I’m getting kind of excited about next month. You see, I get to facilitate an online group that will be going through an amazing book in an experimental study through my church, The Refinery. The book is I Am: A 60-day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because Of Who He Is by Michele Cushatt.
Now, admittedly, I am a hard sell when it comes to women’s bible studies. So often I have picked up a book, excited by the title or the premise, only to be disappointed by the dearth of depth or lack of acknowledgement in the realities we struggle with in our broken world. I’ve become a little gun-shy when it comes to Christian “self-help” or study books that promise any answers to the kinds of things I encounter on a day to day basis. My world is complex. My issues run deep. Pat solutions, airy clichés and carefree (and, dare I say, careless) remedies don’t connect with me. If anything, they frustrate me.
So, why this book? What makes this different?
Here’s the thing. This past December I turned 49 (my heart drops just typing that number). I just don’t feel ready to BE in my fifties. As I look back over my 40’s (ugh… I sound old, don’t I?), I feel like I have finally just started learning who I truly am. I think I’ve had glimpses and hints throughout the years. But it’s only been the last decade where my identity has become clearer to me. And, when I picked up this book last year, it catapulted me even further in my journey to realizing who I am in God.
Michele Cushatt is the real deal. She has been through it. She has been divorced, a single mom, and, in the midst of a very successful speaking career, was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma of the tongue. Did you get that? The tongue! What followed was months of doctor appointments and a painful surgery where they removed a portion of her tongue. But then it came back. Then it came back again. It was relentless. She lost two-thirds of her tongue including function and the ability to taste and was scarred severely by repeated interventions and operations. As she said, she would “never look, speak, or eat the same again… if you had asked me five years before --- or even one year before---whether my identity and self-worth were based on my appearance, my talents, and my career, I would have said, ‘Absolutely not!’” But now she was faced with not knowing who she was or where to find the answer. She is transparent and authentic in pouring out her heart and what she learned when God showed her through his word that “Identity isn’t grounded in who we are; it’s grounded in who He (God) is.”
That sounds simple, doesn’t it? But she doesn’t pretend it is, because she knows.
And I know.
I’m a pastor’s kid. And, yes, the rumors are true. We can be the worst of the bunch.
I used to think I was like that old (geez… did I just say “old”?) song from 1980, “Looking For Love (In All The Wrong Places)”. But as I was getting ready for this study it occurred to me that it wasn’t necessarily love that I was looking for. It was my identity. I consistently sought out and yearned for the approval of others (primarily those in positions of power or influence). I performed (both literally and figuratively) for the applause of others. I took every “quiz” and personality assessment known to man (FYI: I am a pear-shaped, Fall, ENFJ, Choleric/Sanguine, Enneagram Social 8 with a 7 wing). I have been all about self-knowledge. And those assessments provided a lot of insight into my personality, but they didn’t give me a solid foundation for my identity.
Why? Because: Identity isn’t grounded in who we are; it’s grounded in who He is.
I invite you this February to join me in this excursion into truth. I can’t promise it will be easy. The greatest change and insight come when we are pushed beyond our comfort zones. What I can promise is that you will not be alone. We will travel this road together.
Here are the details: You will need to purchase a copy (digital or hard copy) of I Am: A 60-day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because Of Who He Is by Michele Cushatt. We will be carrying out the bulk of the study online in a private Facebook group. You can click on the link below to join OR you can search for “The Refinery – I Am Online Experience” in the Facebook search bar. This study is open to any woman over the age of 18. Although you will have the option on three separate occasions to meet with us in person, you do NOT have to be local. Our goal is to make this a study you can work through with friends and family anywhere there is internet access. Invite them to join you! This is great for any woman with a schedule or life circumstances that would make an in-person study difficult. We will be kicking off the study on February 3rd but make sure to join the group before then as we will have some connecting time in the couple weeks leading up.
I am so excited to have this opportunity to grow with you and share with you! Please feel free to message me with any questions. Let’s go!
- Starts February 3, 2018
- Study takes place online in private Facebook group
- Any woman over 18 can participate
- You will need a copy of the book
- In-person meet ups for local participants
- Saturday, Feb. 3 @ 10 am
- Saturday, Feb. 24 @ 10 am
- Saturday, March 10 @ 10 am
- Follow link to join Facebook Group