Who We Are in Light of Who He Is :: And a Giveaway

Tuesday, May 23, 2017  ::   23 important comments

Through the years I've grown in self-awareness and understanding. I believe it is good, wise, and honorable to know your strengths and weaknesses so you can better serve God and love people. For example, how can I love people in the way they need love if I'm not aware that I can be an 'energetic' nurturer? (Some say smother, but I say mother.) Or if I am unaware of the intensity of my faith, maybe I sound like a raving lunatic instead of a compassionate, bold Jesus-follower? Knowing who we are and what we believe increases our ability to love and serve.

However, a main point of contention I have with those who seek self-help, self-improvement, and even self-awareness is what or who is your plumb line? If I only grow and measure myself against myself, my awareness is nebulous and/or self-serving. If I grow and measure myself against others then I always succeed or always fail, and the measurements result in self-gratification or self-loathing. 

What are we to do? 

Theology, the study of the nature of God, is the answer. In the last 20 years, I've surrendered to the fact that knowing who God is enables me to know who I am. His grace to us tells us in his Word that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that he will complete the good work he started in us, and that he is transforming us into his very image. Whether we seek to know what this means or not, he will work in us because he is faithful and he doesn't break his promises. But, if the Creator of the universe is changing you into his image, don't you think it would help to know who he is? Hence, theology. 

Here's the truth, friends. I'm not an intellectual. But, I am a learner, child-like when I get excited about a new to me concept, and a reader (a slow reader, but a reader nonetheless.) I am not someone who can sit around and debate theology. Heck, I can't really debate anything. I feel deeply about God, life, and love. I can most certainly tell you what I believe and why I believe it. However, I continue to need help in learning deep truths about God in my head and heart. I've read quite a few theology books all the while weighing what I'm learning with scripture and talking them out with Chad and friends. 

Good theology books will be full of scripture, and not just one off verses to support their claims. I'm continually on the search for strong-willed, intelligent, fierce women who love God and his word. You all know I love Beth Moore. I recently finished Entrusted, her study on 2 Timothy and it blew my mind. If you choose to do this study, please, please go through the video teachings, too. Many of you also know mentoring relationships for women in Second Mile begin with Wendy Alsup's book Practical Theology for Women. (I have copies in my office if you'd like to buy one.) I read her blog regularly. The woman knows her Bible. 

A year or two ago, I discovered Jen Wilkin. She's quickly become a woman I respect and wish I could know personally. Two of her books were on my shelf for awhile, but my reading list was so long I never got to them. At my suggestion, Morgan, Carah, and their friend, Nevaeh, recently started reading None Like Him with their youth leader, Corrie. I wanted to know what they were reading and be able to discuss with them as they read, so I picked it up, too. Jen had me at the first sentence of the introduction: 

"If you had told me five years ago that I would one day write a book for Christian women that led off with a quote from Proverbs 31, I probably would have punched you in the face." 

Doesn't that sound like someone who could be my bestie?

In the book, Jen describes ten attributes that only belong to God and shows how we humans seek to mimic these attributes. I'm reading this book slowly, devotional style, so I can take it all in. As I read each chapter, my awe of who he is increases and my own conviction grows as I see how I try to put myself in his place. Do you want to truly know yourself? Then get to know God! Do you want to find comfort in his magnificence? Then know how to name these attributes and what they actually mean!

I had no idea how much I would love this book, but I certainly do. Also, it's super easy to read so that's a bonus. Jen takes deep concepts and writes about them in a way that isn't alienating and/or frustrating. This book is for everyone. Men, it's for you, too. I recently read a comment by a pastor who is taking his whole staff through it. Jen also had this to say about a different book she wrote, but it applies here, as well: "FAQ: "Is there a book like Women of the Word aimed at men?" Not that I'm aware, but the concepts aren't "pink". Just rip off the cover, bro." Wisdom and sass make me so happy. 

Do you need a fresh perspective on who God is and who you are in light of him? Do you need to freshen up your time with your mentee? Are you wanting a good summer read? Would you like to go through a good book with some friends or your community group? Are you curious because I keep telling you it's that good? I've got some good news for you! I believe in this book so much that I bought 20 of them. For eight bucks, you can pick one up this Sunday or make arrangements to stop by my office to pick one up during the week. (I'll order more when the time comes. I plan to keep these on hand.)
I would love for many of us to be mulling over these ten characteristics that only belong to our great God. It will deepen our faith which will deepen our conversations which will deepen our relationships which will deepen our church which will deepen our desire to talk about him to people who don't yet know him. Beautiful. 

To make things interesting I'm going to do a little giveaway. Leave a comment below with a chance to win a copy of this book AND a $30 gift card to Amazon. Obviously, if you win I don't want you to use the $30 on a new swimsuit or cardamom, but I can't control your purchases. Just remember, I love books. I can easily recommend ways for you to spend $30 on great books if you don't know where to start. Leave a comment and I'll choose a winner in a week or so. 

Let's spend the upcoming summer slowing down a bit, reading a good book or two, and getting to know God more and more so he can show us who we are in him. Self-awareness at it's finest.