THE IDENTITY THIEF
Have you ever wondered what it looks like to live in the abundance of God’s extravagant love for you? A place that is so safe and free that you literally flourish from the inside out? Circumstances do not shake you and even in the midst of a storm you are able to rise and bloom and hold firm.
I know what that place does not look like. I have spent much of my life outside of that safe haven. One aspect I struggled deeply with was being thrown back and forth by emotions, usually caused by the unrelenting need to please people. I never knew my true identity because it was in siege to others. A mere confrontation with a person would send my head into a whirlwind and my heart into a panic. I would be all consumed with what they said to me and what they thought of me. I was fighting desperately to keep everybody in my world happy, until I realised that was impossible. Too easily, I took on the opinions of others. If someone close to me made a disapproving comment or did not approve of a dream in my heart, I would allow their words to tangle every breath of life out of that dream and believe their disapproval to be truth. In essence, I allowed peoples voices over my life to be louder than Gods. I was striving and getting nowhere fast and utterly frustrated in my efforts.
Maybe you can relate? What is it or who is it that you are allowing to validate your life? I believe we all find a sense of satisfaction from the approval of others. We are designed with the desire to love and be loved, but we can so easily fall into a dangerous habit that is difficult to break when the desire to please people above the desire to please God takes precedence. I discovered that my longing to please people became my identity and I found my worth in whomever I was pleasing. As long as everybody was happy, everything was in its right place, there was peace, but usually not within me. Another harmful aspect of living on this rollercoaster ride is you are ruled by your emotions. When someone hurts you, or even when something does not go the way you expected, though this is a normal aspect of life, you tend to find yourself in a tumultuous washing machine of reactions and feelings, anger, abandonment, hopelessness and even depression for example.
Jesus tells us however in John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.
The question is how do we get there? How do we go from living subject to emotions and others opinions, to living a life free in His joy, free to be who He called us to be and free to carry out the purposes He has set before us? Free to be all He died for us to be? I firmly believe the answer lies in our identity in Christ.
What exactly is our identity in Christ? Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”Identity in Him is the knowing, the deep, unwavering, immovable sense of who you are IN Jesus, who God says you are and who He has called you to be.
I will admit, it is a process getting to the place of having your feet firmly planted on the grounds of your worth in Him, but through the process of renewing your mind with God’s word, you will find yourself in a place of peace that cannot be explained and it is impossible to be moved. I want to encourage you that it is possible to live life from a place of uncontainable peace and joy, not moved by the need to please people, rocked by your emotions or swayed by circumstances.
“It is not the load that breaks you down. It is the way you carry it.” C.S. Lewis.
I want to give you some practical steps that I have found to be invaluable in my own life’s journey in discovering my true identity in Jesus. The bible tells us that faith comes through hearing and hearing of the Word, not just once or twice, but over and over again, consistently. Words are powerful, but even more so, God’s Word is all-powerful. If you have had words spoken over you, or you have come to believe someone’s opinion of you, often times these words have been spoken over us through regular occurrence and have taken root in our hearts. Someone close to you has maybe told you repetitively that you will never amount to anything. God’s opposing truth to that lie is you can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).
So here are my practical steps that I pray will help you in discovering your true identity and worth.
1. Spend time with Jesus
Though you may figure this point is a no brainer, I cannot recommend being in relationship with Him enough. Make time for Him everyday, simply being in His presence breaks lies and the bondage of living to please people. The more time you spend with Him, the more you become like Him.
2. Uproot the lies.
Ask the Holy Spirit to begin to reveal to you what lies you have believed about yourself. They will often sound something like this, “I am not worthy, I am not important, I will never reach my dreams, God does not love me the way He loves others.”
3. Replace the lie with Gods Word/His truth about you.
Scripture is filled to overflowing with reminders of God’s assurance, approval, protection and undying love for us. His Word is a powerful sword that when used in the right way, will uproot every lie that has embedded itself into our hearts.
4. Write out who you are and speak it over yourself daily.
This is where Faith comes through hearing. Based on the scriptures the Holy Spirit leads you to, I suggest writing a list of declarations over yourself (you can use what I have written below). Even if you do not believe it at first, by speaking His truth out over yourself, you are coming into agreement with what the Father sees in you.
Life was designed by God and for God. If you have lost your peace, rest safely back into His arms, it is there you will find comfort, rest and joy. He longs for you to come into your true identity and fulfil everything He has purposed and planned for you. Do not waste another day living under the tyranny of emotions, lies and tyranny of people pleasing when you can live free and unshackled.
I am His Beloved – Ephesians 1:5
I am a child of the Light – Ephesians 5:8
“Sometimes we have to be willing to let go of our knowledge and conceptions of who we think we are, and allow God to show us the truth of how He sees us.”
I am accepted - John 6:37
I am defined by Jesus – Galatians 2:20
I am free – Romans 8:1
I am loved – Romans 5:8
I am not alone - Deuteronomy 31:6
I am free from guilt and condemnation- Romans 8:1-2
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me – Philippians 1:6