Where is your Identity? I’ll be honest. This is a question that has left me heartbroken in moments over the last few months. It’s actually turned a lot of my world upside down, in the best way.
I think God started carving and etching this question upon my heart six months ago, but I don’t think I was ready to face it until recently. So before I go any further, I will let you know this has been the question, and I am still no good at the answer. But I’m getting better! And I’m hoping God will use these words to remind me of what he has taught me so far.
Tonight I made a list. Not a grocery list or things to do tomorrow list. But an identity list. And the list doesn’t fall short. To be specific, I came up with 19 idols ranging from all sorts of things:
THINGS I FIND MY IDENTITY IN
- my independence
- my job
- my “spontaneous” image
- what ANYONE thinks of me
- my past relationship
- my family
- my role in my friendships
And that’s only a few of them! The list keeps going.
I think Don Miller says it best in “Scary Close” when he called himself a performer. He steps out in the day and he plays his roles as a writer or husband or friend. And I find myself doing the same thing. I can be the “cant make a decision to save my life” girl because thats how I identify to my friends. And I will be the “spontaneous, bold statement maker” girl to my family. And the “independent” girl for myself so I don’t have to commit to things.
Recently, I think this identity question has surfaced because I found a place where, performance or not, I can’t really win. I act myself, and it isn’t deemed as “cool”. Or I try to perform as they want, and I don’t feel like myself. In my heart I know I am loved, but still I work and work to hear some sort of “I have approved you” message. I have been wrecked by this situation because my fleshy heart is screaming “NOTICE ME, PRAISE ME, ACCEPT ME” while my mind is constantly trying to tell myself “Seek humility. Your identity is found in Christ. You don’t need it”. But I’ll be honest, my sinful heart has won almost every time.
And guess what – I’M SICK OF MY AWFUL STINKIN FLESHY HEART. Seriously, exhausted by it. I want Christ to win and rule in my heart. And I want obedience to rise above pride. I think at the point when I was about to embarrassedly cry in-front of a lot of people who would have been super uncomfortable, I was finally willing to give up and listen (DRAMATIC I know, but its true!) So yes, time and time again, God is faithful and good and is using my mess to create glory. And I believe He keeps whispering something like this to show me:
Daughter, what are you doing? Why are you trying to perform for others? Why are you trying to work for your salvation? Stop. Stop all that you are doing, and come to me. I delight in you. You are mine, I called you by name. You have no one to prove. I have already chosen you, and I love you completely and wholly for who you are. Trust me. Stand boldly in who I designed you to be. Don’t hide behind images that you have built for yourself. We can knock down those walls together. Stand in the light and shine as I have created you to do. You are my precious daughter. And I am your Father. You are always found in ME.
So obviously, that wasn’t spoke out of a burning bush like Moses got to witness (THAT WOULD BE CRAZY AND AWESOME IF SO!) But I believe Jesus whispers sweetly to us in many ways. I see him in my favorite things like nature, books, and people. However, one place He speaks boldly is through His Word.
And this is what He has spoken over me:
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“I have been crucified with Christ and it is I who no longer lives, but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
“For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3
“We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” – Matthew 5:14
“Then you will shine amount them like stars in the sky” – Philippians 2:15
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ” -Zephaniah 3:17
“Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands; your wall are continually before me.” – Isaiah 49:15-16
and lastly, one of my all time favorite passages:
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Jesus, may our identity ONLY be found in you. Our perfect savior who loves us, chose us, died for us, and redeemed us. You are worthy of all praise.