It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

22 July 2011

EXPERIENCES affect Identity – pt.5

12:01 AM Posted by steve flores No comments
“Our greatest disadvantages may not be what we perceive as our greatest advantages. Our greatest advantages may actually be hidden in our greatest disadvantages, if we learn to leverage them.”
–Mark Batterson

[Part One]; [Part Two]; [Part Three]; [Part Four]

I want to repeat last paragraph from the previous post:
I wonder if David questioned taking care of sheep when he experienced those encounters.  I wonder if after the lion attack he thought, “This is insane!  I can’t do this job anymore!”  Then, a few months later, a bear attack, “No way!  I don’t know how much more I can put up with this!”  There is no way David would have known, how useful those hardships could become until he stood before King Saul.  Hardships now can prepare you for tough times in your future – use them as a resource for strength, not a source for fear. 

How difficult is life for you, now?  What are the areas that aren’t going well or haven’t gone well?  Have you said this, “I don’t know how much more I can put up with this!”?  It may not make any sense right now, but God can use those experiences to shape your identity in a positive way.  To repeat a point from the previous post: You may not see it now, but your identity can be shaped in a positive way by each and every experience, even the negative ones. 

How do I know?  Because, God used David’s experiences--a lion and bear attack--to qualify him to fight Goliath.  Verses 38-40 described the moment just before the fight, “Saul put his own clothes on David. He put a bronze helmet on his head and dressed him in armor. David put on Saul's sword and tried to walk around, but he was not used to all the armor Saul had put on him. He said to Saul, "I can't go in this, because I'm not used to it." Then David took it all off. He took his stick in his hand and chose five smooth stones from a stream. He put them in his shepherd's bag and grabbed his sling. Then he went to meet the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:38-40)

I can’t prove this scripturally, but had David gone out in Saul’s stuff, he might have lost the battle with Goliath.  The story might have had a different ending.  Or, let’s say David won with King Saul’s stuff.  People might have said David won only because he used Saul’s stuff.  What makes this story so powerful is not what David had on, but what he didn’t.  David didn’t trust Saul’s wisdom; he relied on God’s protection.  I have a suggestion.  Rather than seeking the advice of others so quickly, maybe you should pray, first.  Make prayer the first response, not the last resort.  In the end, God received the recognition for protection and David for his bravery, not Saul.

This is such an important point in Scripture as it deals with identity.  Too many of us try to be like someone we admire, someone who has a close relationship with God.  Too many of us want instant success and want to be noticed, so we copy others hoping we will somehow achieve the same success or be noticed.  It’s an attempt to bolster our low self-worth.  Our motives are either selfish or we are too lazy to pay the price and gain our own experiences.  In the end, we don’t know who we are, because we have spent most of our energy trying to become someone else.  Don’t short-circuit God’s plans and purposes by taking shortcuts.  Seeking acceptance from others to bring to life a struggling identity kills the identity you were created for.