Who do you think you are?

Melissa Jurik   -  

Are you familiar with this book? Because I am. Very familiar.
I vividly remember this book being extremely upsetting to me as a child.

Its the story of a baby bird who finds himself alone after hatching and decides to go looking for his mother.
The book is described as “a heartwarming and hilarious” classic…but in my opinion this author wrote a horror tale for children.
I found it so sad and scary! 
A small, helpless newborn finds himself homeless and alone. He then goes on a quest, asking literally everything –  from a cat to a backhoe –  if they are his mother.
He didn’t even know he was a bird!
How in all the world would he know who to look for, where he belonged? How would he be safe? Would he survive?
This is pretty traumatic literature for a 5 year old, right?
When I found this book in a pile given to me for my own kids, I was sure I would never subject them to such a disturbing story. But sure enough, though I don’t remember why or how,  we ended up reading it one night together. And not to over-react or anything –  but I was shocked and quite frankly appalled at their reaction.
My kids found this story hilarious!
Like, they were full-on belly laughing at this wee bird’s quest for his mother!
They found it ridiculous that the bird didn’t know he was a bird, and the absurdity of approaching a  machine for a parental test sent them into a fit of giggles.

I’m not sure what this says about them (I’m thinking heartless and cruel) or me (sensitive and caring and all around lovely),
but as I sat down to write and attempt to help us find some breakthrough in our lives, I realized that the real problem in this silly story wasn’t a missing mother,
but a baby bird didn’t know who he really was.
You see, when we don’t know who we are or when we believe things about ourselves that are untrue, it is sad, damaging and even dangerous.
But when we know the truth about who we are we can find joy, healing, safety and purpose.  So friends, lets do the hard, but so-worth-it-work, of finding breakthrough together this week.


Day 1
The Lie: You are what you do.

Before we read our scripture passage today, I’d like you to close your eyes.
Take 3-4 deep breaths and clear your mind of whatever it is you are worrying about today.
Now, imagine that you are going to a party (that you actually want to go to) where you won’t know many people.
Maybe its a big party – like a wedding or a graduation. Or maybe its smaller, more intimate – like a dinner party or baby shower.

And, at the last minute, you have to go alone (your spouse/friend/co-worker/typical wingman got covid at the last minute and couldn’t come).
But you are there.

Look around the room and notice the decor, and the food, the crowd. Take note of how you feel in that space.
As you look around, notice someone that you’ve wanted to meet or get to know better.
Who is it? It could be someone famous, or someone you knew when you were a kid and lost touch.

You notice that they are making their way towards you to chat.
How does that make you feel? Are you nervous? Excited? Afraid? Do you want to hide? Or are you walking towards them too?
And what do you say? What things do you mention to introduce yourself, describe yourself? What are you going to talk about?
Remember – there are no wrong answers here. Just write down whatever comes to mind so that you can refer to it later. 

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Luke 23: 32, 39-43

Here’s the thing – you may not think that you believe the lie that says “you are what you do”.
But as you went through our imagination exercise today, what words did  you use to introduce yourself?
And how did the prospect of chatting with someone you admire or want to be better friends with make you feel?
Clues from the exercise that you may be believing the lie that you are what you do are:

  • You feel intimidated meeting new people
  • You wanted to hide in the crowd when the person was coming towards you
  • You couldn’t think of anything to say 
  • You were bombarding the person with questions about them and avoiding talking about yourself

In our passages today, we are reminded of the truth: You are NOT what you do.
Because if what you did was the most important thing about you, then David – the untrained, uneducated, youngest brother from a backwater town, non-royal lineage shepherd boy –  wouldn’t have been chosen as the next King.
And the career criminal, sentenced to capital punishment, alone, ashamed co-crucified Thief wouldn’t have been welcomed and forgiven by Jesus.

You are NOT what you do.

There is power and freedom in renouncing the lies that we’ve been operating under.
So if this lie has had any power over you, pray with me (and so many others) out loud now:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I reject the lie that I am what I do.
Jesus, please reveal to me your truth to replace this lie that I believed.
(now stop, and just listen to what Jesus has to say to you)


Day 2
The Lie: You are what you achieve.

Read: Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1: 9-13, Luke 3:21-2 

This may seem strange, but I follow a couple on instagram named Pauline and Geoffrey Walker (@geoffreywalk),  a British couple who’ve been married since 1951. They live in a little village somewhere in England and their posts include proud displays of Pauline’s crocheting and Geoffrey’s scootering to the pub. Geoffrey, who is in his 90’s manages the account and uses his favourite hashtag #ilovethatgirl every time he posts a picture of his beloved Pauline.
There is literally nothing exciting or remarkable about this account.
They are not famous retired actors or politicians, or entrepreneurs. They haven’t received Nobel awards or invented anything or had bestsellers or led a church. Yet somehow they’ve amassed a following of over 300,000 people around the world. By all earthly measures they haven’t achieved anything of significance at all.
But I just adore them and even thinking of them makes me smile.

Perhaps these passages that we’ve read today are familiar to you.
And so you read them and think – why is she making me read the same story 3 times? Of course God loved Jesus – He was His son. Duh.

But in all three accounts God didn’t just affirm who Jesus was (His son) and His love for Him.
He also said that He was “well pleased with” Jesus.
Now – what did God have to be well pleased with?
The truth is, of the 3 gospel accounts you read today, only Luke tells us anything at all about Jesus’ early years.
And to be honest, its not the most flattering story (quick reminder: 12 year-old Jesus didn’t tell his Mom that he was hanging out at the synagogue and he missed the trip back to Nazareth with the gang…causing his parent to freak out.)
Because these gospel writers were biographers, we can assume then that there was nothing significant to note about Jesus prior to his baptism at 30.
In other words, he’d accomplished nothing.

Yet God opened the heavens, showed himself in the form of a dove and shouted to the world how pleased, how happy, how proud he was of his son. 

Here’s the thing – you may not think that you believe the lie that you are what you achieve.
But here are some clues that you might:

  • You are a social media observer, but you seldom if ever post anything about yourself
  • You feel embarrassed/ashamed of your job title in certain circles
  • You tend to exaggerate when you tell stories
  • You are self-deprecating when you tell stories 
  • You find yourself feeling bad about yourself when your friends/peers are celebrated
  • You can be defensive/judgemental towards others in your life stage

I have good news.
God was pleased with Jesus simply because Jesus was His son. Parents – you can kinda grasp this.
But do you realize that God is pleased with you for the very same reason?

Scripture tells us that we are God’s children. You are His son or daughter. And a co-heir with Jesus.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…
Romans 8:16-17

Eugene Petersen  summarized our parentage in the Message like this:

He’s (God)  the Father of …Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (MSG)

God is well pleased with you.
You are NOT what you achieve. 

There is power and freedom in renouncing the lies that we’ve been operating under.
So if this lie has had any power over you, pray with me (and so many others) out loud now:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I reject the lie that I am what I achieve.
Jesus, please reveal to me your truth to replace this lie that I believed.
(now stop, and just listen to what Jesus has to say to you)


Day 3
The Lie: You are Forgettable

I went to a Sr. Public School, which is a school for kids in grade 7 and 8. All the students were combined from 3 different feeder schools.
What a terrible idea.
The amount of hormones bouncing around those walls was overwhelming,  and then the “new kid” factor was heaped onto virtually all of us – it was no wonder most of us just wanted to blend into the wallpaper. I mean, if no one noticed you, you wouldn’t get mocked or teased or taunted.
It’s hard for an uncoordinated girl with an ungodly amount of freckles and an early growth-spurt (me!) to go unnoticed by the bullies.
And sure enough,  I had a nemesis – Krista G.
For some reason she hated me.
But the
way she hated me was the worst.
She pretended I was invisible.
She would say hello to all of my friends, except me.
She would invite all of my girlfriends over, except me.
It didn’t matter that they introduced  me to her multiple times. Or that we would find ourselves at some of the same events.
Each time we were in each other’s circle she treated it like it was the first time she’d ever even laid eyes on me.
I’d tell her my name, again.
She’d fake smile and look right through me. Again.
And each time I shrunk smaller, and smaller.
I avoided eye contact with her because I didn’t want to be rejected, again.
It was awful. (I’m sure she’s in jail now, right?)

But the worst thing about that was it made me believe the lie that I was forgettable. 

You may not think you believe that lie. Or maybe the lie is better stated “You are unimportant”. Or “You don’t matter”. Or “No one really cares about what you think”. But here are a few clues that you might:

  • You avoid places/people that are new or intimidating to you
  • You feel afraid to approach someone you haven’t seen in a long time 
  • You don’t share your opinion unless specifically asked
  • You dominate conversations and don’t ask for other people’s thoughts
  • You avoid feedback and dread work reviews, etc.
  • You find you can be easily offended
  • You can be a martyr
  • You over-apologize

Read: Luke 15

I just want to remind you that when you read these 3 parables, you are in this story.
But you are not the shepherd, or the woman, or the Father. Those roles are taken by Jesus. 

You, my friend,  are the lost sheep.
The lost coin. The lost son.

Have you ever thought how hard it would be to keep track of 100 sheep.
I mean, generally speaking, the sheep all look the same. 100 nearly identical livestock…it would be easy to miss one.
But that isn’t how Jesus sees us. He sees each one. We are not identical to him. Each one of us is unique, and valuable, important and loved.

And what does scripture say?

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one…”
In that same passage it says that when Jesus finds his lost sheep
“… he joyfully puts it on his shoulders…he calls his friends and neighbours together and says “rejoice with me’

Jesus rejoices over you, friends.
You are NOT forgettable. 

There is power and freedom in renouncing the lies that we’ve been operating under.
So if this lie has had any power over you, pray with me (and so many others) out loud now:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I reject the lie that I am forgettable.
Jesus, please reveal to me your truth to replace this lie that I believed.
(now stop, and just listen to what Jesus has to say to you)


Day 4
The lie: You are hopeless

Probably one of the most discouraging things about choosing to follow Jesus is that the longer you do it, the more you realize you are not “naturally” like him.
You are not naturally inclined to serve others, put others before yourself.
You are not naturally patient, or kind, or believing the best about others.
And worst of all, when some sin or temptation or lie that you thought you had overcome or renounced pops up again it feels devastating.
Like, what?!
Am I ever going to get past this?
And before you know it, you lose hope that you will ever find the freedom, the reconciliation, the wholeness you’re looking for. 

Maybe you don’t think you believe the lie that you are hopeless or a lost cause. But here are some clues that you might:

  • You don’t admit your temptations/failures to trusted people
  • You hide your mistakes, no matter how small
  • You are quick to point out other people’s sin or shortcomings
  • You can be judgemental or critical of others
  • You are defensive
  • You have low self-esteem and negative self-talk
  • You are reluctant to talk to God at all
  • You feel shame when you make a mistake, even when you shouldn’t
  • You anger easily

I have such good news friends!
Today, I just want you to sit and revel in the truth of scripture.

The apostle Paul summarized this problem so eloquently that you might just want to read the NIV version of this passage:
Romans 7:15-8:4

But I just love the way Eugene Petersen summarized it for the Message. 

I’ve included the passage below. Today, I’d love you to just read it through 2 times.

The first time, just read it slowly.
The second time, as you read underline/take note of anything that sticks out to you.

I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

Friends – do you see?
There is freedom, joy, reconciliation and peace in “simply embracing what the Spirit is doing in us.”

You are NOT hopeless.

There is power and freedom in renouncing the lies that we’ve been operating under.
So if this lie has had any power over you, pray with me (and so many others) out loud now:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I reject the lie that I am hopeless.
Jesus, please reveal to me your truth to replace this lie that I believed.
(now stop, and just listen to what Jesus has to say to you)

Day 5
No lie: You are His.

This has been hard work this week. Breakthrough is hard.
And really, we’ve only worked through 4 lies we can believe about ourselves. I could go on and on and on and …you get the idea.
But today – I just wanted you to revel in the truth of  who you are.
So here’s what I’d like you to do:

  1. Grab a cup of your favourite drink. Maybe it is coffee or hot chocolate or a double shot, no foam, extra hot, almond milk matcha latte with cinnamon (so I made that up. Is that a thing?).
  2. Get comfortable. If it was me, I’d get a blanket. 
  3. Get your headphones or speakers handy. 

Now: Read these truths and verses out loud.

    1. I am forever loved
      “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord”
      Romans 8:38-39
    2. I am strong
      “God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect”
      Psalm 18:32
    3. I am forgiven
      “I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus”
      1 John 2:12
    4.  I am a child of God’s
      God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure”
      Ephesians 1:5
    5. I am never alone.
      “…Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”
      Joshua 1:9
    6. I have a purpose
      For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
      Ephesians 2:10
    7. I have the Holy Spirit living in me
      “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”
      2 Timothy 1:7
    8. I am unique and purposefully created
      “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”
      Psalm 139:14
    9. I am new
       ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”
      2 Corinthians 5:17
    10. I am his
      “Do not fear. I have redeemed you. I have summoned you. You are mine”
      Isaiah 43:1

Finish by listening to a familiar song. Ideally, sing along (even if it isn’t pretty).
Claim this truth in your life. Live in that truth, dear friends. 

You. Are. His