For years my identity was wrapped up in what I thought other people thought about me. I was the smart girl, not the pretty one. I was the reader, not the athlete. I was capable and hard-working, perhaps not the marrying kind. And while the first half of those equations are not bad, it’s the second half that made me feel that I was less in comparison to other girls around me.
My difficult marriage did nothing to change my self-image. Name-calling and criticism were part of my daily life. Words were flung at me like flaming arrows with the sole intent of wounding me. I found myself wrapped in a heavy veil of misery wondering who I really was.
Several years ago through a period of unemployment, my identity was shaken yet again. Without a job, I felt like an outsider to what’s going on in everyone else’s life. Going through the application and interview process made me feel less than, unacceptable, even unqualified. Suddenly the veil obscuring my true identity in Christ threatened to cover my face again. And I was left to ask, “Who am I?”
That’s why recognizing and walking in our true identity in Christ is so important. Without that, we tend to bounce around looking for who we are supposed to be without making any meaningful progress. So, here are three truths about our identity in Christ:
- Without an identity grounded in relationship with Christ, everything else falls short. There are many things we can gain our identity from…maybe it’s our marriage, our husband’s occupation, our own occupation, our financial situation, our home, our hobbies or our children’s activities. But all of those things are subject to change at any time. They may bring some happiness and interest to our lives, but they don’t bring the lasting joy found in Christ.
- Without an identity grounded in relationship with Christ, we will never know true unconditional love. We are sometimes tempted to gain our identity from the people in our lives. We are someone’s child, spouse or parent. So-and-so is our boss, or maybe our best friend, or even the pastor at the church we attend. But people let us down. They disappoint us. They do the wrong thing sometimes. They are fallible, and try as they might, they can’t offer us perfection in life. And surprise! We are fallible too. We let down the very people we love the most. Our own idiosyncratic personalities flare up, or we make a mistake, and end up hurting someone we care about. We may even do something to hurt someone on purpose. Relationships are wonderful. God made us to live in community and relationship, but we can’t build those healthy relationships without Christ.
- Without an identity grounded in relationship with Christ, it’s easy to settle for second best. It’s all too easy to settle for a life that is less than God has planned for us. Growing up we all dreamed about what life would be like one day when…when we find the right person and get married, when we have the perfect job, when we build the perfect house, when we have kids, when we travel. But when our self-image has been affected by the things we come to believe about ourselves, those dreams can seem out of reach. Instead of believing that God has a plan for each of us and trusting him to execute it in his timing, we can settle for less than the abundant life Christ promised us.
As I’ve walked through this life, God has continued to reveal who He wants me to be in Christ. I certainly don’t claim to do it perfectly! Not by a long shot. But as I’ve continued to search out who God says I am, I’m much less focused on what I’ve believed about myself or what others have said about me.
In redeeming my identity, God has built my faith and challenged me to trust His words more every day, rather than listening to the words the enemy would have me believe. He has shown me how Christ alone is worthy of my worship and how to stop putting people and things on the pedestal from which they so easily tumble. He has grown a contentment in me to live life each day, patiently waiting on His plan to unfold.
The testimony is that it is so easy to get wrapped up in the hurts and disappointments of this life, missing the opportunity to live in our redeemed life. I love this passage from Luke in The Message:
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
Luke 6:35-36 (MSG)
Let’s all live out the God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us.
Join the Testimony Tuesday community! We are sharing our stories of how much God has done for us.
- Subscribe to the blog so that you won’t miss a single post!
- Like Holly Barrett on Facebook and click on Get Notifications.
- Follow Holly Barrett on Twitter and use the hashtag #TestimonyTuesday.
- Follow the Reclaiming a Redeemed Life board on Pinterest.