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WHY Identity is important to Understand in the midst of a Pandemic…

  1. Why is identity important?

When the world goes through a pandemic that affects the economy, the culture and family life, our whole inner world will shake and in the shaking, our external validations of how we achieve approval and success may be shaken. Inherently at the heart of every human being the question arises: Am I GOOD ENOUGH?

Am I really good enough when I am faced with challenges that I have never had to face before?

Understanding your identity and the value you have, is essential to answering this question.

See, who I AM is NOT inherent upon what I DO.

I could lie here all day, every day and I would still be ME. I could completely self-isolate, distance myself physically and emotionally from any other human being and not stay connected in any way, shape or form… but if someone came along and shot me dead, they would still be accountable for murder. EVEN IF, I didn’t have one person come to my funeral, or grieve my loss– just because I have inherent value as a human being, the person that killed me would be held responsible for the crime of taking away my life- because I am valuable.

Why am I valuable? I am valuable and I have an identity because I was made by a Creator God who designed me so thoughtfully, that my very existence on this planet warrants my worth.

My ABILITIES and how I use them, on the other hand, are my RESPONSE to the environment into which I am placed. They are my responsibilities.

So imagine that in one of the hands I am holding up is your identity and in the other hand are your responsibilities 🙂

My ability to learn, to play, to relate, to observe, to listen, to create, to explore, to develop, to risk, to love, to believe- these are all hinged upon the choices I make in response to the opportunities around me. Whether or not I use my abilities for the benefit of others, the betterment of myself or the detriment of either one, is up to me. I have been given free will and I really get to decide the outcome of my own destiny.

Life is all about choices. It is estimated that we make, on average, 35,000 choices a day. Each choice has a consequence and each consequence has an affect on layers of platforms.

The problem comes when our decisions start to attach themselves to our identity. It’s so easy for our lives to be consumed by the things that have value in the society in which we live. For some societies, that’s education, for others it’s external beauty and fashion and trends, for others it’s social status or castes, for others it’s marital status, some offspring, others careers, material accumulation, real estate portfolio, stock market investments, emotional intelligence… the list could go on.

Whatever our society, or community or even close family place value on, often gets embedded into the idealism of what value we place on ourselves.

We think, if I have enough money, then I’m good enough. If I have an hour glass figure, I’m good enough. If I have the nicest car or the highest level of education, or the best marriage or the dream career, then I. Am. Good. Enough.

But all of these things are additions. When you were made as you and born into the world, your Creator made a statement.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good..”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27, 31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God didn’t say anything was very good up until that point. Every day He had spoken something new into existence but when He completes the process with a woman, He emphasises how good it all is. It’s good enough for Him to sit back and rest. He didn’t go on the next day trying to adapt or perfect what He had created the day before, so we have to assume it was good enough. And if it was good enough for God, it- humanity- YOU are Good Enough!

In that whole process, God created seasons and in different seasons of life, knowing your identity is about knowing that you are still the same. And the you that makes you you, is the you that God loves. His love for you is not conditional on what you do. The problem with attaching our identity to the things we do, is that in every season of life, we are often called to do different things. Different seasons demand different settings. Like the settings on your phone which are interchangeable for whatever environment you are in (flight mode or silent mode, having wifi on when you can pick it up or using data when you’re out and about), so are the settings in our life interchangeable as our environment changes.

Different seasons in life also affect the way we make choices. We can make choices as a child that would be so different to how we made them as an adult. There are a myriad of things that contribute to the way in which we make our choices. From family of origin dysfunction to hormonal changes, to sleep deprivation to dietary intake to mental wellness or social pressure or financial situation or spiritual misconceptions or deceptions… all of these external factors can play a major role in the choices we make- that’s why it’s so important to distinguish your identity- your being, from your choices- your doing.

In the next session I’ll talk about some of the consequences of meshing these two together.

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The Principle of Weaning

“I feel like I’m being weaned!” were the words that spilt out of my mouth like water from a waterfall.

Almost like that time I cried myself to sleep and went into my daughters room in the middle of the night to find her in a leg cramp that had her reeling in pain. I pressed her foot upward toward her shin while she fought against the pain and defaulted to a point position. While I was trying to encourage her that I knew what I was doing the words “JUST> TRUST> ME!” spilt out of my mouth- as if the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart through my own mouth in a night of confusion and despair.

Here I was again, speaking words that were more a message to get my attention from an Supernatural place. I started entertaining the thought that there was something more significant going on than just an initiating of a business in the birthplace of my re-entry back into the Western hospitality industry.

Feeling like I was being weaned, came about because my first job for my new business was situated in the very kitchen I had started serving two years earlier as a volunteer- the 7th of March 2017. It was a volunteer position that would eventually lead the way to the job that I had left to start my business. That date was significant yet it was not by choice but by “chance” (that someone happened to be having a bridal shower that day) that I ended up there two years later, self-employed with no guarantee of future income. Just a step out on a nudge that this was the right direction to go.

Weaning meant that I was still able to sit in the familiar, while trying to navigate the new. I was surrounded by people who made this transition safe and spaces that would accomodate my desire to know something by experience. It was all there for me, yet it was still a step away from where I was.

Have you ever felt like you were being weaned? Or like a season of transition was taking far longer than you anticipated?

I looked back over all my major life experiences and realised that there were plenty of examples where transitional periods took two years. From the time I met my children’s father to the time we were married was exactly two years. The time I stepped into a Baptist Church to the time I got up and walked at the invitation to know Jesus as my Saviour was two years. Same period of time filled the gap between the time I stepped into a Pentecostal church and attended their Baptism of the Spirit night. More recently, it was two years from the time we arrived in Sydney to stay with my mum that she decided she would move away to New Zealand- a lot more prematurely than I had expected but somehow in sync with this new revelation.

I asked the Lord what the significance was and He reminded me that two years was the period of time a Hebrew mother would nurse her infant before they were weaned. Once the child had been attached to the breast for that period, the weaning would introduce them to real food so that by the time they were three or four, they could stand on their own. This was a celebrated occasion as the child would pass the most crucial phase of their formation.

Breastfeeding mothers can all attest to the fact that weaning is not an easy process. Unless your baby is introduced to a bottle from an early stage of their development, pulling them away from the skin of their mother and replacing that with a plastic device, a cup or spoon, requires persistence and a strong resolve! There’s something about the familiarity of a mother’s breast that fastens that baby to the soothing source of nourishment and comfort. Who would want to leave that kind of provision?!

Photo by willsantt on Pexels.com

Many mothers give up – delaying the process for years- exposing their breasts to the world as their toddler starts demanding milk on tap at any given time of day and at any location. They give up the temporary pain of hearing their child cry for the long term agony of having a child dependant on their body.

But weaning is necessary for the growth and development of any child. It’s also an important discipline for the mother as she establishes a life long pattern of letting the boundary lines between her and her baby grow further and further apart. Children develop into adults and adults need to understand the value of responsibility and honour.

In life, we go through certain stages within the seasons of our existence, where infancy comes back into play. Infancy defined as the early stage of growth or development of something. Whether it is starting a new job, going to a new country, getting into a new relationship, or starting a new business. Each new thing that comes into your life, will often feel overwhelming and create within you a sense of anxiety as you feel the pulling away of the way it used to be. The effects of change and transition can have you feeling edgy, (not knowing what the future holds) anxious and feeling disengaged. But all of these feelings are a natural consequence of weaning.

The Psalmist in this passage seemed to have mastered this transitional phase- perhaps his state of contentment in the present and the small tasks of daily life had something to do with it…

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.
Psalm 131:1-2

Contentment is a state of mind that often leaves us singing the Psalm of David, The Lord is my Shepherd, I LACK NOTHING. Clinging to a form of outward supply, can overwhelm our hearts to a point where we lack the awareness of our Inner supply. But once we have been weaned off the external suppliers, we can solemnly say, we lack nothing. There is a breaking away from our dependance on knowing, on concerning ourselves with things that are too big for our human minds to comprehend, and an aligning of souls with the One who knows our inmost being.

I have been going through this journey over the last year of being weaned off outward suppliers…suppliers of emotional and psychological support, financial income, spiritual scaffolding, but in the process have learnt to have this inner calm and a quietened spirit. I have learnt to be content with what I have, and that wasn’t always easy and it definitely wasn’t natural. It was a spiritual awakening that took incremental steps to evoke within me this sense of completeness.

It came to a point where I had to get down on my face in my bedroom and confess my discontentment and understand my place in Him. That in Him, all that I have within me is enough.

I am enough.

So I can be content.

He holds me now.

And with that, I can grow at another level.

Be warned, you will be weaned, but you’re going to be okay. The fact that you are leaving the old, means that you are stronger now. You are in another zone, achieving new heights of being and creating new levels on which your life can exist upon. Remember- What you have within you, is all you ever need. xx

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Into the Garden – Book Pre-Release

“Its not just me.”

That was the response of Selam, one of the women who had come out of the commercial sex industry into our rehabilitation home, as I shared my testimony in a group meeting one morning in Ethiopia. Even though my story was far removed from their stories of brokenness, it was still a story of brokenness. Something that is broken has no measure of HOW broken it is. If its broken, its broken.

We are all broken. And if my story of brokenness, shared on the pages of this book, resonates with someone, it was worth it.

If my being vulnerable and open allows someone to share their story so that they can find healing too, my reward is received.

If an illustration I used speaks into the life of one individual so that they see that there is hope beyond the struggle, then my goal is achieved.

Its time.

April 2019 is the time to let you all Into the Garden…

I’m opening it up and hoping that you will join me on the journey of restoration that God so beautifully displays in the Garden.

We were created for The Garden. The Garden of Eden was the perfect plan God had for humanity but we were displaced from there because someone ate some fruit! *insert face plant emoji* Yet somewhere in the depths of our being, our heart longs to return.

Actually, that fruit had power that God knew we couldn’t handle. He knew it would kill us because our minds and heart would start bearing the burden of things we were never meant to carry. We end up boxing ourselves into confined spaces that keep us from flourishing and being all that He wanted us to be.

This book invites you into the journey of discovering that journey of the Garden. I share my life story so that people can connect their stories and know that there is hope that goes beyond their current circumstances. I write it to encourage people who may feel like they’re not growing, not flourishing and not being all that they were created to be. My prayer is that what God shared with me as I wrote this book, will break you out of your current situation and launch you into your destiny.

In her first published book, New Zealand author, Michelle Zombos, compels the reader to live outside the comfort zones of their existence. In that place (portrayed in this book as the Garden), restoration is able to take place. As the undoing of the “known” makes way for the unveiling of your best self, a new identity is formed. If you have been through situations where abuse, addiction, poverty mindsets or cultural expectations have tried to keep you bound, this book will help to set you free. Through her story of healing and freedom, Michelle hopes to inspire each one of you to live out your best life and break the chains of whatever has held you back!

If you purchase before March 20th, you’ll get the first chapter emailed to you! Subscribe to my blog so we can keep you updated on the actual launch date!

Lots of Love, Michelle
.


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The January’s and February’s of our Healing Heart

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When the first of February rolls around and you’re looking back on the year so far, perhaps like me, things haven’t turned out as you planned. Maybe you’ve messed up a New Years resoluttion, or failed to reach a monthly target. Hard times may have deflated the zeal you stepped into this new year with or maybe a streak you were on got missed for a day.. or two.

Well there’s good news. Every January is followed by a February. (At leasr in the Gregoria calendar- in Ethiopia they have 12 thirty day months and one 5 day month. But we have the luxury of a mixed set of days for each month we face.)

Why is this a luxury, you ask? Because when you’ve done a long 31 day month, a 28 day one doesn’t seem so bad. The month is cut shorter this time around, making it bite sized and easier to digest.

Recently I went to a circuit class at the gym and it consisted of three rounds of ten stations. The first round was a minute and a half, the second was just a minute and the third was thirty seconds. The first round seemed so long! My body was adjusting to the new demands I was putting on it and my mind was about ready to tap out.

The second round wasn’t so bad as now I knew what I was doing and there wasn’t as much thought put into it, but it still went on long enough to make me want to give up!

The third round was easy! In fact, in the third round I was actually starting to enjoy it and felt like I could go another round at that 30 second rate.

And I thought about how this applies to life:

Life is hard. No one said it was easy and no one promises there won’t be pain. There will always be pain. But somehow we manage to push through the pain and our lives are adjusted to take on the next round with a little more ease.

As life continues to progress, and you find Your Trainer who hovers over you and motivates you to keep pushing through, your focus starts to shift. You start to see the benefits of what you’ve been through- even if it was ugly and traumatic, something good will come out of it.

Relationships are formed that would never have been formed if you didn’t go through that thing, or a career move may have been initiated because you were forced out of a position, or maybe you just started taking better care of your health because your diagnosis made you aware that it was more of a priority than you thought.

While change is uncomfortable and difficult, there’s always a point that you get to where you start to gain momentum and find your flow. Things start to become a bit easier and not take so long anymore. Then you actually find yourself enjoying that thing you used to loathe and you feel like you could go another round.

So it is with the January’s and February’s of our healing heart. Maybe you had some work done on a layer of your heart in January and it was hard and took longer than you expected. My encouragement is this:

Because of what you learned in January, your February will be shorter. The next lesson you have to learn won’t take so long. Though you feel like you have to start all over again, you’re already one step ahead of your game. You did the hard work. You broke some ground. Now you’ve just got to till it. Now comes the sowing and then will come the reaping. Coz guess what? January is coming around again next year.

Let’s pray.

Father God, we thank you that you heal our hearts and that you do it in layers. Thank you for your kindness and your mercy and your grace. Help me to be kind to myself in this journey of not yet and still becoming. Help me to remember that things will get easier and they won’t take so long next time because you have already built in me what I need from the lessons I learned last time. Bless me with a greater wisdom as I learn from my past and help me to pursue You when I’m not sure if I can get through. You are the greatest Teacher and Trainer of all. I love you Lord. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

This is the last devotional in my series

m/https://michellezombos.com/when-you-give-jesus-your-broken-heart/

If you would like to follow me, subscribe to my posts as I continue to share more of what God is doing in my life or what I believe He wants to do in yours. Bless you

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He’s on Your Side when You’re on His

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Romans 8 is a great chapter in the Bible when it comes to being reminded that Jesus is in your corner. He loves you, He’s for you and He is working on your behalf, are the messages that are woven through this literary piece.

But you’re not in Rome and you’re not convinced that this is for you. Maybe? Perhaps the circumstances around you indicate that God is working against you because nothing seems to be going your way!

Well guess what? Your way, isn’t always the best way. His way is. Always.

““As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sounds like some hard truth but it is buffered by some “ridiculous grace” as Tauren Wells would say. The beautiful grace message is that even though our ways aren’t being activated, the result of His ways are always life giving, surprising and amazing.

Rest in knowing that what’s happening around you is not because God is against you but it’s because He is FOR you! He’s working it all out for your good! You might not understand what’s going on right now, but trust me, when you see the bigger picture, you’ll be glad you let Him have His way. He’s so trustworthy.

Let’s pray

Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are on our side. Thank you that even though I can’t fully comprehend all that’s going on right now, I can trust that you do. Please help me to focus on You in this season and not on the circumstances around me. Allow me to know your grace for me in this season as I continue to submit to you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen