“And God said unto Mo’ses, I AM THAT I AM . . . .” Exodus 3:14 (KJV)
I sit at my desk, pondering the single most important lesson I have learned in my years of ministry. Wondering what to share with you that will help you navigate life’s sometimes tumultuous seas. I recognize that my message is the same as Oprah Winfrey’s, who, after a quarter of a century and 25 years of tireless service, shared this inspirational and timeless message of farewell — “Be Who You Are — Right Now.”
As a native of Baltimore, Maryland, I remember the original Oprah, the “authentic Oprah” the Oprah fresh out of Alabama with no perks or props. The Oprah without pretense or fanfare. So I was particularly inspired as I watched her grace the stage of her life’s work for the last time. I thought again about what I already knew, God truly does use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. What a great 25 years!! She looked tastefully elegant in a simple pink dress and someone also realizing her transformation through the years asked her the secret to her new-found beauty and without a second thought and in true Oprah fashion, she replied, “MAKEUP.” Yes makeup, we all wear it in some form or fashion to cover our imperfections and scars. We also wear masks that hide us behind our professions, our roles, our relationships and even our gifts.
It seems the world has become a stage where we have become chronic “doers,” only measuring our lives in terms of what we do. But Author Kirk Byron Jones in his book, “Rest in the Storm,” challenges us to emphasize who we are and not what we do. He reminds us that our value to God comes not from what we do for God, but in what we are to God. Our being–not our doing glorifies God’s Name. I love the way musical legend, Miles Davis put it, “We are not what we do. We do what we are.” Writer Jones calls it owning our “amness.” Discovering who are we apart from our gifts allows us to find worthiness apart from our works and to see ourselves as God sees us.
My true “aha” moment came when I remembered before I was a minister, a pastor, a teacher, a spouse, a parent, a relative, and a friend — I was a child of God, a person whom God never ceased to love unconditionally. I am more than a role or a relationship. I was created for a great purpose. Beneath the makeup and beyond the mask is a core “me-ness” — an essence imprinted with God’s unique fingerprint. I am not that complicated — I am simply a godly woman of God who daily affirms with Apostle Paul, “. . . He which hath begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Je’sus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 (KJV))
Before God calls us to “do,” God calls us to “be.” For me, William Shakespeare’s query, “To Be or not to Be?” is not the question, but the answer to our destinies! The greatest lesson I have learned is to “Be” authentic and to be genuine. To “Be” honest and true to myself and to the God who made me. “Be” Who You Are called by God’s Grace to “Be.” For you were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. No more masks — no more makeup — simply “BE” all that you are — to the Glory of God!