It was 1986. I was sweet sixteen…. and in love. I had my first boyfriend. My family nicknamed him Mr. Wonderful since on our first date he brought flowers, candy and jewelry. Every weekend I got a fresh bouquet of flowers. I didn’t know how special that was at the time. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice now!?!?!!?!
We had met at Campus Life. We’d all come from different schools, churches, and backgrounds, but for 2 hours a week we had fun and learned about Jesus. All of the Campus Life groups in our region would meet together during the summer. And that is how I met Mr. Wonderful. Our summer friendship turned into a year long relationship. “Summer loving had me a blast…..”
He was from a different city. He was a little older than me. And he was a PK. You know, a preacher’s kid. His dad was a pastor of a charismatic/pentecostal type church. This was very different than the Christian Church where I grew up. My church would sing hymns with a piano and met in a school (it was a portable church before that was popular!) His church would sing choruses with a full band and dance in worship. I’d never seen or heard either of those things before.
Occasionally on a Wednesday night I would surprise him and show up at his church. He played piano and drums so I knew where I would find him. I’ve always loved seeing how people worship God and how He reveals Himself to them. The body of Christ is so beautiful! We may worship in different ways, but we are worshipping the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’d get so excited when they would sing one song in particular. It was brand new to me.
“In Him we live, and move, and have our being; in Him we live, and move and have our being.
Make a joyful noise; Sing unto the Lord; tell Him of your love, dance before Him
Make a joyful noise; Sing unto the Lord; tell Him of your love, Hallelujah”
(written by Randy Speir)
When this song would start the congregation would get moving! People all over the room would start dancing. In ways I’d never experienced. I don’t know what to call it, maybe the charismatic two step, but it was like a hop-skip-jump all rolled into one. They all knew it and looked like they were enjoying it. So I tried it too. And it was FUN!!!!
(Just had a praise break and I still can do it! LOL! Now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast…..)
I haven’t heard that song in a worship service in years. And how we dance in church has changed quite a bit too. But whenever I read the verse in Acts 17:28 I can’t help but remember the great times in worship at that little church.
In my personal devotions, I’ve been reading in Acts. I changed things up a bit and am reading from the Passion Translation right now. When I came to Acts 17:28, it jumped out at me as I read it anew.
“It is through Him that we live and function and have our identity; just as your own poets have said, ‘Our lineage comes from Him.'” Acts 17:28
As I re-read it, it no longer was about a song you could dance to. It was about truth I should be LIVING.
My being, my identity, needs to be through Him. It is not to be in what I do or what I have, but IN HIM and THROUGH HIM.
My identity isn’t as a paralegal. Or a single, white female. Or a mom. Or a college graduate. Or a native of Indiana. Or a pastor.
My identity is as His child. I am part of His family. God is my Father. Jesus is my Savior. Holy Spirit is my Friend and Comforter. I am who He says I am. I am the apple of His eye. I am holy, righteous, loved, accepted, forgiven, valued, and redeemed.
How would my life be different if I lived from a place of being, and not doing? If I took time to be a Mary and not just a Martha? How much of my self-worth do I get from God versus how much I perceive from what I have done or am doing?
I want to live my life in a place of being. Being, not doing. Being with Him. Being in Him. Functioning through Him. Flowing with Him.
Be. Just Be.
This weekend 12 ladies from our church went to a retreat. The speaker had us ask God some questions. One question was simply: God, who do You say that I am? It wasn’t: what am I to be doing for You, God? It was: who am I to You?
This exercise so touched my heart. I wrote down what He spoke to my heart. And I basked in His love, acceptance and the value that He placed on how He created me. Just my being was enough to God. It wasn’t based in anything I do or don’t do. It simply was about the unique person He called and created me to be.
I invite you to take a moment to ponder Acts 17:28 with God. Ask God that same question: God, who do you say that I am? What lies have I believed about myself? What do I need to see and believe?
Lord, help me to have my being, my identity found in you!