Something that I have been pondering lately is my identity. Well, I guess I have been pondering that all of my life, but lately I have been focusing on the changes I have experienced in perspective. Who Niki thought she was before becoming a Christian and who Niki thinks she is now, after experiencing the Father’s love, is so drastically different. Astoundingly different. Polar opposites, even. My worldly view of myself was so… depressing. I thought that if I could just DO enough, then maybe I could BE enough. I operated out of the mindset of “if I do, I will be”. If I work really hard, I will be successful and financially stable. If I practice a lot, I will be better at the guitar. Yes, those are absolutely true. When I practice, I AM better at the guitar. When I work really hard, I AM successful (and someday I will hopefully be at least somewhat financially stable… ahem…). But what does that tell me about who I am as Niki? When what I do becomes my definition of myself, I run into problems.
That “do enough to be enough” mindset became so bad that I gave up on a lot of things; one being music. All throughout high school I was in band (yes… I was a band nerd). I played the oboe, and I was really good. I worked really hard so I could keep the glory and the solos of the first chair. When I graduated high school, I joined a youth symphony because I thought I wanted to pursue a career as a performer on the oboe. But the symphony was full of prodigies; I wasn’t first chair anymore, and as much as I practiced I just couldn’t get better than the other guy (who was much younger than me, might I add…). So, I quit. I stopped playing guitar, I quit the oboe, and I didn’t really sing a whole lot after that. I was so crippled by fear of the idea that I was not doing enough so that I could be enough, that I just quit trying altogether. About a year and a half ago I went to a conference with some folks from New Day. I was listening to a worship pastor speak and it was like he was speaking right to me. He basically said that there will always be someone better than you, but you can’t let that stop you. He broke off those ungodly beliefs… the fear of rejection, the fear of man, all of that unwanted baggage, and he called out who we were as worshippers, who God created us to be. When we returned from that conference, I started running hard after my love of music. Within a matter of months, I was playing guitar for our worship team. Not long after that I started leading worship for different church events. I quit thinking of myself as not as good as so and so and began thinking of myself the way God thinks of me. I am His beloved daughter, with whom He is well pleased. I also had to humble myself and work hard at being ok with not being the best (being humbled is not very much fun…).
You see, if all you think you are is wrapped up in what you do (I am a business man, I am a this and a that…), you miss who you REALLY are. I thought of myself as Niki who did this and that and it lead to a fear so great that it kept me from one of my biggest passions. After going through the teachings about the Father’s love, I realize that who I am has nothing to do with what I do. I am a daughter of the King of Kings. I am a princess, a co-heir with Christ. I was created to BE a daughter. I was created to BE a worshipper. I realize now that I was thinking about it all wrong for the longest time. I don’t DO those things because I want to BE those things… I was created to BE those things, so I DO those things.
The freedom from that is pretty awesome.
Niki Thomas is a 22 year old nursing major at Charleston Southern University. She is a graduate of the New Day Community Church School of the Heart, a member of the worship team and is actively involved with our youth. You can follow her personal blog at hucksterthoughts.blogspot.com