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Remind Me Who I Am

June 29, 2011

Originally posted in The Rabbit Room)

My mother recently told me about a moving moment from the T.V. show “America’s Got Talent.” She told me about this eleven-year-old girl, small in stature and unassuming, who blew the celebrity judges away with her amazing performance and won their highest praise. Backstage, she was asked why this was such an exciting and emotional moment for her.

She replied, “Well, it’s that these amazing people think I’m good, too.”

To be highly regarded by somebody important to you: it’s heady and humbling at the same time. For a moment at least, it silences the voice of fear that is always making a case for our unworthiness. You feel seen. It can make a difference.

Today marks the release of the first radio single from my upcoming record, A Way To See In The Dark. The song is called “Remind Me Who I Am” and has an origin story that might interest Rabbit Roomers.

For the last few years my journey has circled around the idea of identity, where we find it, and why it matters. Our resident expert on the issue of identity here in the Rabbit Room is Ron Block, whose posts and comments are fragrant with the hope of the new creation alive and available to each of us. He knew something that I want to know, and so I wanted to talk with him.

It had been on my mind to give him a call for several months already when, sitting on a plane in Seattle one night in January, I watched him board. Not only is Ron a really kind and intelligent guy, but he also happens to be in one of the most accomplished bands in the world, Alison Krauss’s Union Station. Heck, he even made an appearance in one of my favorite movies: “Oh Brother Where Art Thou”. So when he spotted me, smiled, and said “I’m sitting by you!” I guess I felt a little like the girl from America’s Got Talent – “Ron Block wants to sit by me?” I thought to myself.

It all had the whiff of a divine appointment, and thanks to Southwest Airline’s open seating policy, Ron was soon seated next to me and for the next three hours I got an education that brought some clarity to my understanding of myself and the way the human heart works. Much of what inspired this song grew from that conversation.

The idea I absorbed in my formative years was that I sin because of my willful disobedience. And while that may be true in part, another truth is that most, if not all, of the time I really don’t want to sin, so that I do so seemingly against my own will. Or as the apostle Paul famously said, “I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway…” ( The Message)

So sin begins to look more like addiction than anything else, as though there is a ravenous hunger deep inside of me that demands to be fed. What is that hunger, I wonder?

Genesis chapter three tells us that one of the first consequences of sin entering the world is that the ground would be cursed, that we would eat by the sweat of our brow and the soil would produce weeds and thistles. This carries in it the idea of futility: that our efforts are frustrated, that no matter what we do, we feel it’s never enough – that perhaps we are never enough.

The constant, nagging fear that we don’t and never will measure up is like a pebble in our shoe that troubles every step of our journey. Surely this is the curse.

We can’t live under the oppression of inadequacy long before we start looking for ways to escape the shame and loneliness of it, and things go from bad to worse as we flee from the curse by running to things we hope will make us feel loved, desirable, and worthy.

We run to affairs. We surround ourselves with symbols of status that we hope will convince us of our worth. We escape into the fantasy world of pornography where for a moment we can imagine ourselves desired and wanted with no risk of rejection. We flee to workaholism determined to prove our value – our life and vocation shaped by a fear of failing. We hide in the bottle. We turn inward and refuse to risk disappointing those we love by withholding ourselves from them.

But of course all of these desperate grabs for significance leave us worse off than we were before — more empty, more ashamed, and with more regret.

If only we could learn to run to Christ, the one who calls us his beloved, his bride, the child that he chose to welcome into his family. We would hear him tell us that we are enough because he says so. We would hear him call us his treasure, and we would come alive.

There is that parable where Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God being like a man who, having found a treasure in a field, sold everything he had in order to buy the field and gain the treasure. I was always taught that I was the man in the story who needed to give up everything in order to “gain” the Kingdom of God. But our own Andrew Peterson pointed out to me years ago that in the other parables surrounding this one, the “man” in the story was always God. What if God cast himself as the man in this parable, too? Is he the one who gave everything he had in Jesus in order to recover us? Could it be that we are God’s treasure?

When I’m tempted by sin these days, I can feel beneath it a desire to feel worthy and loved. This desire tells me that I’ve forgotten who I am and need reminding. I’m learning to run to the only one who can tell me, the One who carved my name in the palm of his hand and gave everything he had so I could be his.

It is heady and humbling at the same time to be so highly regarded by one so worthy. It makes a difference.

Get “Remind Me Who I Am” instantly for free when you pre-order the full new record, A Way To See In The Dark, at www.jasongraymusic.com – available in standard and a deluxe edition with 8 bonus songs and a 32 page devotional booklet

“Remind Me Who I Am” is also available on iTunes! Here’s the link

Listen to the song here:

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2011 4:21 pm

    Wow. Never thought of turning that parable around. But I totally hear what you’re saying about the source of so many of our sins. Makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for yet ANOTHER great song. I see a new JG album in my future.

  2. June 30, 2011 9:46 pm

    That hit home. Thank you for writing this, Jason.

  3. July 11, 2011 10:21 pm

    Thank you Jason. This blog and this song explain exactly where I have been the last couple years. My heart has entered a season of breaking now, but in a good way.

  4. Lisa Potter permalink
    July 16, 2011 2:30 pm

    Hey Jason. To jog your memory I met you at a concert in St. Louis. Your sweet wife overheard me saying how much your music ministered to me and she wanted me to meet you. If you don’t know who I am yet, I am the older lady who she thought dressed young and cool. Love her for that!! I saw you again not too long ago in Marion…..And again, as I am traversing, quite possibly, the most difficult trial of my life….. God is using your music, your ministry as part of His plan to speak and transform my mind and my life. You see, Jason, my most treasured possession, my precious, beautiful, gifted, loving, kind, and talented daughter, Amber, is a heroine addict. For 3 years now she has been using needles and her life has been spiraling down out of control. And I have been powerless to stop it. Sunday morning, just before I was leaving for church, I got the call that she was in jail. And not just the local jail, but St. Claire County Jail in East St. Louis. This is a bad area to be in…….. Her bail is $4,200 and even if it was $200, unless there was a rehab facility she could enter, I can’t bail her out. At first, I was hysterical. Literally crying so hard and I was so afraid, I thought I could not survive. I could not get to the place where my heart could take refuge in believing God knows where she is, He has a plan, and she is not without hope. I have seen a call of God on her life since she was a little girl. God used her at age 5, to save me……. I went to You Tube to find the video for this song, and also found, Nothing Is Wasted. Powerful. Thank You Jason. Thank you for letting God speak through you. Your ministry is so overflowing with God’s love, mercy, and grace. I pray He continues to speak to your heart and gives you more music and keeps you in the light where you can share His heart with those who are broken hearted and who have forgotten who they are in HIM. I love your heart, Jason Gray. When I see you, listen to your testimony and your music, I see Jesus….. Thanks for your obedience.

  5. August 3, 2011 11:32 pm

    Prayers are up for you and your daughter Lisa, thank you for being willing to share that trial. Jason and his music have been a blessing to me too!

    Jason, Praying for your strength for the journey and your family time as well. Thanks for the advice on the Phil Keaggy concert, opening for him was a pleasure, but not as much as watching him go. I can see some of him in you.

    Song is awesome and I’m really glad you were able to hit it off with KLOV and radio. I can appreciate what gets played on the radio more now than I used to, but I am glad to hear the challenge in the lyrics that you present, a fresh wind, a new treasure to listen to. Looking forward to the rest of the CD. Congrats and God bless as always!

  6. Lisa Potter permalink
    August 4, 2011 4:00 pm

    Thanks Mike. I had finally gotten to the place where I had peace with Amber being in jail. She was reading her bible every day and praying for people in her cell block. She still cried every time we talked, but God had given me that peace that passes all understanding and I knew He was using this time to speak to her. I gave a testimony about it at my Wednesday night Celebrate Recovery group, and Thursday morning God woke me up telling me it was time to go get her……….. I was like, “Are you serious God?” I called my accountability partner and another prayer partner before 7:00 a.m. and we all came into agreement that I had heard God. She has been home a week today. Much of the time has been a blessing….. like the first lines of a new song being written as God is healing our broken relationship. But we are also starting to fall back into some old co-dependent patterns……… We still have a long road ahead. Court dates and verdicts and rehab…….. She was refused at Mercy Ministries because they won’t take anyone with outstanding court dates.

    Jason, I loved the article you posted written by Dave Burchett, where he says your song would have preached his Sunday sermon. Very, very cool! I am afraid I have been acting like Ephesians 4 though 6 the last couple days. It was a VERY good word for me today. So, I am praying and getting ready to read Ephesians 1-3 before I got to pick Amber up from work and we head over to our Zumba exercise class!

    I am full of anticipation and excitement about your fast approaching concert at the Marion Civic Center. I am hoping my two daughters will come and share the evening with me. I am bringing my next door neighbor who is only one year in America from Russia. Yes, communicating is more like pantomiming, but God has knit our hearts together! I am really excited to share your concert with her. I hope I get a chance to say hi and hug your neck!

    I am guessing you survived camp OK? LMBO. Church camp is such a blessing and such a challenge!

    I got the link to your new video on You Tube and posted it on my wall. I am super excited about all the new music and lyrics your are writing. I can’t wait to hear you perform them live! See you in a couple weeks!

    Lisa

  7. Elizabeth of the Kirk in the Woods permalink
    September 11, 2011 2:51 pm

    Jason, that is amazing. Lately I’ve been wrestling with who I am; I fail, I fall, and I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. Recently I’ve been thinking of where God is directing me after high school, and I really just don’t know. Again, I don’t know who I am. People see me as confident and knowledgeable, and I’m wrestling with questions about me and life under the surface. I’m holding on to the promise of a day when HE will tell me my real name and who I am to HIM. Thank you a million times for the reminder.

  8. October 26, 2011 5:54 am

    I was listening to STAR 99.1 fm and heard your song, Remind Me Who I Am. Love the beat and your beautiful voice. Thank you for helping us connect with God through music.

    peace,

    Carmen

  9. Carole permalink
    November 11, 2011 5:42 pm

    Hi Jason,

    Just like the other comment I read, I never thought of the parable as “the man” being God himself….and lately, through a search for identity, I hear like a whisper from God telling me I am his treasure too….How can this be….a Holy God seeing me this way…with my failures, and shortcomings???
    This is the greatest mystery and the greatest Love, and your song gave me the courage to ask Him about The Truth…and I think I start to hear more than a whisper now.
    This is reminds me of Job when he was talking about “things too wonderful for me to understand”….This is the kind of Father we have, and the God you serve with your songs, and I thank you for touching the hearts of many, including mine.
    Numbers 6: 24-26
    Carole

  10. SMARY permalink
    November 23, 2011 2:15 pm

    Just posted “remind me” on FB….heard the song once recently about a week ago & felt the presence of God all over me….& continues.

    I see the iTunes has surged “remind me” full of bars with people buying it, so its something God is on.

    I pray for all Christian songwriters, musicians, arrangers, singers & producers that they receive from Heaven what God wants to lift up the heart’s of mankind with.

    We need this music to get us through this life to eternity. We need this encouragement that indeed comes from God above. And, yes, what Calvary displayed was love…God wanting us to come be with Him….

  11. February 22, 2012 11:03 pm

    Hey Jason!

    I really love that song and it hit home for me as well. I read your blog in reference to the song and really loved it. I first heard the song on the radio when i was on my way home from helping out with the bible club at my church. The part that caught my ear was “Tell me, once again who i am to You, Who i am to You Tell me, lest i forget Who i am to You, that i belong to You To You.”
    I have been struggling with this for a good part of my life. I have craved His affection, wanted Him.. i’m the youngest of 5 girls in my family. I have watched as my sisters have had boyfriends or best friends and there is me. I’ve never had a boyfriend and i don’t really have a best friend who could call me their best friend. My latest struggle is that my sister who is closest in age to me is getting married and when she told me about her engagement.. i broke down. I’m estatic for her and my almost brother in law, but the doubts that i have had my whole life is; will there ever be anybody out there for me? Someone who cares about me? I have trouble seeking the Husband of my heart. I can’t seem to do anything right and sometimes i feel depressed because i can’t do some things that everybody else can.. This song hit home on my heart and reminded me that my Father, my Savior loves me and cares for me!! He LOVES me and even though i can’t feel Him, i know that He is there for me!

    This part really hit me, “When I’m tempted by sin these days, I can feel beneath it a desire to feel worthy and loved. This desire tells me that I’ve forgotten who I am and need reminding. I’m learning to run to the only one who can tell me, the One who carved my name in the palm of his hand and gave everything he had so I could be his.” Even though i have a very loving family, church and friends, i still want to feel worthy and loved! I want to feel that i’m not a disappointment to my parents.. i want for everything to go right for once!! On those days when i feeling those doubts, all i want is for my Savior to hug me, all i want is to see His face.

    Thanks for the song and the encouragement Jason! God is there to remind us of who we are and that He is there! He is waiting for us to lean on His everlasting arms!

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  1. Jason Gray, “Remind Me Who I Am” | Filipino Songwriter & Blogger Ganns Deen

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