Worthless, reject, loser, hopeless … the words played over and over in her head. She tried to ignore them but they had awakened something deep inside her. An overwhelming sense of inadequacy and despair washed over her. These were words she had heard many times before. She felt trapped by them. No matter how hard she tried to escape them they sat there deep inside like an anchor. They weighed heavily on her. The truth was, somewhere along the line she started to believe them.
Words have tremendous power. We can use them to call out the best and inspire strength. Alternately, we can use them to plant distortion, limitation and shroud others with a crippling sense of incapacity. Before Jesus was crucified and his disciples were tested he choose to call something out of them. He called out hope, restoration, purpose, identity and promise. His exact words were:
“…You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.”
“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil.” (John 15:15-16, The Message Bible)
Jesus removed the labels that limited and restricted. He uproots them and plants life. He secures what he seeds in their hearts and minds with a reminder. “You didn’t choose me, I chose you,” he said. These words remind them that there is no dependency on them. Who they were or what they did had no influence on his choice. Their identity was solely dependent on him. The fact is nothing they would or could ever do had the power to uproot what he established in them. He called them his friends. That declaration inspires awe, humility and deep gratitude.
What are you letting others call you? What identity have you adopted that is not your own? Let it go and let God’s declaration take root in your heart. He calls you chosen. He calls you friend.