This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to Jennie Allen’s Nothing to Prove book tour and see her live and in person! Dang. I could listen to that girl preach it. For. Days.
I’m still coming down from the post-IF:Gathering high of seeing amazing woman after amazing woman grace a stage, and passionately and confidently talk about their very real life and their insatiable love for Jesus. I love it! All of it! But I’m beginning to realize something – and I don’t really know if it’s placing people on pedestals per se, but I find myself longing to actually know these awesome, quasi-famous, women in MY real life (And thankfully we will have all eternity to make that happen!) because they are so fabulous and passionate and love Jesus well and share Him with others like their next breath depends on their doing so!
But God has recently shown me that I already have some pretty incredible women (and men!) whom I do know in my actual real life and whom I can call acquaintances and friends. (And these “famous” people don’t get to know them!) God has blessed me and surrounded me with such priceless friendships and unfathomable collective wisdom, that I am really undervaluing them by longing for something else, or “more.” Not that more friends are ever a bad thing – but believing that if you could just be friends with so-and-so then you will be happy, have value, be content. That’s so not true. That’s idolatry. Jesus alone gives you those things. And besides, I’d venture to guess, your friends are pretty amazing people, too!
I think this year I would like to spend a ton of my time with smart people – both people I know personally and those who don’t even know I exist. But not just so I can cram my head full of knowledge. It’s not enough to follow awesome people – we need to become awesome and wise and free ourselves and then turn around and see who is following us. Who thinks we’re awesome and desires to spend time with us? Turn around. Find them. And then disciple them.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life devaluing myself – always desiring to be with others or like others but never stopping to think anyone might actually want to spend time with me. (I even remember thinking to myself as a teen that I would probably marry the first guy I dated because it was unlikely I’d have a line of guys wanting to date me. By the way, this is generally a really bad life plan!! But as it turns out, I did actually marry the first guy I dated – and not because he was some poor schmuck whom I duped into marriage nor was he some sort of loser. He’s an amazing man and God just blessed my crazy teenage idea in His own amazing way!)
Over the past few weeks, and completely unsolicited, I have had a handful of friends, at different times, convey to me how much they value their friendship with me. ME?! This knocked me flat and made me step back to reevaluate how I’ve been seeing myself, how others see me, and ultimately how God sees me.
One of my biggest take-aways from my conversation with Jennie (also known as my sitting in an auditorium with 300 other women while she did all of the talking) is, “You cannot give away freedom if you are not free yourself.” Dang. Preach.
I am not free until I not only grasp but live by the belief that my identity and value are solely and fully found in Christ. I’ve been bought with a price. I am a co-heir with Christ. And, as it turns out, I am sort of already awesome.
And so are you.
P.S. If you would like to read Jennie’s new book (or any of her old books! I’d recommend them all!), click here: Nothing to Prove.