Grace Michaelson

Identity

Mar
25

I did a little cleaning on my site. I decided I have spent too much of my life obsessing over medical stuff – especially when it pertains to me. I took on an identity that was not the identity my God had for me. It consisted of all my post-cancer fears, all my medical labels, times of good interchanges with medical professionals – and bad ones.

Recently I read a book that has nothing to do with medicine, but I took away from it this quote:  “Every person in one way or another needs to exchange a false identity he or she has created for an identity in the risen Christ. Saying we’re a disciple and a [fill in the blank] creates a big problem. At the level of our fundamental identity, we are a disciple only.” Caleb Koltenbach

What this author has discovered, and what I’m discovering is that my identity is in the Lord and what he’s making me into. I am not mentally ill and a Disciple of Christ. I’m not any of my illnesses. I am separate from anything the world would like to label me. My identity is in Christ – His Disciple. That’s the only thing I am.

After beginning to realize this, I find myself asking why I’m hanging on to these false identities. I realized there is a new road to experience that is free from those false identity’s shackles. So I’m trying to mindfully refocus on who Christ made me to be.

I’m not talking about something like multiple personalities. There will always be me, just Kari.  Inside me there is not living Carmon, Karly, or Doug.  I am Kari and my personality will always be that. What I am talking about is identity, not personality.  Identity is what you, the personality, chooses to identity as – through action, culture, and beliefs.

I choose to identify as Christ’s Disciple and weed out any false identity  wanting to displace who that is and is becoming in me.  What’s your identity?

 

Crossroads

Feb
22

Today I want to talk about those moments in your life where life takes you to a fork in the road.  I specifically want to talk about the forks in the road that leave you broken hearted either way you go.  The kind where you beg God for a third option, a less painful option, but realize as your praying for this third option, God is saying, “Not this time.”

So what do we do in this situation?  I think that as we touch on these forks in our roads we also need to talk about God’s presence during these times.  I have known some of these forks before, and the truth is, sometimes I do feel God’s presence more keen, but there are times that I don’t.  It is hardest to make the right choice when your feelings don’t feel God, but I’ve come to believe strongly that these forks in our road are the times God tucks us into His Heart more than any other time.  When we don’t actually feel Him, it is in those times that the shield of faith is oh so important.

Now I want to talk about the decision.  Which way to go?  Prayer in the situation is fundamentally important.  It is through contact with God that we begin to see which road, no matter how painful it might be, is the right one to take.  If we abandon prayer and seek to make these crossroad decisions with logic or with emotion, we will invariably make the wrong choice.

Looking back at my many crossroads, I see a few things that have become extremely clear to me.  One we’ve already talked about:  God never leaves us.  Another is the wisdom God hands out freely to those who ask for it.  The final one is that God does not push you in any one direction.  You have to make the choice and take the first step yourself.  God did not make us to be robots.  He has given us free choice.  While one way is the right way and one way is the wrong way, God will not make you decide the correct one.  He always gives us a choice.

On the same subject, though, is another fundamental truth.  After and while you make your choice, no matter if it’s good or bad, our God does not leave.  Sure, if we make the bad choice it will be extremely painful in the end.  The glorious truth is that he holds us when we make the right choice and he puts limits around the consequences if we make the wrong choice.  One of those limits is that He does not abandon us.

There’s no such thing as “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  He does do that in this crossroad scenario.  However, this is the real truth right here:  God can handle anything.  Truth:  “God won’t give you more than He can handle.” So, my Dear Sister and my Dear Brother, lean on our great God and take a step into your road.  God is there.

“God With Us”

Dec
26

Christmas is over. Time to pack away my tree for another year and put away the nativity scene. It’s on to celebration of New Years now and the many foolish resolutions we make — and also intend to break — for the next year.  It’s tradition, right?

Instead of being in such a rush, why don’t we get out our universal remotes and press pause and then rewind. Let’s go back to the days after Christmas for a little family who spent their first night in Bethlehem.

Joseph is looking for a more permanent place for them to stay. Not an inn. A house. They have family here, but the scandal Joseph and Mary had become in Nazareth was not as wide spread. Perhaps Mary could go to the well without being spat on and people would begin to use Joseph’s carpentry again.  They were hopeful.  They simply wanted to live quiet lives.

It didn’t help that the shepherds pointed them out all over town, however Mary chose to believe God had a plan. She treasured both the rumors and even the moment with Anna and Simeon at Jesus’ dedication and doesn’t swerve in her resolve to trust God.

However, I can’t imagine the reservation that must be their as she saw people’s eyes following them out of the temple. Will the ridiculing start again? Will the shepherds, good intentions and all, get them ostracized? Is this really how God intended things to be for his son?

Have you been in a moment where you felt God leading you in a direction and that direction lead to many people looking at you differently that before?  Or maybe you’ve never been comfortable around others, and you would love to know that Someone has noticed you.

I’m here to tell you that, as much as we want to believe that the nativity scene is as beautiful as the scene on our tables, for the people who lived it it was pretty messy. “God With Us” they ended up experiencing was not how they imagined things would happen. Yet they chose to obey. They “showed up” and God turned their obedience into “God With Us” — the salvation of the world.

Now the question for you today is, what challenges are you going to show up for today and allow God to turn from “messy” into “God With You?”