Imagine with me for a moment. You are stranded on a tropical island. You are not hungry, the temperatures are perfect, there are beautiful trees to shade you, and you are comfortable in every way. You are alone. You will only be on this island for a short time so you don’t need to worry about finding food or shelter or a way off, and you don’t have time to nap or do much exploring. You don’t have a book or iPad or another source of entertainment.
You are alone with yourself in paradise. No to do list. No expectations. During this time, you are not a wife or a mother or an employee or a friend or any role that you currently play in your life. You are just you, exactly the you that God created. There are no expectations of you. There is no way to prove your value or your worth. You are simply on this island to exist as you are.
Now, with this picture in mind, how would you rank yourself while on this island? If you were to place yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being that you are of little value, useless, and without purpose, and 10 being that you are awesome and incredibly valuable, where would you place yourself? How would you value yourself, as a person, if we stripped away all of your roles, all of your accomplishments, and all of your expectations? You are simply, you.
How do you value yourself?
Some of you might rank yourself as a 10 or pretty close to it. When you take away all of your roles and expectations you think you are a pretty amazing person. But I would guess that many of you likely gave yourself a much lower ranking. Maybe you said a 3 or 4. You might be thinking, without my role as a mother, or without my accomplishments at work, what value do I have? If you strip away all the things that I do for everyone, do I have any worth? If you take away my ability to do all of the things I do, then what meaning is there for my life? If there is nothing for me to do and no one for me to help, then what purpose do I serve?
This, I think, is where many women find ourselves. We spend ourselves on behalf of others all day every day. We work hard, we accomplish great things, we help, we serve, we strive to change lives. There is so much that we do. And we expect so much of ourselves because the need is so great. Our kids need us, our husband needs us, our employer needs us, our church needs us, the school needs us. And so we give and we give and we give. And we measure our worth and our value to the world based on how much we were able to give and do and accomplish. We keep on striving and working because that is how we prove ourselves to the world.
Am I Enough?
Our accomplishments and our roles become our identity. We define ourselves based on the things we are able to do and the person we are able to be to those around us. Our identity is built on our efforts, achievements, and performance.
We are constantly receiving the message that we are not enough unless we do all of the things. We are pressured to try harder and be the best or at the very least to keep up with everyone else who can do everything else so well.
So we spend ourselves all day every day striving, achieving, pushing, and working to be enough. To prove our value and worth to the world by the effort we put in and the results we receive.
Which is why the thought of stripping away all of our roles and achievements and ability to prove ourselves is downright frightening to many of us. To consider and define who we are without what we’ve done and what we are capable of doing doesn’t even make sense to us. That’s not how the world works.
Who Am I?
Except, that is exactly how God works. You see, God says that we are enough exactly as we are. He looks at us in our darkest of failures and sees perfection. He notices all of our flaws and says “beautiful”. He recognizes our deepest secrets and calls us His “beloved”. He looks down upon us in the midst of our chaotic mess and says “Radiant”, “Honored”, “Desired”, “Chosen”, “Enough”.
There is not a single thing we can do on this green earth to change how our Father sees us. Our identity as His child cannot and will not ever be changed by anything we achieve or don’t achieve. We are His beautiful, accepted, blessed, wanted, creation.
My friend, you are a 10, at all times, no matter what you do or don’t do. You can never and will never change your worth. Your identity isn’t based on your role. Your value isn’t determined by your achievements. Your worth isn’t defined by your accomplishments. Your beauty isn’t decided upon by your outward appearance. You are a 10 because God says it is so. The Creator of the Universe looks upon you as the picture of perfection.
You are because He is.
What do you do when your roles and abilities are taken away?
Michele Cushatt had built a successful business and career as a speaker, writer, and speaking coach. Until one day a phone call from her doctor informed her that she had cancer, of the tongue. After three battles against tongue cancer, today, she is happy to be alive. And yet the battle cost her in many ways including two-thirds of her tongue. Her identity was forever altered and changed.
She came out on the other side of her cancer battle as a completely different person. In medical terms, permanently disabled. In real life, she’d lost much of the function of her tongue including taste and the ability to speak without extreme effort and an impediment. She has large scars in many parts of her body. For months she couldn’t eat or speak. She endured intense chemo and radiation to her head and neck. And those are just some of the physical wounds.
Through her battle, she came face to face with the question of “Who am I?”. As a speaker, the use of her tongue and clear speech could be considered part of the job description. As a mother, her ability to take care of her young children is considered a requirement until she became so sick that she couldn’t even care for herself. As a wife…as a friend…in so many ways she was unable to prove her value and worth in the ways that at one time felt so critical.
Am I enough?
With this question in mind, she began a journey to discover her real identity, based not on the roles and expectations of our culture, but on the truths of the gospel. She spent time learning who she was because of who God is.
I Am Book
And then she wrote a book about it called I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Iscomes out today. I’ve had the chance to soak up the words of this book over the past few weeks and I don’t want to say it lightly, but I really do feel that this book can be life-changing.
I Am is a 60-day devotional type of book. It is not a play-by-play memoir of her life or cancer experience. Instead, Michele walks you step by step through a journey of self-recognition. A journey that will open your eyes to the truths that God says about you. A journey that will lead you to discover your true identity, beyond your roles and accomplishments.
This book will guide you into a place of knowing that you are a 10, all day, every single day. You are enough.
Each day in the book begins with a bible verse and a personal story from Michele’s life which ties into the theme for the day. The themes are all “I Am” statements to help us recognize our true identity. Things like:
- I am Created
- I am Loved
- I am Beautiful
- I am Valuable
- I am Fought For
- I am Heard
- I am Seen
- I am Wanted
- I am Able
- I am Desired
- I am Filled
- I am Healed
- I am Comforted
- I am Free
- I am Redeemed
- I am Radiant
- I am Honored
- I am Sent
- I am Enough
Each day ends with a “Who am I?” section that takes the lesson into a personal application with questions and suggestions to help you truly grasp the message and graft it into your identity.
If you have ever asked the question “Am I Enough?”, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book today. It truly is a blessing and nourishment for the soul.
Yes, my friend, you are more than enough.
Today’s Action Step
Order your copy of I Am: a 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You are Because of Who He Is and soak up the message to find out how to view yourself as a 10, just as your Father sees you.