Many years ago, a group of us were looking at the life of Moses. At the end of our time together, Anne, the one leading our group, did something quite creative. In keeping with Moses’ blessing of the tribes at the end of his life, she did the same. She gave each person a blessing and recognized them for an attribute she felt characterized them. By doing so, both Moses and Anne blessed people by giving them a glimpse of who they really were.
As Anne began going around the large circle of women, it seemed to me that each word fit perfectly to the person it was given. There were laughs, sighs and smiles as each woman received their blessing. As my time in the circle approached, my mind jumped ahead to what she would say about me. Revealing that tells you that my attribute was not humility! I was hoping for joy. I like joy and for the most part I think I’m pretty joyful. But if not joy, then love or encouragement. For that matter, I had a whole slew of things I would have loved to have said about me.
But when my turn came, I was surprised. And I have to say, disappointed. The word she used was enthusiastic, which was not high on my value scale at all. Smiling, I listened. But to be honest, I wasn’t smiling inside.
On and off for the next few years, I thought about that memory. It especially came to mind anytime I heard someone say the word enthusiastic. Then one day, while working in the kitchen, a program came on the radio that changed my whole perspective.
The speaker began giving the definition of a group of words. One of those words was enthusiastic. The definition he gave for enthusiasm was “possessed by God.” With jaw dropping surprise, I couldn’t help but mutter to myself, “Are you kidding?” Enthusiastic wasn’t a word I wanted to define me, but I could think of nothing better I would want said of me than, “she was possessed by God.”
Immediately, I ran to the source of all such pertinent info (alias, the dictionary) to see if this new revelation was true. And YES, to my joy, it was. And YES, I must add that I was quite enthusiastic about it! Now I embrace enthusiasm with fresh excitement and am thankful people often see that quality in me.
But even more important than being excited about being enthusiastic, was the insight I gained about how each of us see ourselves. So often the things we want to define us are qualities we already possess, we just don’t know it. They are hidden by misconceptions or ideas we already have lodged in our hearts and minds. Sometimes they are things we have told ourselves or sometimes they have been told to us by others. It is a beautiful thing when we find out, who we hope to be is already who we are.
For me, it was a radio program that woke me up to that understanding. For you, it may be the dark, hard situation in which you find yourself. Perhaps that crisis brings out the courage you never thought you had but always wanted. You’ll find out it was always there, you just didn’t know it. The world offers a million ways to discover, who we long to be already lies within us.
So a big shout out and thank you to Anne who recognized in me what I refused to see in myself all those years ago. She saw what I hadn’t yet discovered. Because, so often, who we most want to be, is already who we are.
“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. Matthew 5:5 Msg
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you: he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:6 Msg
“What I’m(Jesus) saying is, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 14:11 Msg
And don’t miss the songs. 🎼 🎶