I Am Who You Say I Am
Today is a good day! I can not believe SHE WEARS WORTH has been live and out there in the world for over a month. I couldn’t be happier to share with you the last of the characters that I learned from and leaned into when looking for encouragement to start this thing. His name is Peter. Originally called Simon, he is a very dynamic, strong-willed, impulsive, enthusiastic, less-than-perfect person! Everything about this guy - his outspoken personality, his mistakes, his past, his desire to do right, his determination to spread the Good News, and his resilience to stand up for what was right - spoke right to my soul!
As I’ve mentioned, I felt extremely under-qualified, inexperienced, and inadequate starting this organization but the hardest thing for me to overcome and surrender were my fears about what others would think. How people, specifically those who knew the “old” Courtney, (the ones from my less-than-perfect past) would perceive me.
I have been a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. Yes, to some I am a mentor, a pastor’s wife, a caring friend, a role model, and a bride dressed in white. But I have also been the girl closing the bar down at 4 am, a foul-mouthed, dirty joke-teller, and the impulsive girl, that did what she wanted when she wanted it. I had quite a resume of mistakes.
Although I knew that I had changed. I knew that God had forgiven me and that I was now living a life very far from the one I used to, but I feared that all the things I did (the things that I was now ashamed of) were still a part of who I was. I believed the lie that if I were to take up the baton, run with this thing, and put myself out there, the world would only be a cruel reflection. A mirror showing me and reminding me of the mistakes I’d made, the person I was, the sadness I carried, and the insecurities I deal with daily.
The more I battled with these things, the more I learned I was not alone in my disillusionment and struggle. I was not the only one desiring to be someone better, only to be continuously dragged down by my past. In some way or another, most of us deal with these types of lies!
We are a mixed-up, messy, Motley-crew of people and for some reason, we put more significance behind what OTHERS say about us than what HE says about us. And we spend more time trying to be what WE think WE need to be, than seeking what HE wants us to be. Many times the things we believe about ourselves are selfish, distorted, irrational, destructive and downright false.
So let’s talk about Peter, because like me and quite possibly like you, he also was a lot of different things, to a lot of different people but when he focused on the only opinion that mattered, that of the Boss Man a.k.a. God, he became exactly who and what he was meant to be.
For quite a while, reading through the New Testament, I thought there were two guys named Peter.
One is an enthusiastic, dedicated, well-spoken apostle, honored to suffer for the Lord’s sake. (Acts 5:41)
Then another Peter who lacked faith and sunk when called to walk on water (Mat. 14:28-31), who what quick to speak and impulsive, and who denied Jesus three times when he is arrested to be crucified (Matt. 26).
The events and the personalities told two very different stories, so I assumed they were two different people. Finally, “ding, ding, ding” the bell went off and I realized, “Holy smokes, it’s the same guy. The same Peter.” But how? How can someone with such conflicting characteristics be one of the chosen, “special people” in the Bible?
Peter, originally named Simon, by trade was a fisherman and the stereotypes of his job were accurate. He was a ‘man’s man’, brash at times, shabbily dressed, gruff and unkempt, had a temper, and lived a rough, physically demanding life. Not an ideal candidate for one of the 12 apostles, the main group of men spreading the message of faith, hope, and love. Or so you would think…
Jesus, however, thought differently. Peter was the first of the 12 men Jesus calls to join him. Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, and He saw Simon Peter in his boat fishing with his brother, Andrew. Jesus called out “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mat 4.19) Just like that Peter and his brother left their life behind and followed. Over the next few years, Peter devoted himself to Jesus and became somewhat of the spokesman for the 12 apostles. He became the first to fully believe and publicly confess Jesus as the “the Christ, the son of the living God,” to which Jesus blessed him. (Matt 16:16) He proclaimed that he was willing to die for Jesus. He was leading the charge, spreading the news, and proclaiming his faithfulness and dedication.
There was no doubt that Peter was an amazing advocate and friend to Jesus while he was alive, but he also was impetuous and strong-willed. He was quick to act at times and impulsive. He challenged Jesus and questioned him. On the night of the last supper, the night that Jesus is taken away, Jesus warned Peter. Jesus told Peter that he (Peter) was going to deny him (Jesus) three times that night. Peter swore it would never happen…yet it does.
Peter, who was supposed to be one of the main followers and supporters, denied Jesus three different times. Jesus is sentenced to death and crucified. He died and then He rose from the grave and guess what happens next … (no seriously I want you to guess)
Jesus finds Peter and punishes him for being an untrustworthy friend and denying Him.
Jesus gathers all the apostles but doesn’t invite Peter because He is angry at him.
Jesus, through an angel, tells all disciples of his rising and specifically names Peter because Jesus wants to make sure he knows
The right answer is C. I’ll be honest, the first time I read this, I didn’t see that coming. Even after Peter’s huge mistake, Jesus forgave Peter immediately for what he’d done. WHY? Why would Jesus do that? There were signs way before the denial that Peter was ‘no perfect person’ yet WHY did Jesus forgive him and still want to use him?
Jesus was more focused on WHAT HE WANTED PETER TO BECOME and WHAT HE HAD PLANNED FOR PETER than what Peter did and was.
When the world saw a dirty, impulsive fisherman who cowardly turned on his friend - Jesus saw a hard-working, capable, and courageous man. Jesus saw the fight and vivaciousness of a man that would speak up and have the boldness to witness to others. Jesus saw all the things He had PLANNED for Peter. Despite what Peter was, Jesus ALWAYS and ONLY saw what Peter could become. Think about that for a moment… and let it sink in…
Despite what Peter was, what Peter did, and what Peter thought of himself, Jesus ALWAYS and ONLY saw what Peter could become.
Peter went on to do incredible things for the name of Jesus. He was the first to preach to the Gentiles, a people group that many deemed “unworthy” to be called Christ-followers. (Acts 10) He opened up the church to three different people groups. He traveled and spoke out and died a martyr. He accomplished incredible things for the Church!
Just like the last three characters we looked at, we see how God is in the game of using the UNlikely and UNqualified!!
But most importantly, the thing I hope you understand that take away from Peter and his story, is that we are LOVED by a GOD that cares MORE ABOUT WHO HE CREATED US TO BE than anything else.
He ALWAYS and ONLY sees the person He designed us to be.
Despite our flaws, mistakes, and transgressions, He believes in us. No matter how many “different things we are to different people,” He only cares about what we are to Him!
The God that loves us is 110% fully aware of everything we’ve done. He knows our good and bad qualities and characteristics. He knows our mistakes and faults. He knows our flaws and issues. He knows our talents and gifts. He KNOWS IT ALL, yet HE made each of us for a purpose and He is focused on molding us into that.
I want to shout a big AMEN because THIS IS TRUTH, my friends! And this is something I want to remind myself and everyone of every day!
I fully know and understand the girl I used to be, the mistakes I’ve made, the doubts I had, the sadness I carried around and ya know what, so does He. It is not news to Him. He was there for it all, just waiting patiently for me to invite Him in.
I spent all this time worrying about the old Courtney. What would others see? What would they think? Would they be able to see past who I was and understand who I am? I just assumed that I would be forever stuck, that no matter what I did, I’d never fully move on from those skeletons in my closet.
But Peter helped me surrender these thoughts and stamp out these lies. God was and always will be more focused on WHO HE WANTS ME TO BECOME than who I was. He created me for a purpose and He is going to be there, no matter what, until the end, pursuing, pushing, and motivating me to become that woman.
And He wants to do the same for you. He doesn’t see you for your mistakes, your flaws, your insecurities, your anger, your sadness, your brokenness, your perfections, your lies. He sees you radiant and beautiful, the MASTERPIECE He created you to be. He made you and He knows your capabilities!
STOP looking in the mirror and seeing what YOU see and start trying to SEE and BELIEVE what HE SEES! I am telling you, it is the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world! You were made in His image. You were made a masterpiece.
I want to end with a question I asked myself and spent a lot of time thinking about and digging into, it wasn’t fun, but finding the answer was so powerful.
Is the person you think you are supposed to be holding you back from becoming the person you are MEANT to be?
Peter would have never accomplished the things he did, he would have never brought the word of God to thousands and thousands of people if he let who he WAS and what he DID hold him down.
God sees the person HE created you to be and that person, my friend is magnificent!!! I pray that one day, you see her too!!
Who we think we are and who the world tells us we are…
You are not defined by your mistakes
You are more than just the qualifications you have listed on your resume or linked in page.
Somewhere along the way, we got it stuck in our minds that who we were at that given moment was who we going to continue to be years down the road.
Who I was?
When actually the person I was MEANT TO BE was being held back by the girl that I “thought” I was supposed to be.
God doesn’t want you to be the best version of yourself. He wants you to be HIS version
It is not enough to be the best version of yourself. Even that will NOT compare to the version HE created you to be.
We as humans undermine what we are capable of because we rely on ourselves. We rely on what other people say about us. We rely on lies when there is someone who made you in His own perfect image - who made you be this incredible masterpiece - is telling you that you are all these amazing things and He has a plan for you.
He is more focused on what you are capable of, what you can become, and what HE made you to be than anything you have ever done! EVER!