Here’s the thing about identity

romans 11:36

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. Here’s why. I started blogging for the same reason I started doing a lot of things – I want people to like me. I want people to think I’m cool and smart. I wanted likes and comments and praise and fans. It sounds silly and feels weird to type it up, but that’s the truth. I wanted to be the next Very Worst Missionary. So I would post A LOT trying to figure out what people liked to read. I started a Tumblr and even a Twitter for a minute and would share my own blog posts everywhere hoping more people would read them. I read a couple articles about getting traffic on your blog and half-heartedly tried to follow their advice. I was always trying to think of something new and exciting to blog about.

Now I’m feeling more settled into my identity. I have always said that I write because God asked me to write, and that’s true. I write because God asked me to write, but I was posting it on the internet for everyone to see because I wanted people (strangers, even) to think I was cool.

I’ve been studying Moses through the book of Exodus lately. This morning I read chapter 17. Verse 1 says this, “All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord.” The people of Israel were in an actual physical location called Sin, but this verse resonated with me. Lately I’ve been moving farther and farther away from a particular sinful habit that I have struggled with for years. So many years. And for a couple of those years I searched and prayed for a switch to flip to turn off the lust. But just like there is no secret to writing a book besides actually sitting your butt in a chair and writing the words, there is no secret sin switch. Sometimes, I’m sure for some people somewhere, God takes away temptations or struggles and overnight people are changed. I remember hearing from a girl in college who had struggled with an eating disorder for years who shared how seemingly overnight God had taken away that desire.

But for most of us, we, like the people of Israel, move on from the wilderness of Sin by stages. And we do it according to the commandments of the Lord. I finally “got over” my sin by focusing my mind and my time on other things according to the commandments of the Lord. What has God commanded us to do? Love God, Love People. He wants to be known by us. He wants us to share what He has done in our lives and to hear from others about Him. He wants us to care for each other in real and practical ways. He wants us to care for ourselves in real and practical ways. He wants us to get enough sleep. He wants us to seek Him out in the world, filling out our understanding of Who He Is. (One of the ways I do that is reading!)

When I started focusing more on the commandments of the Lord and especially on being more loving in my relationships, the space I had carved out in my life for that particular sin got smaller and smaller. I moved away from the wilderness of the my Sin in stages. Not all at once. Not overnight. Not with the flip of a switch.

It’s been the same kind of journey finding my identity. In stages and in focusing on the commandments of the Lord I have desired likes and comments less and less until they are fairly insignificant to me (which is good because they are fairly nonexistent). What has God commanded us to do? I can love and honor others by trusting them with my story. I can care for people with words of encouragement. I can know God better through reading others’ stories. I can share the little piece of God He has revealed to me in my unique experiences with the world through this blog.

Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” The “him” is Jesus. Everything (good) comes from Jesus. Everything (good) runs through him and everything (good) is for him. I want to be from him, through him, and to him. I want my life to be all about Jesus in every direction and intention. I used to use that phrase to sign off my e-mails. “From him, through him, to him, Suzanne.” I hope that in the next couple of years I become even closer to that state of being (everything from, through, and for Jesus). Here on this blog, whether I’m writing about Liz Lemon or children’s books or Harry Potter or the Bible, I want it to be all from Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus.

Blogging is so much more fun when the only person you’re trying to impress already literally loves the hell out of you.

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