (You can download the MP3 here: http://www.elijahshopper.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=DL%5FEL01%2DJU001)

In this message, Jason talks about his gift of worshipping/singing and how initially when churches would invite him to come, he’d sing his songs and everyone would just cheer. He said it almost began to feel more like a performance than worshipping God. Then one day his wife said “When you go to churches and sing, it’s nice and everything, but when you worship at home… that’s where the power is. Why can’t you just do that when you go to churches?” He said at first he thought “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” but then God began to deal with him. He began to recall how people would often sing to “tracks” and before they would sing it, they would listen to the DEMO side. They would try to sing it just like the person did on the DEMO side. God’s people were losing their own identity trying to be like everyone else! Jason jokingly called it “the DEMONIC DEMO side” … lol. Then God gave him an interesting analogy: He said “Jason, I’m looking for a JayBird, but everybody is dressed up like a RedBird because RedBirds are in season and people love the RedBird. Everyone is coloring themselves to look like a RedBIrd but I made you a JayBird and I need you to be a JayBird!”

Jason decided he was going to sing the way God created him to sing and stop trying to sound like someone else. He was going to stop MANIPULATING his voice and his life and be who God made him to be.  He has a song called FREEDOM… and he said now when he sings it there is POWER… because he truly is free.

So he started to let churches know that he couldn’t guarantee which songs he would sing but he would come and lead worship. Today Jason is one of the most sought after prophetic worship leaders around… because he has learned to be who God made him to be, not trying to be like everyone else.

So this morning, on my birthday, as I saw the RedBird outside my window, the Lord reminded me that when I was born He uniquely designed me to be me. He gently reminded me that he has a plan and a purpose for me and if I were to continue to compare myself to others and try to be like anyone else, I could never fulfill that purpose.

I am thankful for the Lord’s reminder today. I am thankful that I am no longer bound to comparison and conformity. I’m not saying those old ways of thinking don’t try to resurface on occasion, but I recognize them immediately now and take them captive to the truth of the Word which is this:

Ps 139:13-16

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Jer 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…

Thank you Lord for teaching me (and reminding me again today) that I’m FREE to be me, and that I NEED to be me to bring you Glory.

And today I hope that you too receive the message: Don’t dress yourself up to be like someone else… YOU ARE FREE TO BE WHO HE MADE YOU TO BE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CLAIRIFICATION:

Within a short time of posting this I had someone email me and they were somewhat confused by some of what I stated above. I want to clarify (for FREEDOM sake) that there is 100% ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with having nice clothes, cars,  jewelry, having gym memberships or even dieting to lose weight. It was not my intention to  indicate these are sinful such as promiscuity or compromise. The reason those things were WRONG for me, is because my identity was in them rather than God. They had become idols in my life and my motive for wanting these things or doing these things was TO MAKE MYSELF ACCEPTABLE. This internal motive is what made them wrong for me. Today, these things are not wrong for me because they no longer define me.

In 2003 the Lord told me to stop wearing any make-up. I was devastated! I thought make-up made me acceptable. If anyone ever saw me without it, I knew I’d be rejected for sure. Now here is a perfect example: GOD IS NOT AGAINST MAKE-UP. He was against what it stood for in my life.  After two weeks of crying out to God I finally obeyed and wore no make up for 18 months. Wow. What freedom I found internally. Not until I knew that I was acceptable WITHOUT it, did God release me to again wear it.

So I pray that this brings clarity and freedom to anyone else that may not have clealy understood the message within the message. It’s all about being FREE on the inside, doing things with the right motive, and enjoying the external things in their proper context.

~Blessings to you!~

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About Mary L'Esperance Held
http://www.maryloveslife.org http://www.thehubatlanta.org http://www.atlantaoutreach.org

4 Responses to Alas…I’m Free To Be Me!

  1. JoAnna says:

    Thank you for this Mary. I know that I have struggled with this most of my adult life. We forget that God made us exactly how He wanted and when we try to be like someone else it is like telling God “what you made is not good enough”. Jason always tells me “not everyone can be noses”. The struggle with comparing even sometimes extends to spiritual gifts. I have many friends who have a quick conversation with someone and they are saved then and there. I struggled because I never had those moments. I was the person who invoked thought towards salvation but I never got to see the end result. I was so upset in college about it as my roommate would come home saying how she got coffee and someone was saved after a 10 minute conversation. God showed me that there are many people God uses along a person’s path to salvation and even though I didn’t get to see the fruits of my labor it didn’t mean I wasn’t being used by Him.

  2. Mary,

    Thank you for sharing – it always surprises me when I hear others tell stories so similar to mine. When I was living under a “self-made personna” – trying to find acceptance and worth – I was unaware of it until God showed me all the hurt, pain and motives behind it. My true identity had been stolen & I was living a life far from the one He created when He formed me.

    I too made a drastic ‘turn about’ when I released these wrong thoughts and claimed His truth about who I was & the life I was meant to live.

    Now, as a Free Child of God, I am trying to be obedient to His call by speaking out to others. I know that God has designed me and given me gifts for His glory. It is my prayer that I recall your words as I develop a message for an upcoming conference. There has been pressure in living up to the standard of the “big name” speakers…how sad…even seeing it here reveals to me that old thinking has crept in…no doubt the enemy still uses the same buttons as before and if I’m not alert I can step right into his trap.

    Thanks to your words of encouragement – I will not be tripped up today! I will continue to march forward in freedom with a greater desire to free others who are still in bondage.
    ~Kristina

  3. Shirley says:

    Congratulations on the “blessed Job.” I have always admired your work ethics and your ” no non-sense approach” to your assignments at hand. I just knew there is this something “very special about you.” Now I know, You have what I once had — an obedient Spirit and a hunger for the true things of God and a love for the people of God.
    I am still struggling with my church and trying to transition to where God is calling me. All I hear Him saying is “Wait on the Lord, Wait I say on the Lord.” You are blessed of the Lord and Highly Favored.

  4. Mary, I am very happy for you and your new job. I knew that God had somrthing very special for you , because you are a very special loving person . also looking out for others. It. you are the example of Phillipians 2
    2:3,”let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” you are always helping other befor your self. God honors thats. you are going to blessed among measures because of your faithfulnes. you have giving me more insight to trust and wait on the Lord the more. May God continue to bless you Carolyn

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