Do you ever struggle with depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and insecurity? It may surprise you these things are often symptoms of a deeper struggle with identity issues. Identity is your sense of self; it is who you are. God desires for you to know Him but He also desires for you to know yourself. A foundational truth every Christian needs to understand in order to know themselves is that human beings are created in the image/likeness of God; this sets us apart from every other living creature. Since we are created in the image of God we have a matchless value as well as a significant responsibility to get to know ourselves so we can be better equipped to live our lives to the glory of God.
Recently I have been in spiritual warfare concerning my identity in Christ, and I don’t think I am alone. You would think after 20 years of being “sold out” to Jesus and 17 years of vocational ministry I would “know who I am” by now. However, the longer I run the race and stay in the fight, the more I realize my desperate need for Christ! In my pursuit to find Jesus, I have learned a few things about Identity that I would love to share with you. My hope is that these things would help you not only better know Christ but also know yourself at a deeper level. Developing an identity or sense of self can take time and may be challenging, but through Christ it is possible.
Tips to help you walk in your Identity, know your Purpose, and fulfill your Assignment!
1. If you want to walk in your true Identity then you must start with your Who, not your Why.
Any of my leadership guru friends out there have probably heard the popular teaching, “Start with your why in order to walk in your purpose”. Basically, the teaching says people don’t care about what you’re doing until they understand the reason behind it. Although I believe this is true, something disturbed me about this current teaching. So I prayed about it and I heard the Lord say, “The world tells you to start with your Why, but I tell you to start with your Who”.
God truly cares about his kids and He desires for us to recognize who we are in Him. The best way for us to understand our identity is to get to know the ONE who knows everything about us. It was only after Peter had a revelation of Christ as Messiah that Jesus revealed to him who He was. The same is true with us. Friends, when you get to know Jesus you will also get to know yourself!
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
2. If you want to walk in your true Identity then you must discover your purpose.
Identity and Purpose are so closely knit. Your Identity is who you are in Christ. Your Identity never changes. Your purpose is why you were created. God desires for you to understand your strengths and weaknesses, talents, abilities and gifts as well as your individual personal needs, because when you do you will be better able to glorify Him. Oftentimes our God-given passions will point the way to our purpose. What sets your soul on fire? What do you go to bed dreaming about? Stop trying to be normal, embrace your peculiarity, and walk in your unique giftings.
For instance, I have a passion to share Jesus with other people and teach people about Him so they, too, can achieve their calling and purpose. I want to know God and make Him known. This passion burns inside of me. If God has given you a passion for something, oftentimes He will use that passion to show you your purpose. Sometimes we don’t fulfill our mission because our journey looks different than other people or because we feel uncomfortable. However, when we let comparison, fear or any other setback keep us from walking in our purpose, we miss out on a life of significance.
I Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
3. If you want to walk in your Identity then you must understand your assignments.
As Americans, it is very easy for us to identify ourselves by what we do. When we meet someone, after finding out their name, we usually ask them what they do. The reason we do this is that we place too much of our identity in our jobs, instead of who we are in Christ. Let me explain. I am a daughter of God, yet for many years I Identified myself as an urban missionary because it was what I did. Then God asked me to trust him with a new assignment and plant another church in a suburban area. This threw me for a loop, mostly because I wrongly identified myself by what I was doing.
Sisters, we even do this with parenting. We identify ourselves as a momma of toddlers, then as a momma of school-agers, then teens, and eventually our kids grow up and move out. We find ourselves empty nesters who no longer know who we are. Friends, our God-given assignments are important, but they are not our identity. Our assignments should not define us and they should not limit us. We must faithfully steward the assignments God gives us, but we must realize when we fulfill one task God will have another one for us. Just like we have different seasons in life we will have different assignments. It is important for us to learn to shift gracefully from one assignment to the next, and understanding who we are in Christ will be our guiding light through every season of life.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Don’t beat yourself up if you question your identity and struggle to find your purpose. Many established Christians confuse their identity with their current assignment. There is hope for you. You are not alone, and God will see you through if you continue to depend on Him. After all, you are His CHILD. This means you are more than what you do for a living, even more than what you do for Him. You are not your shortcomings or failures. You are a living, breathing daughter of God. There is nothing cheap about you at all! God’s creative, inventive, intelligent genius went into making you. Now it is your responsibility to walk in who you are!
Ephesians 2:10 …. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do….”