Who Are You?
7 Yes, you who trust Him recognize the honor God has given Him. But for those who reject Him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”8 And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
1 Peter 2:7-10 NLT
Several years ago, while singing at church, I had someone tell me the Lord kept saying “promotion.” I had no idea what that could mean as I was in a job that did not afford promotion. Since then, we have moved to Savannah out of faith and planted a church and I instantly went from a youth pastor’s wife to a lead pastor’s wife, church planter, worship leader, and the organizer that makes everything happen every weekend. On top of working full time and raising my three amazing kids.
On May 11, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I was let go from my busy job after almost 7 years. What was I to do other than trust my heavenly Father? Afterall, He has faithfully seen me through the good and the bad… My husband’s deployment to Iraq in 2002; My mom’s massive heart attack and sudden death the same day as the deployment, or when we knew we were supposed to move to Savannah to plant a church and had nowhere to live until 11:00 PM the night before we began moving! So, I began seeking Him in that same stillness I had found when we moved to Savannah, and He began speaking to me about my “promotion” and my “identity.”
When asked “Who are you?” one would normally respond with their name. Names are comprised of different elements that create the overall meaning of your name. I looked up my birth name before I was adopted and was quite surprised at the meaning! Shana means “Lily,” “Beautiful,” Or “God Is Gracious.” Michelle means “Who is like God.” Johnson is a surname that means “son of John.” Quite honestly, I had never identified with any of these meanings of my name, as I have struggled in the past with low self-esteem. But in that moment, I felt like God was speaking to me to show me who He sees me as. God has been known to change names, such as Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5) means “Father of a multitude or Father of nations” Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:15) “Princess of a multitude or Mother of nations” and Simon to Peter. Jesus said, “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18 NLT). God can give us a new identity when we are ready for it.
Our surname can change such as in marriage or adoption. I have experienced both! Just a little history on surnames. Surnames (last names) began in the Middle Ages when villages began growing, as a way to differentiate among people with the same first names. Early last names were often linked to occupations, geographical features (such as where your home was in the village), a nickname, physical feature, or even a combination of the mother’s and father’s name.
Someone might also identify from a nickname. My son’s name is Liam and we used to call him Lili and my sisters still call him that. Sometimes situations can leave you with a nickname whether you like it or not. There is a great movie called “Radio,” a true story based on the life of James Robert Kennedy. James was in a car accident at the age of 5 and experienced a brain injury that left him mentally as his 5-year-old self. He was fascinated with radios and pushed a cart around town which held a transistor radio: therefore, people in his hometown just called him Radio.
Now we know who we call ourselves, but who does God say we are? We often identify ourselves as quite the opposite of who He identifies us as. In the scripture above, 1 Peter 7-10, we see that those who reject Him stumble because they do not obey Him. We also see that we are not those people; We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, God’s very own possession, who once had no identity, however, now belong to God and receive His mercy. We are called to show others the goodness of God because He called us out of darkness into His wonderful light! This means you no longer identify with the things of your past that you may be carrying around because He has called you out of that darkness. What have you labeled yourself in your storms, attacks, or battles? It is time to throw those identities away because that is not who the Father sees you as. God is restoring you and giving you a new identity. It is time for freedom, healing, and deliverance.
The Father doesn’t see you as weird, He sees you as unique (Ps 139:13); Not hated but loved (Jeremiah 31:3); Not trash but God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10); Not nothing but created with purpose (Jeremiah 29:11); Not neglected but cared for (Ephesians 3:17-19); Not ignored but chosen (1 Peter 2:9); Not blamed but forgiven (Psalm 103:12/Ephesians 1:7); Not a sinner but a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17): Not attacked but protected (Psalm 121); Not powerless but empowered (Philippians 4:13); Not alone but family (Ephesians 2:19); Not an orphan but adopted (Galatians 4:4-5); Not don’t belong but a member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27); Not fatherless but a child of God (John 1:12); Not rejected but accepted (Romans 15:7); Not dead but alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5); Not stressed but peaceful (Isaiah 54:14); Not lost but redeemed (Colossians 1:13-14); Not condemned but free (John 8:36/ Romans 8:1-12); And not stuck but a work in progress (Philippians 1:6).
We must be Spirit-minded and not allow the enemy to define us. The enemy’s plan is to steal, kill and destroy! He isolates us causing feelings of heaviness, guilt, shame, and thoughts of darkness. When you allow those thoughts to define you, you have lost the concept of what the Father is doing. The enemy will try to use your past to define you, but your past and the enemy does not have that authority! The Father has the power to change our destiny, our names, and our situations. He just wants us to trust Him!
In my stillness, the Father told me my new identity… A promotion. I have identified myself as a worrier for a long time. It has been a family curse that has carried on for generations. However, He has changed my identity from that of a worrier to a warrior. I am still learning what that means. However, I have faced many battles and have won with my Lord at my side.
I would like to give to each of you two challenges. The first is easy. I would like everyone to listen to the song “Wonderfully Made” by Elle Holcombe (preferably on YouTube). I promise it will bless you! The second is to find a white stone or rock. Revelation 2:17 NLT reads “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in Heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”I challenge you to place the stone somewhere it can be seen daily as a reminder to seek the Father first and to see who He has identified you as in this season. Times are changing very quickly, and we need to know where our place is so we can go out and show others the love of Christ. If we are still carrying around old identities that are hindering our walk with the Lord, we will not be able to truly be the light in the darkness and show others the goodness of God. Let’s trust and obey Him so that we may not stumble but be victorious!
Shana Day has been serving alongside her husband, Waylon Day, as Lead Pastors and church planters of RainFire Church in Savannah, GA for the last three years with the official launch in January 2019 as well as serving as youth pastors at Bainbridge Church of God for five years prior. The Day’s have three amazing and gifted children, Haylon Day, Liam Day, and Ivy Day. Shana has been an Occupational Therapy Assistant for the last eight years and sees this as a wonderful way to serve others as well as supporting the family at the same time. She loves cooking, serving others and her family in many ways, and worshiping the Father through song as the worship leader of RainFire Church.