Discover who you are and every other need, want, and question will fade away. Truly, it is identity that changes everything. Go with me here, because I think God has allowed me to begin to understand something that at its core has the power to literally transform the world if embraced. So, for a moment, if you would, let everything else fade to the background and take this journey with me as we look at our identity from a different point of view.
It is written into our DNA to want to know who we are. What our purpose is. Why we’re here and what value we have to offer, if any. Throughout life, all of us will either consciously or subconsciously identify with a variety of things. Who our family is, where we grow up, where we go to school, what religion we’re raised in, who our friends are, what we like to do, where we’re employed, etc. Naturally, the combination of all these things identifies us. So when talking about someone else we say things like “oh yeah, that’s John—he goes to so and so school and plays on the soccer team.” Or “That’s Betty—she’s the pretty, popular one and the oldest of five kids.” Or “That’s Sarah, she’s the sorta quirky artist who has one best friend.” Whether we like them or not, we become comfortable with these identifications. They give us our “place.” They tell us where we belong and fit and give us a sense of existence.
While we may grow comfortable with these spaces that people fit us into, and even accept them as our reality, we are never really satisfied, are we? There are always those inner longings for more, those little questions inside that make us wonder if this was really all we were made for. It takes courage to explore these longings because breaking out of a box can be seen by others in a number of ways, both negative and positive. Change someone’s view of you, and it can feel like opening Pandora’s box. This fear keeps us where we’re at. Makes us keep our fists closed tight around our safe labels and positions and senses of control.
But what if all those things that identify us just suddenly evaporated? Like they literally did not exist anymore? Undoubtedly we would experience an utter sense of loss. We would feel like we were floating with nothing to hold us down to earth and possibly no reason to live. I think one of the greatest fears of humanity is the fear of not having a sense of direction. Confusion is the inevitable result of a loss of identity. But—
What if our identity was never in those things that we always thought made us who we are? What if we still haven’t discovered who we really are, and all those realities were either weak imitations of a much more glorious truth or completely false altogether? Author Ted Dekker likes to refer to our physical bodies as well as the roles we take on in this life as our “costumes.” If you are an actor, as much as you might act like your character, you are not your character. Neither are you your costume. The claim would be ridiculous actually. Think about that.
So now, on a personal note. I was telling someone the other night about how strange it is that all the schools I ever attended in the past no longer exist. Then she asked me this question: “So do you feel like you don’t exist?” Huh. Do I? I chuckled and answered (I believe honestly), “Sometimes.” Ah, see. Sometimes. But only in those times when I’ve forgotten who I really am, those times when I identify with the things I’ve done or where I went to school. Now, the schools I’ve attended are not bad. Not at all. But do they define me? No.
I’m still in the process of trying to grasp the ramifications of all this. I hope I’m able to communicate something that might bring some revelation to you as the reader, even as I am, in a sense, groping in the dark trying to pull the beauty and the truth out of this confusing mess.
But then, it’s not really confusing. Not if we understand who we are.
In Philippians 3, Paul talks about how he considers everything else as “loss” and “rubbish” compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. Friends, I just want to tell you it’s worth it to lose yourself. It’s incredibly freeing to lose your sense of control in this life. Because the fact is—you never were in control. I’ve literally had to have things stripped away from me so that I could see that those things never truly told me who I was. Sure, I learned a lot from those schools or even those jobs that are no longer in existence, but they didn’t identify me.
Because from the very start, even before I was born, I’ve always been a daughter of God.
I am a daughter of God.
Read that to yourself slowly and let it sink in deep as you breathe in and out. I am a son of God. I am a daughter of God.
As Christians, we know this. We know that because of what Christ did, we are His children. We have authority over the enemy. We are seated with Yeshua himself in heavenly places.
Oh, but really? Really? Do you believe that?
The peace you feel or don’t feel in your life should answer that question for you.
One last remark. I have often had thoughts—in those times when my circumstances were uncertain or my future unclear—like “if I just had this kind of job and got to do this and this in my spare time, then I’d be happy. Everything would be good.” I smile now, because life has certainly not turned out how my idealistic wishes would have determined. But that is because of the sovereignty of my good Father—who knows and sees more than I ever could. He has kept me from getting that kind of job that I’d be satisfied with because He knew it would prevent me from getting to the place where I really need to be in order to be free and to walk in the fullness of my identity.
So I just want to say—trust the journey. And neither cling to your sense of control nor the things that make you feel safe or comfortable in this life. Because they could be stripped away at any moment. And it is better to have already let go of your need for safety before the storm comes so that your identity in Christ keeps you grounded. Anything in this life can be taken away except for the truth of your identity.
Let this song about the freedom of losing control encourage you.