Have you ever had an April Fools joke pulled on you before?
I mean, a really good one. Where you were all in and totally believing and then… the truth came out.
You didn’t win an all-expense paid vacation to the Bahamas. Your work computer didn’t mysteriously burn to ashes overnight. Your mom didn’t get a belly-button piercing.
And you have that sigh, like, oh man. You totally had me going; I was wrong the whole time.
I feel like in the past week or so I’ve had that feeling, that I now understand a truth that I somehow got confused for so long. This new understanding has set me free.
And that truth is in the power of names. What I’ve been called. What I’ve called myself.
I have unearthed some names that I have been called. Names that I chose to allow to hurt me. Names that sent me for an emotional roller coaster of despair and insecurity.
Names like, you are worthless.
You are stupid.
You are inconsiderate.
You are unloving.
You are ugly.
You are fat.
You are unattractive.
You are dumb.
You are pathetic.
You are a lazy bastard.
You are a bitch.
You are poor.
You are mediocre.
You are a loser.
And that’s not even counting the names that I have told myself again and again. Names like fearful, failure, inadequate, shallow, hopeless, lonely, weak, dirty, prideful, and deceitful.
That’s not me.
And I’m here to proclaim right now that no one can ever make me anything, including myself.
I am exactly what Christ says I am and I have a really righteous sense of I don’t care what you think about me.
Because me only caring what Christ thinks about me actually frees me to sacrifice myself for you. I love you too much to care what you call me.
Let me tell you who I really am.
I am Chosen.
I am Precious.
I am Loved.
I am Clean.
I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Created.
I am Beautiful.
I am Bold.
I am Worthy.
I am Holy.
I am Without Fault.
I am Joyful.
I am Secure.
I am Victorious.
Because I’m in Christ. And if there is no condemnation, why would I repeat and believe that first list to myself as if it were truth? It’s not. ever. List 1= lies. List 2= truth.
We call it identity. And Ephesians Chapters 1-3 will turn your world upside-down if you read it aloud about yourself. Do it. Seriously.
I used to repeat List 1 so much to myself, including themes like guilty, ashamed, and broken. And I thought I was learning learning truth about myself and God by doing that.
Only problem is, if Jesus only calls me names from List 2, why would I exercise the arrogance to call myself a name that he believes is unworthy of me?
See, when I decided to allow my coworker’s comment to me about being a lazy bastard to injure me and control my emotions, I was actually agreeing with him and giving him power over me. Again, no one can ever make me anything unless I first give permission.
Things have changed. completely. I now see myself as the gift that God intended me to be. You see, when I was living under the lies of List 1, I couldn’t be a gift to anyone. Who gives dirty gifts like that?
However, now that I am living in the reality of who I really am, I’m free to gift myself away. My happiness and my cleanness and my security can be given to others in abundance. Because it’s a really good thing. And people find joy in good gifts.
Here’s where the tipping point for me was: recently, right when I was at the brink of grasping my identity, a friend referred to me as a World Changer. And that sealed it for me. I heard it proclaimed and affirmed by someone else. And you know what happened? I got to name a friend at church last night a World Changer, and I have a sneaky suspicion the domino effect is going to keep happening to others.
So here’s the final truth thought: the power of life and death is in your tongue. When you speak negative names to people, it’s not just being mean; it’s proclaiming lies. Please, don’t do that. Let’s proclaim truth. See past the brokenness and call out the potential. It could change someone’s life today.
Let’s start renaming.
Because you are not a lonely, insecure student; you are Renowned Royalty.
Because you are not a worthless parent; are you Loving and Compassionate.
Because you are not an adulteress; you are a Beautiful, Accepted Daughter.
Because you are not a porn addict; you are a Chosen, Invaluable Son.
Because you are not unwanted and lonely; you are Desirous and Complete.
So let’s upset this day and get real about who we really are.
And I’d say that’s a pretty good April Fools to boot.