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Take the Pressure Off: Determining Your Identity

God never asked us to determine our identity, or to “create” ourselves.

I realize this sounds a little vague, so let me explain. Many of us live our everyday lives with the pressure to paint the picture of who we are, and what we want our lives to look like. We set out to discover who we are, and what our purpose is, often looking for giant neon signs lighting the way. I don’t know about you, but my goodness did pressure land on my shoulders when I approached life this way.

We live in a culture that cannot define very simple, definitive things. Creating ourselves is a daunting, never-ending journey; a journey God never asked us to go on.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

- Psalm 139:13-14

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10

Please hear my heart - we’re not puppets on a string. God is not in Heaven controlling our every thought and action just as God did not shape us, breathe life into us, and then say, “Ok, now go figure out who you are; go create a life for yourself.” As the verses noted above indicate, He intentionally formed us each individually before our eyes opened on earth for the first time, and prepared good works for us walk out in advance of our first breath.

Putting pressure on ourselves to determine our identity during an ever-changing life is not necessary when He tells us exactly who we are in His Word; He tells us our identity in Him -

In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will…In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will…

- Ephesians 1:5, 11

We are His children; we were chosen and adopted into the family of God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17

We are new; a new creation in Christ with a new identity.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1

We are free; free from the bondage of sin, the Law and the old man.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

- Romans 12:4-8

We are an intricate part of something bigger than ourselves; we are one member of a larger body, uniquely gifted and called to serve in different ways. We are all individuals, specifically created by the Lord, with different gifts, strengths and callings.

God did not use a cookie-cutter in creating us; we have the joy of going through life discovering how God gifted and called us, and developing those things with Him. It’s a beautiful process!

Regardless of what that process looks like for each one of us, we can rest in knowing that, at the core of our identity, we are:

  • Chosen… not rejected, forgotten or unwanted.

  • A Child of God… not an orphan, short of love, floating along in this world.

  • A New Creation… not defined by the traits and behaviors of who I was without Jesus.

  • Free in Christ… not bound to living in sin, according the Law or the expectations of man.

  • Uniquely Gifted & Called… not another face in the crowd with nothing to offer.

My goodness, how careful the Lord was to tell us exactly who we are in Him in His Word. I can’t help but wonder if it’s because He knew we would live in a world that is constantly trying to tell us who we are in their eyes.

>> So then what is it God does ask of us?

To know, intimately, who He says I am in and through Christ alone; to take responsibility for developing the gifts and calling(s) He's given me.

I have chased the neon signs and empty promises of finding my identity somewhere in this world. I came up empty and confused every single time. I am done carrying the pressure of trying to "create" myself. When I know who I am in and through Christ, I have an unshakeable understanding of my identity no matter where life takes me, or what lies the world tries to sell me.

In a world that lacks definitiveness, let’s turn to the definitive identity we forever have in and through Jesus Christ, and bask in the joy of continuously discovering more of who we are in Him.

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