On Identity

Who are you?

Who am I?

Sometimes, our perspective on the topic of identity can get a little distorted.

There are several titles I could use to describe myself, so I might respond to this question with at least one of the following: “I’m a wife. I’m a mom; I’m a homemaker; I’m a missionary. I’m a writer; I’m a Sunday School teacher; I’m an advocate for family-based orphan care; I’m Chief Mess-Picker-Upper and Coffee-Consumer.”

But these are mere titles of roles that I do not always fill very well. They are not who I am.

Maybe you might answer this question with a list of things that you do, your degrees, your career path, the mission work you’ve done, your political affiliation, or the lifestyle choices you’ve made.

But while these may describe things you do, believe, or have done, they are not who you are.

So, who am I?

Sometimes, I get so busy doing all of the things that I forget who I am, and I wander off the path of grace-filled and joyful security and service.

I get lost, and in my fear of being lost, I attempt to build a secure identity around myself by doing more or serving more. Soon, I’m stuck in a cycle of endless doing, doing, doing in a desperate attempt to validate the shaky identity I have created for myself.

Instead of serving Jesus because I love him, I’m serving to earn his favor and the affirmation of others for my own self-worth and identity.

I ought to serve. I ought to do. I ought to work hard and well. When I serve my Savior because I love him, I find joy and satisfaction. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

But if I am working as if my identity and worth depend on all that I am struggling, sweating, and hustling to build “for Him” to validate myself, then I will never have peace or fulfillment. What’s worse, the fruit of my labor will die away once I’m gone.

If I am living as if my identity and worth come from what I do, then I must ask myself—who am I really doing all of this for?

I might enjoy temporary satisfaction with myself when what I am doing seems successful.

But what happens to this shaky identity when those works don’t work, those little kingdoms I’m building crumble, the results I’m trying so hard for don’t ever come to fruition, or I simply grow old and tired?

Who am I then?

I ought to ask “Who am I?” on a regular basis, but I also need to make sure I am asking it from the right perspective.

Not, “Who do these works and accomplishments say that I am?”

Not, “Who does this title in front of my name say that I am?”

Not, “Who do my failures say that I am?”

Not, “Who does my appearance, the year of my car, or the size of my house say that I am?”

Not, “Who does my social media platform say that I am?”

Not, “Who does the behavior and grades of my children say that I am?”

Not, “Who does my ministry say that I am?”

Not, “Who does my career or degree say that I am?”

The answers to those questions may describe the outward me; they may describe what I do which may hint at my identity; but they do not say who or whose I am.

The question I need to really be asking myself is, “Who does God say that I am?”

God says I am his child and royal heir. (Galatians 4:7)

God says I am a Christian, saved by his amazing grace. (Ephesians 2:8)

God says I am light. (Matthew 5:14)

God says I am his work of art, (Ephesians 2:10) made in his image. (Genesis 1:27)

God says I am a temple. (1 Cor 6:19)

God says I am his beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)

God says I am Aleassa. (John 10:3)

God says I am his friend. (John 15:15)

I am not my works.

I am not what I have built.

I am not my successes.

I am not my failures.

I am HIS, and he accepts me in spite of what I do—not because of what I do—because of the work that his Son has already completed.

When I see myself in light of who God says I am, what I do ceases to be about me and the identity I am trying to paste on myself. In fact, the question changes into two questions.

It is no longer a question of “Who am I?”

The questions are now, “Who is He?” and “Who does He say that I am?”

Your identity rests in Who you belong to, not in what you do for Him.

Who do you belong to?

Who is He?

Who does He say you are?

Search the Word.

Find those answers.

It is when we have the answers to the right questions that our service ceases to be a defeating struggle for identity and worth, and transforms into a natural and joyful outpouring of the security and love that comes from resting in Him.