Have you ever thought about that? We spend so much of our time worrying about what others think about us, hoping we impress and please; trying to meet others expectations. All in the pursuit of getting some validation, some pat on the back from another mere mortal. We often build our entire self image out of the words other people have used to describe us. Good or bad, the words we’ve heard or the treatment we receive, become an integral part of how we perceive ourselves.

Have you ever stopped to consider – who does God think I am? And is that part how I truly view myself? If you’ve been a Christian for more than a week or two, you’ve probably heard the more familiar: I am a child of the Most High God, I am a fellow heir with Christ, I am a new creation in Christ. All true, thank you Lord, but there is more to the story. 1 Corinthians 12:7 -27 says you are the body of Christ, gifted by the Holy Spirit with gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, discernment and more.

Romans 12 says we have “gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.” Gifts of prophesy, ministering, teaching, exhortation, administration, giving, mercy, leadership have been given to each of us according to His grace. In Ephesians 4 it says, speaking of Jesus, “When He ascended on high, (he) gave gifts to men. And He Himself gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” v 8 & 11.

1 Peter 4:10 confirms this habit God has of giving gifts to us: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (emphasis mine). We are to minister our gifts to one another – use them in the service of others. That’s not a suggestion. It is a biblical command.

So who does God think you are? He doesn’t think, He knows. You are either a leader, a teacher, an exhorter (encourager), a pastor, a prophet, an apostle, an administrator, a giver, an evangelist, helper, one who shows mercy, etc. Those verses above cover the range of gifts and abilities given to us by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Those are not aptitudes given to a select few. Those are not talents and abilities reserved for those in the professional ministry. They are definitely not “old testament and no longer in effect today.” Every Christian has been given gifts meant to be used to minister to others.

Do you have unique gifts? Most of us, in our heads would say, “well, yes, the Bible says I do” yet in our hearts we really don’t believe we are anything special. Let me clear that up once and for all. I don’t know you, but if you were created by God (and you were), you have been given those gifts. It was built in to you right from the beginning, it is the things you are naturally drawn toward. You can learn to recognize and use those abilities to their fullest.

More than anything, I want you to begin to see yourself as God sees you. Not as “just a mom, or wife, or employee” but as a teacher, or a giver, or as a preacher, or a bringer of mercy, an encourager or whatever gift(s) you have been endowed with.

As I mentioned at the beginning, most of us were raised with certain expectations put on us by other about who we are, and who we are going to be. Often those expectations are misleading, based on someone else’s unfilled expectations in their own lives, or just plain lies. We grow up with parents, or school teachers and coaches or school mates who have their own biases, hurts and struggles. Those inner turmoils create a blurry filter through which they see us and judge our worth. No one sees clearly who we were truly created to be except the creator Himself. Unfortunately it is the other, imperfect human being to whom we usually look for our self image.

If you were brought up by a parent who failed to achieve some long held dream in their own life, you might have been pressured to achieve that same dream in their place. Perhaps in school you were constantly taunted with words like “loser” “geek” “dork” or worse, those expectations and words became part of the image you have of yourself.

Unfortunately, the expectations and words of others settle deep into our souls and those pictures of ourselves become our reality. They are what we believe in our heart to be true. It can be difficult to root those beliefs out and to change them. There is only one way to do that – seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal His truth in your life. You can do your part by studying the scripture verses that reveal what God has to say about us.  Click here:  (Who We Are In God Free Download) if you would like a free, downloadable, pdf of scriptures that tell us exactly who we are in God and what He has to say about us. Use this little booklet as a guide during your devotions.

Replacing false beliefs about ourselves with God’s truth is the first and most vital step toward becoming who we were meant to be. We have to cast off the old self and take on the new. You can’t move into your new life while carrying the baggage of the past.

You are indeed special, you were created for a purpose, and you have a unique temperament,  aptitudes, abilities and experiences that set you apart from everyone else. Not only do you have  special, God-ordained spiritual gifts, you have aptitudes and abilities that will enable you to use those gifts in a way that only you can. You are called to find and walk in that purpose. Finding your purpose is not just a “good idea” or something to get around to, some day. Finding and living out your purpose IS your life’s work. Remember 1 Peter 4:10 from earlier? ” As each one HAS received a gift, minister it to one another…” It doesn’t say some have received or may receive, it says each one has received.

It is imperative that we do uncover the truth of who we were created to be and cast off the deceptive perceptions of ourselves. 1 Timothy 4:14 instructs us to “not neglect the gift that is in you.” Sometimes we think it is being humble to say “oh I don’t have any gifts, I’m nothing special” Can I share a hard truth with you? That kind of talk is not humility, it is a prideful heart that is saying: “I know more about me than God. He may say I have gifts, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, but I know better.” Ouch. Still with me? The good news is we don’t have to try and be anything we’re not. Better yet, we are free to cast off the expectations of others. That is our real burden and the one we are not meant to carry.

When we are told, even from childhood, that we are a certain way – clumsy, fat, too bossy, lazy, noisy, whatever; or even if we are given a seemingly positive expectation: “oh Jackie’s going to be a doctor like her father”; if God did not ordain it, He did not gift us with the necessary equipping, then it is a false expectation and we end up laboring hard to fulfill it. We may be able in our own strength to have a measure of success and of course God can turn anything to good for those who believe. But we still have a vague, dissatisfied feeling inside. When we take up God’s yoke and walk in the path He laid before us, it may not always be easy, but it will fit. We will be blessed and we will bless those around us.