The past few weeks during Beat the Drum and outreach have been sort of like starting an excavation project. God has been shifting my center of identity. As I discover what it means to center my identity in being His beloved, He is slowly revealing different facets of what that looks like.
For most of my life, I have grounded my identity in what I do: academic success, musical performance, the quality of my character. Finding the center of my identity as God’s beloved completely shifts the focus of my identity from doing to being. What I achieve and how I act are still part of me, but they should not be the definition of who I am or of my worth. Throughout Beat the Drum and outreach, I have been exploring what this new identity entails.
During Beat the Drum, I ironically learned about what it means to live in God’s grace in the midst of judgment. Whether the judgment was actually there or just perceived, God taught me that as His beloved, I should not compare myself to others or let them pull me into comparison. As people shared their stories, it was amazing to see how vast God’s grace is. While I feel the grace God has shown me, my story is not nearly as drastic or impressive-sounding as those of many of the people who shared. I also had people come up to me and criticize the way I pray and walk with God. Throughout all of this, God encouraged me to lean into Him and trust that my relationship with Him is personal and does not need to look like others’.
It was also amazing to get to work with the girls at the high school. I have always loved working with teens, but getting to talk with these girls in this setting reminded me that I do not have to wait to be a teacher to interact with teens. While reading Henri Nouwen’s book, Life of the Beloved, he writes about how as we discover our own belovedness, we long to reveal to other people their own belovedness. Hearing about the deep brokenness in these girls’ lives made me long for them to see themselves as God sees them, not as they are told to see themselves by media and peers. No matter what I do after I graduate university, I want to be more intentional with taking time to mentor girls who are younger than me, possibly before finishing university as well.
After the noise and people and activities of Beat the Drum, going to Lesotho was a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally. Hiking in the mountains with a fresh winter breeze and looking out over the village made room for long-awaited peace. While Beat the Drum helped me lean into God in the midst of tension, Lesotho gave me to space to fall before Him. While we were busy in the community during the day, it was a blessing to be able to go out at dusk and speak with God one on one in the silence (Kayla, thanks for letting me use your wool blanket).
In the fresh air and silence, God revealed to me many ways in which I still need to surrender. Clinging to control is so pervasive in my personality and my past, I needed time and space to finally listen to God reveal the deep brokenness that He says it is time to heal. As the summer/winter continues, I look forward to seeing how God will continue to challenge my views of Him and of myself and pull me deeper into my identity as His beloved.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Baldwin • 2016 International Immersion Intern