Webster’s Dictionary defines identity as “the distinguishing character or personality of an individual.” So as Christian women, what should be our distinguishing character? What is the one true thing that defines us such that it becomes a part of our personality?
If we’ve been with Jesus very long, or if we’ve listened to our pastors and other wise mentors, we know we need to be getting our identity from Christ, but what does that really mean? And if we figure that part out, then how do we get that knowledge from our head to our heart?
Last week I shared a personal story of how I was finding my identity in all the wrong places. It took me a long time to recognize this in my life and once I finally figured it out, I realized I had a personal crisis on my hands. It was an identity crisis. Telling that story is hard and uncomfortable, but I share it so openly because I want you to know you are not alone if you are struggling with the same issues.
Our identity is a very important thing to understand, but it can be elusive and difficult to figure out. If we do not understand the truth about where our identity comes from we may experience some of the following issues.
We might have a poor self concept.
We may question our value or worth.
We may feel like a failure.
We may feel insecure and lack confidence.
We may feel inconsistent emotionally or spiritually
We could feel as if we are drifting through life ungrounded.
It is very important to note that these things are normal things to experience during the ups and downs of our journeys through life. However, when these ideas about ourselves become consistently entrenched patterns of thinking, then we may be dealing with an identity crisis. In other words, these things can describe our feelings throughout different circumstances or stages in our life, but if these concepts become normal ways of thinking, then we are allowing these things to define us and that means we have a problem on our hands.
God put a deep desire for love and acceptance into the heart of a woman. Unfortunately we often look in the wrong places to find it, and this is a big part of what can lead to a cycle of negative and damaging thought patterns.
Sometimes, we look to our physical appearance. We are hard on ourselves and put ourselves down when we don’t look the part – our weight, our gray hairs, and our wrinkles can sometimes be our defining points. Sadly, we may find ourselves feeling ashamed of our physical appearance.
Sometimes we look to our abilities and successes. Are we feeding off of the things we have accomplished, our gifts and talents, promotions or business successes, personal victories or praise from others for what we have done?
Our good works can even be the way we define ourselves. Ouch. This one is tough. Even inside our good deeds we can find ourselves serving for all the wrong reasons. Are we looking to our ministry or volunteer positions for approval or for building ourselves up? It feels pretty good when we are helping others and doing good things for God, but we must be very careful that pride isn’t stepping into the picture.
As woman, we often look to our closest relationships for identity. God puts us in relationships, and they can be a beautiful thing, but there is not one person on this earth that will not fail you in some form or fashion, just as you will fail them. When relationships are not like we expect, we often feel rejected or unaccepted and it can create a bad relationship cycle. We can easily be caught up in judging our worth or value as a person according to the emotions we feel within our relationships.
It’s also very easy to look to what we believe others think or feel about us for our identity. Do they like me? Will they include or accept me? What do they think about what I am doing? Will they understand me?
But one of the biggest reasons we may find ourselves in an identity crisis is rooted in this:
We listen to the LIES of the enemy instead of hearing the TRUTH of God.
When we try to answer all the questions above on our own, the enemy jumps right in. He feeds us lies about our value and worth. Often we’re not strong enough to overcome them because we don’t understand what is happening and don’t know how to ask God to help us. The enemy is very deceptive, and we make the job easy for him when we are looking in the wrong direction.
Essentially, when we look to the wrong things for acceptance, we end up creating our own identity. We hide our real life and put on a mask. We make ourselves look like what we think others will approve of. When we show only the best parts of ourselves and hide all the rest, no one really gets a complete picture of who we are.
The thing is, it’s that complete picture that gives God the most glory. We were created for the glorifying. If we hide parts of ourselves then all that God created us to be can not shine forth to glorify Him.We were created for the glorifying and it’s that complete picture of ourselves that gives God the most glory. #identity #journeytoimperfect Click To Tweet
Identity is something that is given to us by God. It is not something we can create or earn. It’s not based on our feelings about ourselves. It’s not based on our accomplishments, possessions, or abilities. Nor is it based on the opinions or thoughts of others around us.Identity is something that is given to us by God. It is not something we can create or earn. #identity #journeytoimperfect Click To Tweet
Do you see the picture? God’s hands are opened and waiting for us and our names are already written there, penned by the sacrificial love of a Son who didn’t count His own life more important than giving us our real life and our true identity.
We can believe God’s Truth as surely as we see the written words on the pages of a Bible and God says this about who we are:
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me. Isaiah 49:16 (NKJV)
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you.
Isaiah 43:4 (NKJV)
The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
All of His truth filled words are a gift wrapped with a love too deep for us to ever completely comprehend. When we receive it, we find ourselves re-defined, identified, and wholly His.When we receive God’s deep love, we find ourselves re-defined, identified, and wholly His. #identity #journeytoimperfect Click To Tweet
We are loved by Him. It’s who we are. And that is more than enough.
These are the verses listed in this article. If you click the link, you will be directed to Bible Gateway where you can study each one in more depth. I highly encourage you to go there as there are many free resources that will further your understanding of God’s Word!
Do you have any strategies that help you keep the proper focus in finding your identity and value as a person? I would love to hear your thoughts! Scroll down to find the comment box.
Lord, It is so easy to have the wrong focus. I ask you to forgive me for the times I have looked in the wrong direction for my identity and failed to see what you so freely give me. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, so we could know a deeper love. He gave His life so I could find mine. Thank you for loving me that much. In Jesus name, Amen.
This week and last we found that ultimately, it is His love that defines us. It’s something we can believe and trust in as we read His word. Sometimes, however, getting this knowledge from our heads to our hearts is a huge issue. We’ll discuss some strategies designed to help with that in the next couple of weeks as we look at some free resources from Journey to Imperfect and some readings from other inspiriting places that you might find helpful if you are feeling unsure of your identity.
This post is linked in other encouraging places! Click HERE to find out where!
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