When Christ is In You {Who Am I, Anyway?}

Lenten Journey

Lent wasn’t what I expected. And yet, it was everything I had hoped. For He met me in my darkest state and didn’t look away. Then He proved what He’s capable of…for He took loving me ’till death do us part to a whole new level.

Wow, does He love me. And my goodness, does He ever pursue me.

There was one night in particular. Shortly after Lent began. I went to bed too late, utterly exhausted…still I couldn’t sleep.

Friend, do you ever get that desperate, parched feeling? Just a dire need to read The Word? I hope you say no for the only good reason–you get your fill every day. And that was the thing. I had been in The Word every day. More than normal, in fact. And yet, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling. I have no idea how to describe the urgency I felt…but, friends, I HAD to read James.

I snuck out of bed and I told God (I’m so embarrassed at how many times I say that…) I did, I told God I would read the first chapter only and the rest tomorrow when my mind wasn’t hazy. I promised Him at the first crack of light, I’d read the entire Book. Oh, and I gave Him the obvious reasons–so I could hear Him better and apply it deeper. Yada, yada…

Some day, friends, some day I’ll learn this lesson He repeatedly tries to teach me: I don’t know better…ever.

You have figured this out already, but still I can’t believe how hard the Book of James hit me. How much I needed those words. Right then. I was sobbing by the end of the first chapter. And there was no stopping me. I had to go on. Twice.

For the remainder of Lent, the Book of James showed up and walked me through. Friends, I can’t even make this stuff up. I would find it in a blog post here, in a tweet there. Twice it was the Bible verse chosen for my Sunday School class to memorize. It was also in the very books I was reading. James was everywhere.

Because of God…Because God…He knew better.

A great portion of Lent for me was spent in self-reflection. And this year was different from last. For last year, I couldn’t get beyond my own sin and unworthiness. This year, I was desperate to figure out who I really am for Him. What I can be. do. live. I know I’m His child, but which one? Where’s my place?

Would you believe I found every answer I was looking for in James? It took me weeks of reading it daily. Over and over. It took flat-on-my-face prayer time to soften this heart of mine and hear what He had for me.

I’m still trying to figure out how and what to share. And I’m not even done learning, that I know. But we’ve gone this far together, friends. I have to share a bit of it with you. Do you mind just one example now?

Holey Wholly Holy -- LIFE

It’s been an excuse of mine for decades. And I struggle with this in my own parenting, trying hard not to do the same for my son. For He deserves what God has to offer, not me. And friends, God never puts us in a box. Ever. We’re too valuable for that. So who am I to say what my son is capable of…

Still, I’ve convinced myself what I’m capable of. I’ve labeled my own limitations and have accepted my place low in the ranks of God’s army. What’s worse…I’ve been okay with this for quite a while.

Then I read this:

Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!
James 5:17

To think…Elijah. The one we hear about as a child in Sunday School and stand in awe at the very thought of him. He was just like me: Fully human. Fully His.

Who am I to say what God will or won’t do through me, friends? Who am I to think “Fully His” isn’t enough?

That part alone took me days to sort through. Then, He hit me with this:

Who am I to think my time isn’t best spent in prayer?

Elijah…just a guy…prayed earnestly. He asked God to show up with His power. Not with Elijah-power. No. He fully believed God showing up would be enough to prove who reigns. And God did. In rain. Show up.

Who am I to think God won’t show up and use me or use me up for His glory?

Friends, I can tell you now. This Lent, God showed up. What’s even more mind-boggling is He simply showed up for me. Just me. Not to impress an audience or give me something blog-worthy to share. No. He was focused on me.

Who am I to not love Him back like that? Fully His…

I catch myself now, looking in the mirror, asking myself the same question: Who am I? And I answer it with ease:

I’m fully His. And I know enough to believe that’s more than enough for Him. For He knows better…

This is the last post of my Lenten series using Holey, Wholly, Holy by Kris Camealy as a guide. You may check out the entire series HERE.

Friend, if you need to talk about refinement more, please email me at simplystriving (at) gmail (dot) com.

NOTE: If you have not read this book, I highly recommend you click HERE.

How about you, friend? How did God show up for you this Lent? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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38 thoughts on “When Christ is In You {Who Am I, Anyway?}

  1. “Fully human. Fully His.” oh, yes! How often do I make excuses that I’m merely human? Too often, forgetting that I belong to a very awesomely powerful God who even has the power to transform this lowly human! 🙂

    God showed up during my lenten season although I didn’t see Him at first because He did not “arrive” in the way that I had planned. When will I learn that HIS plan is always better than mine? But He patiently continues to teach me. And, thankfully, He always shows up despite my shortcomings!

    Thank you, friend, for always pointing me towards Him!

    • “He did not arrive in the way that I planned…” OH my heart, did I struggle with this, too! It was just like I was there that first Palm Sunday…expecting a King on a White Stallion when all I got was a Man on a Donkey…oh my…He knew that’s all I needed. He knows better…

      So glad you found Him, Laurie. So thankful… {HUGs}

  2. Beautiful, girl. I love when we heed the small still voice within which wants to guide us on the path. I have never ever thought, “I shouldn’t have” but all too often “I wish I did.” I truly believe if we simply get still and listen we wil hear his direction. I’m so glad for you that you got up and met with him in James. What a blessing, indeed.

    • Oh yes, me too, Stacey! Never have I regretted it when I’ve chosen Him…when I’ve given myself fully.
      Let’s get this thing…of getting still and listening…it’s worth pursuing.
      Thanks for reading my heart today, friend (I type this now while I’m snuggled up with your handiwork!!) {HUGs}

  3. Great post Nikki! This was the first year I really ‘celebrated’ Lent. I re-read 1000 Gifts for the second time. And I think God really used it to open my eyes to how much I need to surrender my life to Him. It’s become increasingly apparent that I cannot do this life, live the joyful victorious Christian life, without surrendering control to Him in full sincere humility. He was showing me over these last weeks how much He has already given me, and how faithful He is. I have really been learning what it means to Daily lay down my life in order to serve Him. It has been difficult at times, but I know that He works everything out for good and the pain of growth will only bring me closer to Him and fulfilling the purpose He has for me.

    • Oh, you struggle with the control bug, too, huh? Why is this so hard to grasp? Why do I think I can do it better than HE? Love how He spoke to you during Lent, Sarah. (and 1000 Gifts is on my top ten list!) The daily lay-down. that’s what I’m working on, too. So thankful we can journey this together and am thrilled you found me! 🙂 {HUGs}

  4. Wow, Nikki — interesting that you spent Lent in James. So did I, but not by supernatural design. I’m leading my neighborhood girls in Beth Moore’s study of James. And James, who at first didn’t fully “get” who Christ was, but who came to understand it and help the rest of us on our journeys.

    • Oh, I love that, Susan! That’s the crazy thing…I’ve done the Beth Moore study on James! Crazy me to not think there was more for me in there I didn’t pick up with a crowd… I’m looking forward to your thoughts once I share some of my latest ones.

  5. And to think, we’re filled with His Spirit! Oh the power of our prayers. This is beautifully written friend. I love your heart. And yes, I have been instructed to a book and drank it in like I’d been deprived of water for far too long. Romans, in fact, just recently. I love how the Holy Spirit teaches us through the Word, and guides us, and causes us to be thirsty for what He’s giving us.

    Janelle Marie

    • YES! I love how He’s working through Romans with you, Janelle Marie. That’s one Book I can never read fast. And clearly, so is James! 😉 I’m learning from you going through Romans and I pray there is something for you in my story through James, too, friend. . .

  6. I love James too. Thanks for sharing how God spoke to you during Lent. Praying that He uses you fully and completely. I love your heart for Him, blessings:)

  7. Liked hearing about how The Spirit kept prompting you to read James…and the conformation afterwards. With every intent to do something extra, read something extra, fast, for Lent it didn’t happen. But it was okay. With so many things happening beyond my control, the Holy season was very significant in that God kept at His calling me to walker closer, more faith, with simple obedience, which is not so simple. Like you I am amazed at His individual attention and love towards little me!
    Cheers.

    • Some Lenten journeys are longer than 40 days, Leah. If I’m honest with myself, mine has been going on over a year! I wonder if you will say the same as He draws you closer because you’re right–it’s not easy!

      Thanks for reading my heart, Leah. Always love when you stop by!

  8. Dear Nikki
    Yes, dear one, when Pappa touches us personally in that special way, we are walking on clouds for a few days, don’t we!!! We only need to be empty vessels for Him to live and love others through.
    Much love and blessings to you

  9. I love reading about your journey, Nikki. It is so wonderful that God used James so powerfully for you. It makes me want to go back and read it again, but I’m hearing no. Isn’t that interesting. God has something for me, too. He leads us, calls us. . . all on our own paths, yet all together. Through this post, I hear him saying “speak to me.” It has been so long since I have had the rich prayer life you speak of. Listening is so good, but I know he wants to listen to. I know that listening is so much fuller when it goes both ways.

  10. I love how He pursues us/you and how you respond to Him…funny, how we are often on similar paths as lately God has been impressing on me the importance of prayer and He showed me in a very clear way last week…hope to tell you next time we chat…what an honor it is to partner with Him…He doesn’t need us, yet He loves us so much…Big hugs to you 🙂

  11. Eep! So so good friend! Aye, my heart. Hugs! And a quote for you that I now know I need to stick back up on my mirror…(this reminder has happened multiple times this week) “God is looking for those through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity we plan only the things we can do ourselves.” A.W. Tozer And then follow it with Ephesians 3:20-21. 🙂 Thank you for this reminder!

  12. Yes to exactly what Alene wrote to you above. Just… yes. I have not figured it out yet, either, my friend. I’m eagerly soaking up the words He’s been giving others while deftly avoiding hearing the ones He has for me. This post was gorgeous. For all of the yearning it prompted in me to hear my own Word and for the beauty, of you, that poured right out.

    • Oh I so get this…some times, we just need a break from the refining, don’t we? ugh…it hurts. I so adore you, friend. {HUGS} I don’t know how you read my heart so well, but I am so grateful…thank you.

  13. You are an amazing, beautiful writer, friend and lover of God. What a richness of wisdom and truth you leave for us to partake of. His love and grace pour through your generous spirit into ours. I’m so blessed to call you friend.

    • I read this and think..she’s not talking about me, she’s looking in the mirror! Because, friend, what you have beautifully described here is how I see you exactly. and then some. So blessed by you {HUGS}

  14. Love this! I’m going to have to catch up on all your other posts on the series now, too. Yes, I have had God do that to me. Most notably when He was first calling me to salvation. How else does one pour over books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy with fervor in an effort to know all about God lest He kill them in their sleep instead! Other times, it hasn’t been quite so dramatic! LOL

    My story from Lent is Easter morning. I’m not much of a crier at all (long story), but I picked up my chrono Daily Bible before breakfast, and read the blended resurrection accounts from the 4 gospels in tears. Like it was the first time I’d ever read them. Like before then, I didn’t know Jesus would rise. That was awesome. A revival of sorts, I guess.

  15. Nikki, I look back and see how God has been seeking me out, asking me to trust Him more–but before I could do that, He came to heal me and restore me to Him. He pursues us each perfectly, uniquely, with so much love I can scarcely take it in. I just love your words here–and even more, your heart that does not rest without the Father near.

    • Oh yes…the healing. What love and care He gives us, friend. You are so right. It’s so perfect. unique. loving…may we never stop losing our breath at the thought of Him!! Thank you, sweet Jennifer, for sharing with me.

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