BLOG: (March 21-27) Exodus 1-6, "Who am I?" and Seeing as God Sees
I had a "who am I?" moment this week. I'm doing a side project on Instagram, sharing sweet little songs that I learned when I taught preschool music classes years ago. For this introvert, it can sometimes seem daunting to share myself in this way. But I feel strongly it is something the Lord wants me to do, and so I persevere. This week I had a day when I just wasn't feeling it. It felt embarrassing, and foolish, and like nobody even cares, so why bother? Who am I to do this very public thing that is so far out of my comfort zone? It turns out, I am exactly who the Lord wants doing this brave thing. He told me so, and sent me back to work.
When we think of "Who am I?" moments in the scriptures, Moses' visit to the burning bush stands out. The Lord has just instructed Moses to go to Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites leave to offer sacrifices. But Moses doesn't get it. "Who am I" he says, "to go before Pharaoh?" Four times he questions the Lord's judgment in choosing him. Finally, “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses.” (Exodus 4:14) He tells Moses, "I will put my words in your mouth, and I will even give you a spokesman!" And with that reassurance and gentle push, Moses - foreordained deliverer of Israel - finds the courage to try.
Why is it that we so often find ourselves in "who am I" situations? I think the root of this issue lies in a lack of understanding about who God is, and who He is to us.
One well-known Bible account that does not include a "Who am I" moment is the story of Jesus' earthly ministry. Why didn't Jesus worry about His responsibility to preach and teach and perform the Atonement and die for all of us? Why didn’t He say, “Who am I?” Well, Jesus knew who He was, and He knew who His Father was. Sometimes we forget that we have the same Father, and like Jesus, we are also eternal beings with infinite potential. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and sometimes it is through asking us to do things that stretch us - through providing us with our “Who am I” moments - that He can show us who we really are, if we will let Him.
In an interview for the All In podcast, Emily Snyder, chief of staff for Magnolia, shared that she dislikes the word "become" because, to her, it seems to convey the idea that she isn't enough for God just as she is…but she doesn't believe that. She believes that our Heavenly Father sees us as eternal beings - He sees us as we really are, not just as our current stage of growth and development, and He wants to help us discover who we are eternally rather than get caught up in what we struggle with right now. (Source)
This reminds me of my early years as a parent. With my first child, every time he entered a new stage of development that I hadn't anticipated I got a little panicky. "Is this normal? Is something wrong? Is it going to be like this forever?" Now that I have been down this road a few times, I am much more familiar with developmental stages and phases and they don't "phase me" ;) like they used to. Experience has taught me that these are normal stages, and they will pass, and I don't need to worry.
We are God’s children, and even though we are eternal beings, we have never gone through the experience of mortality before. Every stage is new for us. Sometimes we see ourselves in our current struggles and get a little panicky, wondering if we are going to get through this part, wondering if we are normal or if there is something wrong with us because we can’t seem to get whatever-it-is figured out.
I believe that our Heavenly Father is much less worried about our struggles with individual flaws and shortcomings than we are. He sees the end from the beginning, and He knows who we really are. He knows our whole story, not just our current chapter, and so our minor setbacks, that seem so major to us, don't phase him. What does bother Him is when we are so hung up on our perceived ordinariness and our current faults that we won't trust Him enough to go and do the things He asks us to do. "Who am I to do this great thing?" we ask. And He says, "You are my child. I wouldn't ask you if I didn't know you could do it. So please trust me enough to try."
Who am I? I am a daughter of God, with infinite potential and eternal worth. He knows what I am capable of, and He wants me to believe Him when He tells me I can do it. There is no special set of people chosen to do all the great things. God knows we are all extraordinary, and as we trust Him enough to move forward, He can help us start to discover who we really are. He already knows.
As Marianne Williamson. American author, wrote in her book A Return to Love:
“We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Source)
May we all learn to see ourselves as God sees us, so that we will have the courage to do the work He is calling each of us to do. God doesn’t need someone else. He needs you and me. And as we act in faith, He can help us see who we are, now and forever.