Have you ever prayed to be something different? Have you ever asked God to change something about you? Have you asked him to add a talent or take away a desire? If your prayer aligns with God’s molding of your character or the fulfillment of your purpose, He does “change” people. We see examples of people radically changed in the bible after just one encounter with the living God. We hear testimonies in the here and now of how people changed completely after a revelation from God. Yet, were these people really changed or were they becoming who God designed them to be all along? Were they finally shedding off the world and picking up their true identity in Christ? I believe that the Lord is continually molding, shaping, and gently carving us as we walk with Him. Some mornings, my only prayer is, “Lord, shape me. Mold me. Work in me”
Yet, for many many years, about 15 at least, I begged continuously for a different kind of change. I cried out for the Lord to make me someone He never designed me to be. I was trying hard to fit the world’s desires for me. I was trying to be what people around me wanted me to be in order to fit their personal desires of me. I was rejected by my earthly father when I was just 6 years old. Completely rejected and told some pretty nasty, yucky things. Things no 6 year old should ever hear a parent utter about who they are. I grew up never really believing his words had any kind of lasting effect on me. I became quite prideful and haughty about how I didn’t care what he had done or said to me. I was determined to prove to everybody that I would rise above his rejection. Yet, I never really took the time to face his words and his actions so that I could fully heal. But until I faced and dealt with that pain, I entered relationship after relationship with people who spoke words of rejection over me. The words were sometimes disguised just as good advice, or sometimes they were more direct and forward about how I was falling short. The message was always the same: “change who you are for me and my needs, because who you are is just not enough for me.” This exact phrase is often unspoken of course, but when you find yourself in one of these types of relationships, whether it’s with a parent, a spouse, or a close friend, it is extremely painful. It hurts so deeply because you literally feel as if you are on a treadmill running to be someone you’re not for the approval of someone who will never be pleased. It will never be enough for them despite your best efforts to just hit the mark and gain their love, acceptance, or affection. Sometimes, we hit the mark momentarily, and ahhh that feels so good. Yet, then they pull the carpet right out from under our feet, and we find ourselves right back on the treadmill running, striving, begging for their approval.
I was literally on my knees in prayer one evening, soaked with tears crying out for the Lord to make me pleasing and acceptable to my spouse. I desired healing for the relationship. I had been rejected long enough. I needed a breakthrough and the answer I received from the Lord was not the one I expected…. He reminded me who I was in Him: loved, worthy, amazing, redeemed, whole, and healthy. In my spirit, I heard, “No, my daughter, I will not change you. I designed you.” I was so relieved. The relief I felt in that moment of revelation was intense and immediate. It was as if someone took a heavy backpack off of my back. I was shocked at the clarity I felt when I realized I had been striving for so long to be someone I could never be: someone else…..
But still, why didn’t God just change me?
I believe it is because God loves me the way that I am! He has fashioned my every talent, my desires, my heart, my quirky smile, my shy nature that sometimes recedes in a burst of excitement, my love of all things related to children, my deeeep desire to adopt, my desire to foster again, my desire to be surrounded by a large loving family. My desire to be all that God wants for me. My modest way that I dress, my love of encouraging others, my love of spicy foods and onions. All of the special things that make me who I am are no surprise to God for He fashioned me in my mother’s womb all to His glory and according to His divine plans for me. His plans that are still many to come to pass over my life. He didn’t change me for my spouse because that is not His design for marriage. Sure our characters get refined and molded, our hearts are softened, our lives and minds and hearts are molded to become more and more like Christ as we serve Him, but who we are, who we were designed to be is God’s masterpiece and He is not going to reshape His original perfect and unique design of me for someone else’s design of who they believe I should be. It is my friends and family’s role to love me for who I am.
If you are a woman who has felt pain, please know that through Jesus even the darkest of nights becomes a beautiful dawn and eventually a sunrise. That Jesus makes all things new. He is our way to the Father and our Savior. He is our healer and our hope and our light in the dark. Jesus gives hope to situations that seem hopeless. He is our redeemer when we feel like we might have strayed too far to ever return. He is our beginning and our end. He alone gets to name us, to define us, and to breathe life into us. No one else gets to determine our value or our worth except the One who named us from the beginning of time. We are children of the one and only true God, the maker of Heaven and earth and everything in it. The designer of butterflies, and the holder of the stars. The very Lord who makes the waves crash on shore and the sun shine each morning crafted us cell by cell in our mother’s womb. Because He made us, He names us.
And NO He will not change us to fit others’ expectations of us whether that be a boss, our friends, our parents, or even our spouse. He will not mold us into anything other than His original design for us. I believe that is why my prayer has gone unanswered, because I believe Jesus is saying…. “My child you are far too precious to Me just the way you are for me to change you into anything other than who you are. I will continue to equip you, to mold you, and to shape you for your divine purposes that have been set since the beginning of time, but that molding and shaping will happen in alignment with who you already are. It will not change you into someone you are not, but merely help you to continue to grow up into all that I have called you to be and to fulfill my purposes for your life. Much like a baby oak tree growing up year after year after year. The oak tree never stops growing, but it also never transforms into a palm tree. It always remains an oak tree. You my daughter are like an oak tree, growing and changing as the seasons change, but never becoming something totally different. For you are My design, and while man looks on the outside, I look at the heart.”
So where do we go from here? What do we do when we are alone and scared. When we are constantly bombarded with the message that we have failed. When we feel that we have strayed too far for redemption. The enemy hits me daily, sometimes hourly with all that I am not, all that I never will be, all that I have lost, all that I never had to begin with, he screams that I am hopeless, unable to be who God has called me to be. He takes my clarity and my peace and exchanges confusion and fear. How do I guard the peace and joy that Jesus places in my heart? How do I keep steadfast in the Lord? Phillipians 4: 8 has been given to me by the Lord time and time and time again. I have to do my part to keep speaking truth over myself and my life and my children. God loves me, God has special plans and provisions just for me. I am walking a path, a race of endurance just for me. A path that is mine and God’s alone. He has special people for me to reach that can be reached only by my broken story of loss and redemption. People who have come from broken homes, people who have been hurt deeply by dysfunctional relationships, people who have felt unworthy and unredeemable, women who have been lied to about their identity. God has special plans to use every single heartache to advance His kingdom. He will not waste a single tear that I have shed.
To the beautiful woman reading this, YOU are God’s design. You. Just you, not who you wish you were, not who your parents, friends, or spouse desire you to be, but you just the way that you are is amazing. You are designed from head to toe by the Lord. You are talented, gifted, and designed for purpose. You have great and mighty assignments. They are yours alone, so that’s why your life looks different from your friends or your neighbors. We are all so different, so uniquely designed, because our purposes are all different. Yet, the world lies and tells us we should all look the same, act the same, and live out the same dream. This has set many women up for alot of pain when they don’t fit that one size fits all dream for us. And let’s face it, very few of us , if any, fit all of what society says we should be which makes us feel shame, disappointment, and ultimately pain. But here’s the shocking part, we were never ever designed to be all the same.
Let’s get brave and courageous enough to take off the world’s expectations of us and pick up our crown of beauty and destiny that was ours all along, we just didn’t know it.
When we finally begin the hard work of shedding the world’s lies that we are not enough and begin to pick up our truths that we are brave, abundantly blessed, and oh so beautiful, we begin to experience healing that we never even knew we needed. Relief washes over us, burdens of not enough are lifted, and revelation of who we really are come to us. It’s a wonderful process of finding ones true self hidden deep beneath the junk from the world that’s been heavily piled on top. Let’s travel together and start taking off the layers one by one and discovering our hidden jewels.