Have you ever known who you are? Like really known and then been ok with to the point of celebrating that knowledge?
I came away from Focus Leadership Institute this fall more sure of myself and who I was in the Lord than I have ever been in my life. It was a holy confidence with a byproduct of peace that emanated from every fiber of my being. I knew who was in the Lord. I knew what He had done for me and in me – because I had SEEN I AM. I spent time in His presence where the description goes beyond words. I was beginning to know and see the person He made me to be. I didn’t know where life was going to take me, but I knew the God that would take me through it.
That was 100 long days ago.
Somewhere during the last few months the peace in my heart began to erode away. I was a very changed person walking in the shoes of my old life – same apartment, same job, same church and same circle of friends. Nothing there had changed and yet I had. I didn’t see life the same way anymore.
Have you seen I AM? The Lion of Judah?
The way in which the Lord met me in Colorado shook me to the core because I saw aspects of His character that I came to know and love in the Lion. C.S. Lewis called him Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia. Like Eustace of those stories, Aslan stripped a lot of layers off of me. It was painful. It was real. It was worth it! As the layers of Katie fell off, I was left with nothing but the raw realness of who He made me to be. I understood in a tangible way that His thoughts were higher than mine, that His words were deeper than mine and His love was stronger than mine. It is no sacrifice to serve Him!
Yes it is painful to be stripped bare and laid broken – but the true healing on the other side and the understanding of more of who He is – nothing compares to that. What thing in this life with any great worth is easy? The beautiful thing with brokenness is that when we are broken the only thing that remains is Him.
Jonathan Helser wrote a song that best describes this time of my life:
I looked into the eyes of a lion
Felt the courage in his gaze
I heard him roar my name with passion
As I buried my tears in his mane
I looked into the eyes of a lamb
I saw love face to face
I felt grace destroy my sin
As mercy flowed from his veins
I’ve seen I AM, now I know that I am loved
I’ve seen I AM, now I know who I am
I knew who I was because I knew HIM. I saw I AM. I didn’t define my life. He did. The only problem is every day since I have been back to NY I wake up longing to see the Lion. I have searched for Him, wept with longing to know Him in that way again. Do I know why He has been hiding in the shadows? No. But I trust Him still.
The thing with seeing I AM is you can never go back. You know that you know that you know that He is real. And once you have let Him strip the layers away, a casual relationship with Him is a useless waste of time. There is no room in life for complacency or mediocrity. Five minutes of scripture and prayer in the morning doesn’t cut it. Every fiber of your being longs for Him with such intensity that nothing else matters.
Several weeks ago I went to NYC and took a picture with the Statue of Liberty. Walking down a grey street in Manhattan on the way home a verse from Galatians 5 went through my head about liberty: “It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm therefore…” Was this why I hadn’t seen I AM? Was I letting those layers build back up? Hiding the real, raw me? Had I let the familiar surroundings of my old life choke out the new me? I had. It was in that moment on 42nd street I felt the Lion’s presence. I went back into the hotel and wept. He hadn’t stayed in Colorado while I had moved on. He was with me.
I don’t know how often I will feel His presence that deeply in my life. But I will look, wait and long for it. If it means being broken – then I will be broken. If it means that will be restless until I rest in Him, I’m ok with that too. This agony in hungering for Him is worth the taste of His presence. The more I long to see Him the more I realize how much more there is to see!
Rich Mullins wrote “If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You will see me through… If I weep let it be as a man longing for his home.” I weep longing for my home. When you encounter I AM this way it is hard to describe. You can’t fully put it into words; the work is too deep. But I can say I want to go home, and I want you to come with me. If you don’t long for home, don’t know who you are, or haven’t seen I AM – please ask the Lion to reveal Himself to you.
“Is He a tame Lion?”
“No, but He is good.”
“Your real, new self…. will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him” C.S. Lewis