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Imagine being in a gathering full of people and having to stand up and introduce yourself. “Hi, my name is Brooke. I’m a lawyer.” As soon as Brooke says that she is a lawyer people start to make assumptions about the type of person she is. Brooke takes pride in the fact that she’s a lawyer. She has worked extremely hard to get to this point in her career. Brooke has always wanted to be a lawyer. Everyone who knows her couldn’t imagine her not being a lawyer. Brooke does not know who she’d be if she wasn’t a lawyer. Will Brooke put it in those exact words? No, of course not. Brooke likes that people make assumptions about her once they find out that she’s a lawyer. She likes that people assume that she’s smart and a hard worker. She’d prefer if they didn’t make negative assumptions but that’s their problem, not hers.
“I am a lawyer,” “I am a hairstylist,” I am a doctor,” “I am a college student,” “I am a police officer,” “I am a vegan,” “I am a virgin,” I am celibate.” Those introductions say very little about who you are; they simply tell the world what you do or do not do. And all of those can change at the drop of a dime– you could change your diet, change your career, or have sex; and then what?! It takes a toll on us when we have place our identity in something and then it changes. We end up having an identity crisis which sometimes leads to us becoming depressed because we either feel shame about the change or we do not know how to handle the implications.
“Hi, my name is Tati. I’m a virgin. I’m at the top of my class.” NONE OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE ANYMORE. I took pride in making good grades in school. I loved being complimented on my intelligence. That all changed once I started law school; I was no longer on top. Being surrounded by people who were extremely intelligent made me doubt by intelligence. The first “C” knocked the wind out of me. Who was I if I was not making good grades? Who was I if others did not know just how smart I was. Can you relate? Ok, let me try this again…I took so much pride in being a __(fill in the blank)____. I felt shame and hopeless once that changed.
Our identities are constantly changing because we are constantly changing; our circumstances and experiences are constantly changing. One year we might identify as an artist, the next as an intellectual. Our identities turn into a lens through which we see our wold. As a poet I saw poetry and art in everything. As a law student I saw the elements for different theories, everywhere.
Here is how we should introduce ourselves, “Hi, my name is Brooke and I practice law.” Let what you do remain just that, what you do.When we get to the core of who you are as a person, I am 99.999% positive that your profession, sexuality, and habits are not written in your DNA. The question is: “who am I without all of my degrees, skills, material possessions, etc.?” What remains when all of those things are taken away? GOD! You are a son or daughter of God; created in His image (Genesis 1:27). You are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and you are not here by mistake, He chose you and you were predestined to be alive at this time (Jeremiah 1:5).
Placing your identity in Christ is consoling because He is always the same; He is a rock; a firm foundation. God is love; God lives in you and His love is perfected in you (1 John 4:8, 11). You do not have to do anything to make Him love you. His love is not based on your accomplishments and experiences.
Placing my identity in Christ was one of the most freeing things I could do. God does not place artificial boundaries around me. He does not say, “you cannot be creative because you are a lawyer,” “you cannot do x,y,z because you are a woman,” you will not ever succeed because you were raised by a single, teenage mother,” the list goes on. What limits have been placed on you because of your circumstances or the identity you have chosen? Jesus’ work on the cross has ripped those lies to shreds! However, I was not able to live in that truth until I believed it and placed my identity in Christ alone. What does that look like for me? It is me meditation on truth-God’s Word- when the world hurls lies in my direction. God’s word gives me stable ground to stand on when everything around me is shaky. God’s truth calms me when I have an identity crisis (straying away from what God says about me and who He says I am). Placing my identity in Christ means I view others for who they truly are– people created in the image of God, who therefore are all unique and deserving of love, mercy, and grace. Placing my identity in Christ means I have truth to turn to when the devil whispers lies into my ears. Placing my identity in Christ means knowing and believing that all things are possible with Him. Placing my identity in Christ relieves the pressure because I know that I do not have to do life alone. Placing my identity in Christ means living loved.
I challenge you to analyze your life and the things that you have allowed to form your identity. Have those identities brought you joy? How did you feel when a change came about causing you to place your identity in something else? Once you are done with that, refer to God’s Word and read Who He says He is and what He says about you. Bask in the Truth and not in the lies of circumstance. Live loved.
Check out this amazing song. Let its lyrics penetrate your heart: Lead Me Back by Morgan Harper Nichols
- Who is Jesus: https://www.esv.org/resources/esv-global-study-bible/chart_43_08/
- Who God says you are: https://bible.org/article/who-does-god-say-i-am