Identity Crisis

coffee 2

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13 NIV

Everyday we are bombarded with images of what we are supposed to look like and how we are supposed to act. If we aren’t careful, we can be swept into the societal belief that our worth is based on our outward appearance. When we give into this notion, we are letting society construct our identity. The real question we need to ask ourselves is where does our identity come from?

Satan knows exactly how and where to attack each one of us. He knows where we are vulnerable. Even back in the garden of Eden, he used lies and doubt to tempt Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. And he is still using the same tactics today. As Christians, we need to learn to recognize the lies and replace them with God’s truth. Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings of inadequacy, and then exhaust ourselves trying to hide them…

This is a portion of an article that I have featured on Encouragement Café  and Crosswalk today. I would love for you to read and then come back and share your thoughts and something you are holding on to in the comment section.

If you read my devotion on Encouragement Café or Crosswalk and are here for the first time, Welcome. Feel free to look at the “About Me” page to learn more about me and then share something about yourself in the comment section. I would love to get to know my readers better.

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Set-Free

set free

The next identity in the series we can claim as a Christian is that of a set free child of God, which is also seen in the book of Romans, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2 NIV).

It is so easy to fall victim to condemnation, from others, as well as, from ourselves. When condemnation comes against you,  let me encourage you to quote this Scripture as a word weapon. These two verses are so powerful because no matter what you have done or will do, there is no condemnation in Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict us when we have sinned, so that we can repent. Condemnation, on the other hand, comes from ourselves and Satan. Therefore we need to remind the Enemy and ourselves, that we do not walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Walking after the flesh is depending upon ourselves; walking after the Spirit is to depend upon God. When we fail, which we all will, from time to time; that does not mean we are failures. It simply means we do not do everything right. We all have to accept that we have weaknesses as well as strengths. Let Christ be strong in our weaknesses. Let Him be our strength on our weak days.

Who Am I?

Coffee cup

We fall victim to societal pressure to believe that our apperance, status and possessions will make our lives better. When we give into this notion, we are letting society construct our identity. The real question we need to ask ourselves is where does our identity come from?

Another way to put this is: What types of things define a person? Say, for example, you were to introduce yourself to someone you do not know: How would you define yourself? Would you define yourself by your family relationships, by a professional title, or lack of one, or by where you live or go to church? People generally define theirselves by age, intelligence, education, marital status, material things, and family…

This is a portion of an article that I have featured on Encouragement Café today. This article lines up perfectly with the series this month on our true identity in Christ. I would love for you to read and then come back and share your thoughts in the comment section.

Forgiven

forgiven

For the month of March I am going to spend Mondays and Wednesdays every week examining our true identity in Christ. I pray that armed with these truths you will have the confidence to set aside any mask you have been hiding behind and begin to let your true identity in Christ shine through.

The first identity we have is that of a forgiven child of God. This one is seen in Romans, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 NIV). Unlike the people of the Old Testament, we no longer live under the law. We live according to grace. As Christians, all we need to do is place our trust in Christ. This simple act of faith enables each one of us to be declared righteous and forgiven.

Christ Jesus died to provide redemption, which means He died to pay the price required to ransom sinners. By paying the penalty of their sin through His death, Jesus can free people from their sin and transfer His righteousness to those who believe in Him. On the basis of Christ’s righteousness alone, believers can approach God’s throne with praise. Through God’s initiative, they have been restored to a proper relationship with Him (from the New King James Version Study Bible).

In other words, thanks to Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, we, as Christians, can approach God and be seen as forgiven children of God. The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary goes on to discuss the gift of salvation further, “The manner of salvation is that of a free gift. The motivation of salvation is God’s grace, the underserved love of God. The means of salvation is also redemption, deliverance from the hopeless human condition of [Romans] 1:18–3:20.”

Stop and think for a moment how completely amazing the gift of salvation is. First of all, it is free for everyone. This is thanks to God’s incredible grace and Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. Without the gift of salvation, a person is utterly hopeless. However, once the gift is received, our identity is that of a forgiven child of God, and that cannot be taken away.

 

** As a special bonus this month, for every comment you make on my blog you will be entered to win a signed copy of my book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask.

Tucked In, Safe and Secure

child asleep

“You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5

 I remember loving when my parents would tuck me in at night. They would come in, read me a story, pray, give me kiss and pull the covers up around me. I know it was only a gesture, but I felt safe, secure and loved.

This wasn’t thrown aside when I grew; it just changed vehicles, as I am the parent tucking in my own children. Today, I am able to see the same thing with my kids. It offers them a sense of peace and protection that drives away the fears that creep in as the night draws close.

Dear friend, do not worry that your chance for this peace and protection vanished with age. You see, you and I have this same kind of protection from our Heavenly Father. He promises us in Psalm 139:5 to go before us and behind. God is granting us protection from all sides. It is like a wall around us. The Lord graciously surrounds those who trust in Him with His unfailing love (Psalm 32:10).

However, it does not stop there. It goes on to say in Psalm 139 that God lays His hand upon us. Think of it this way, if you have your hand on someone’s back or even holding his or her hand, you move then he or she does, right? Well, that’s what this portion of the verse means. God is beside us every step of the way. This should bring such peace and comfort to you today.

Just like a small child dressed in flannel pajamas sliding into bed awaiting the reassurance of safety and protection from her parents at bedtime, you can be certain that God – who never sleeps or slumbers – is watching over and protecting you. Put aside those doubts, fears and insecurities because your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally.

Like Jesus when tempted in the desert, we need our security based solely on our identity in Christ – who God says we are.

He says we are:

This is just scratching the surface of what God says and feels about you, His treasured creation. Nothing can keep you from the depths of God’s love.

I know it is easy to fall victim to the lies and negative chatter in your head, but you must pause and evaluate what is true and what is a lie. If this is difficult to grasp to begin with I encourage you to write out these pieces of your true identity in Christ and carry them with you on note cards or put on post-it notes on your mirror or computer. Keep those visual reminders until your true identity is so engrained in you that it is shining out to those around you.

So, dear friend, lay down those burdens and worries, God will take care of it all. No matter what the enemy may tell you, never doubt God’s love and protection for you.

Who Am I? Discovering the “Me” I’m Meant To Be

magnifying glass

We fall victim to societal pressure to believe that our appearance, status and possessions will make our lives better. When we give into this notion, we are letting society construct our identity. The real question we need to ask ourselves is where does our identity come from?

Another way to put this is: What types of things define a person? Say, for example, you were to introduce yourself to someone you do not know: How would you define yourself? Would you define yourself by your family relationships, by a professional title, or lack of one, or by where you live or go to church? People generally define themselves by age, intelligence, education, marital status, material things, and family.

Satan, the Enemy, knows exactly how and where to attack each one of us. He knows where we are vulnerable. As Christians, we need to learn to recognize the lies and replace them with God’s truth. Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings of inadequacy, and then exhaust ourselves trying to hide them. God, on the other hand, wants us to focus on His acceptance, security and significance and thank Him for His promises that remind us of who we are in Him. We need to remember that God is well pleased with us before we do anything simply because we are His children.

God was there from the very beginning. He spoke each one of us into our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), at just the right time to be here now. It was not by accident, nor was it a surprise to God. We need to get rid of any image of ourselves that is not from God. We have to stop believing what others have said or how we have been labeled in the past, and stop accepting how others define us.

This is a concept that I have struggled with for some time. Honestly, it is so much easier for me to believe the negative than the positive about myself. My insecurities about myself and falling victim to the lies started back in the first grade. My teacher’s negative comments stuck with me. Throughout school, I became more swayed by what others thought about me. Before long, I could not even begin to answer the question, Who am I? Because I had no idea. I had lost all sense of “me” and who I really was. It took quite a while to break free from those lies. In fact if I let my defenses down, the lies and insecurities start to infiltrate my mind and try to take over even to this day.

When we let these lies take hold in our mind, we begin to feel as if we have to hide behind a mask. That way, we can present to the world what we think they want to see. In actuality, by listening to others instead of God to frame our identity, we are building a wall that masks who we truly are. With the empowering of the Holy Spirit and prayer, we can start taking down this wall that has been built by others piece by piece to pave the path to victory — our identity in Christ.

When you start comparing others’ outside with your inside, you need to stop and be reminded what God says about you. (identities from Made To Crave – Lysa TerKeurst, 52)

  • Forgiven child of God (Romans 3:24)
  • Set-free child of God (Romans 8:1-2)
  • Accepted child of God (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  • Holy child of God (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Made-new child of God (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Loved child of God (Ephesians 1:4)
  • Close child of God (Ephesians 2:13)
  • Confident child of God (Ephesians 3:12)
  • Victorious child of God (Romans 8:37)

When the comparisons start flooding your mind, let the words of this song, More Beautiful You, wash over you. You are loved, special and beautiful – just as you are.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you today loaded down with the burden of trying to be what others want me to be. I ask that you take this from me and remind me that my identity comes from you alone. You formed me for a specific purpose and plan. You do not make mistakes. Therefore, help me to daily let my true identity in You shine forth. In Your Precious Name, Amen.

The Real Me

rockwell_mirror

If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? The majority of us would start with our appearance and then maybe include our occupation and marital status. In most cases, it wouldn’t get any deeper than that. However, there are many more components that compose the real you.

For me personally, I struggled in the past with not only poor body image, but also comparing myself to others. I wanted to have the perfect look, because then everything else would fall into place, right? So, I stressed over an extra pound here or a bad hair day there. All the while thinking that if the outside was better then I would be better on the inside. This way of thinking quickly sucked me into the trap of comparing how someone looked on the outside to how I was feeling on the inside.

I love what Renee says about comparing/competing in Chapter 8 of A Confident Heart, “ God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be” (pg. 137).

I had to come to a point where I saw who I was through God’s eyes – my true identity. God didn’t create flat, one-dimensional people. He gave us spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personalities and experiences, which make each one of us unique.

Each and every one of us has been given spiritual gifts to use for God’s purpose. Think about it like this, I’m certain that if someone gives you a Christmas gift you won’t leave it wrapped and sitting on a shelf or the bottom of your closet. Therefore, you and I need to utilize the gifts God has given to us.

I enjoyed taking the spiritual gifts assessment on Wednesday. If you haven’t taken one before I suggest you spend a few moments to see where your strengths lie. My top three were teaching, faith and exhortation. God has given me these gifts to reach out and shine His light and encourage those around me.

God has also put passions within each one of us. One of mine is to help and lift up those who are broken and hurting. Because of various experiences God has brought me through, I can identify with many hurts and pains.

Besides gifts and passions, we also have various abilities. Some people can sing, paint, lead, speak – you name it. God has blessed me with the ability to write. I first saw this as a possibility when I went through this study through OBS two years ago.

It was at this time I was encouraged to start a blog for the first time. I was so nervous when I hit the publish button the first time, but I chose to use what God had given me and be available to His leading. Since that first post, I have written and published my first book, Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask, started on my second book and met amazing women through my blog that have touched my heart – all because I chose to use the abilities, gifts, passions and experiences God had created me with for His purpose and plan.

Every pieces of us as individuals may not make sense or be appealing, but combined together you and I are each a living breathing masterpiece from God. You wouldn’t go into a museum and take apart pieces of art thinking you knew better than the artist, so why do we do the same thing with God?

When you and I begin to embrace who God has created us to be, it will lead to confidence.

Your Turn:Who are you? What gifts, passions and abilities has God created in you? Most importantly, what are you going to choose to do with them?

Who Am I?

Searching

There were many times in the past that I fell into the notion that I was not good enough – from being excluded in school, to comparing myself to others to my husband leaving me. For this reason, the enemy uses this doubt frequently in attacking me.

As long as I am stuck in that downward spiral, I am not moving forward or following after God’s plan for my life. The enemy can simply set back because I am already discouraged and defeated.

But God doesn’t see any of us as not good enough.

You and I must remember that God has made each one of us unique for His plan and purpose. The world needs us to fulfill that plan. We have to come to a point where we see ourselves as God sees us.

I encourage you to read through some of the great scriptures from Renee Swope’s Confident Heart:

                                      John 1:12

                        2 Timothy 1:7

                            Ephesians 3:12

Your Turn: Who are you? Not whom others say you are, but whom God says you are. I encourage you to let your true identity in Christ shine through to the dark world today.

Resources:     Confident Heart – Renee Swope

Get REAL: Stop Hiding Behind the Mask – Jamy Whitaker

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