Who Are You?
For some, three minutes would seem like a life-time of pondering and many thoughts racing through our minds.
About a year ago a colleague of mine in ministry asked me to Preside and Speak for him one Sunday morning while he and his wife were out of town.
I glaly accepted.
I prepared myself for what I thought I would say, based on the times I had been there before.
However, to my surprise when I got there I knew that that would not be the appropriate message.
As I I observed the audience and felt the heaviness in my spirit, I understood why not.
The ages present on that morning were from 24-35.
I sensed that some of them did not want to be there for whatever reason.
Anyway, I told them all to huddle up and get closer, because we were going to do something different, personal, but we were going to try to do this together.
They moved eagerly.
I felt so much pain and agony in the room, but yet their faces were sincere with desire for hope and empowerment.
I immediately knew what I was suppose to say..
or rather ask, and then minister this much needed empowerment.
I announced to this group that I wanted to go around the room and ask them one simple question: "I want each of you to tell me who you are.
" One by one they took turns.
Some told us where they worked, how many children they had, married or single, saved/sanctified, where they were from, and so forth.
Then, there was a young man present(I knew who he was) When it was his turn, he had tears in his eyes, and he looked at me and said, "I don't know.
" There was silence and he said again "I don't know.
" I said, "Baby, that's okay, because even though there is no right or wrong answer, your response is more valid..
How many times have we been asked who are you? We often feel a little feeling come over us, and we may do just as this group did, tell of our external make-up.
We tell what we do, where we have been, how many children we have, where we go to church, how long we have been "saved" etc.
But we fail to say who we are internally.
We fail to reveal our authentic selves.
I find this response to be very prominent in the church.
I am simply pointing out my personal observation, this is not intended to offend, but I do hope it will challenge.
I really find this prevalent amongst clergy.
If someone asks your name-the response is usually whatever title or position your holding in your church, etc.
And some of our Titles can be real brow raisers for people who have no ecumenical/ecclesiastical knowledge.
But we maintain that our titles are our identities.
For example, if we are in the office of Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, and so forth, we will say that's who we are! No! That's a title-it's what you do in the Kingdom on behalf of the King, but your title and your name/you are not synonymous.
Unfortunately, many people in church need a title to give themselves some type of identity, because without it, they feel powerless.
Please I am not demeaning anyone's office, that's not the intent.
I believe everyone who has earned or been appointed, 'called", we should give honor and respect! I am speaking to the inner person.
I began this with myself: There are layers of definitions that cover us, so we early in life adapt to them, and agree to it.
Our parent's, relatives, teacher's, and Oh Dear God, people from church from an early age, tell us who we are, or more importantly who they think and want us to be.
And there begins this molding.
There begins the layering of so many things.
But unfortunately, some of the defining came out of ignorance and fear.
Some foundations of who we are today are layered with fear and ignorance.
Or should I say, the prevention of unveiling who you really are, your authentic self is locked away because of this.
See the real authentic you is not your Families idea of who you are.
It is not the church's idea, definition, code, instructions of do's and dont's...
that's not who you are.
That's why when I hear testimonies from people that say they are saved, sanctified,filled, etc.
I worry because I know some are hiding behind that.
Who are you? Well I discovered I was that person waiting to get out! See no, not out of God, but get out of people.
I realized that religion would and could no longer define or hold me back.
I discovered I was full of passion and life- not limited by dogma.
Most often your authentic self is the person that nobody sees, its the passionate person that does not need religious semantics to go by.
Your authentic person declares that you are not defined or limited by the church or what auxiliary you serve on.
Your authentic self is not afraid to understand that your spiritual and not religious.
Your authentic self may enjoy to live life to it's fullest, even though the church told you that movies were a sin.
Your authentic self may enjoy listening to Mary J.
because she can put words in a song that "Amazing Grace: doesn't.
You may realize that you like some things that the person next to you in Bible study would find repulsive-but you like.
The authentic self that's been trapped for eons, enjoys life and God's earth and the fullness thereof.
The authentic self is the one that realizes to love God does not mean having to put yourself in a box, and being the sacrificial lamb.
I encourage you, that when you take God out of the box, your release date comes soon!.
To know HIM is to love HIM and yourself; No matter who you love, what size you are, what church you go or don't go to, what your financial status is, your disability, your orientation, race, and or creed.
You will learn to love you and HIM above the church, the doctrines, the statutes, the legalities, that keep YOU trapped.
When you love you,, and come out the Sanhendrin box of religion-- You will be unleashed.
As you make your debut-you can begin to answer who you are!