What is your Identity? Who are you?
A couple of weeks ago, my pastor pointed out what we think about at least once in our lives. I’ve heard this question from many friends. I have been a lucky person to answer this question for myself. My pastor said “We all have two basic questions: What am I? And What am I to do?” I believe that’s true. The first philosophical question that I learned, I was a small child: What is the meaning of life?
Identity. Who am I? I want to tell you how I learned my true identity. In 2018, I went the first time to Ash Wednesday service at church. I had never been before and had never been involved in it before. I’d never participated in a lent observance before. I was curious so I went.
The church was packed. Full of people. The worship team was leading a song – “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship. As the music began to play, I sang along. It was one that I knew, one I liked a lot. At the first chorus, I sang along “I am a child of God; Yes, I am”. I felt this tingle and elation in my chest.
I often get choked up worshiping and thinking of God. That love he gives moves my heart and often brings me to tears. I love to worship in community and to listen to the loving songs being sung. So, I closed my eyes. I listened. The next chorus came in. I listened. Then I heard God speak to my heart.
“I am my Father’s daughter.” The thought floated swiftly and certainly across my mind. I knew it in my heart. I knew it. That is my identity. That is who I am.
Not just a child, but his child. Not just a daughter, but his daughter. And lovingly compared. I resemble him in my ways just as Jesus did. I look like him, I have been made in his image. I am his creation, he blew his breath into my lungs and gave me life. Having been made from dust, I am the clay, lovingly and perfectly created.
I am my Father’s daughter. This is my identity. This is who I am.
I am not my name. I am not my job. I am not my husband or family. I am not what I have done. I am not the mistakes I have made. I am not what has been done to me. I am not who the accusers say I am. I am not my achievements. I am not anything that is of this world.
I am my Father’s daughter. I am loved, seen, known, held, protected, chosen, salt and light, and purposed.
What we looked at. Already this year, we’ve talked about who do we want to be and what do we want life to look like. The next appropriate question is: who am I now? I already know that my identity lies in who God created me to be – His daughter. This is who we are without relation to our social status or our social position. For example, when we are usually asked the standard question “who are you”, we answer with our name, our job title or position (lawyer, teacher, doctor, etc), and our familial status (mom, dad, married, single, siblings etc). Yet, who we are is independent of all of these.
Also, beyond that identity, I’m finding that many people have no idea who they are. I find many of us don’t have current hobbies, don’t know what things we prefer over other things, or what we like to do or don’t like. This is especially the case when we have just been freed from an abusive relationship. Our whole human identity seems to have been compromised and changed during our captivity and abuse. We have to rediscover who we are. If we don’t discover who we are, then it’s time to create who we are. We have often sacrificed our self on the altar of love and relationships.
The last aspect is our identity that includes the person who was broken or abandoned. The identity that we form as the result of our pain is what allows us to accept the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse from our partners. This is the piece that got twisted somehow in our past. It’s our father wound, our mother wound, our pain at not measuring up, our not-good-enough wound, our sexual assault wound, our victimization wound. Whatever it looks like at the start is the piece that someone else caused some sort of pain, usually out of their brokenness, that twists a part of us inside and we integrate it into our world view. The thing that happened, that you may or may not remember, that’s the thing that makes the abuse acceptable.
Our identity is made up of pieces:
- Our God-given Identity. This is who God says we are.
- Our human-created identity. This is the person who we gave away and the person who we recreate or create new when we leave our abuser and walk the path of being a survivor.
- Our wounded identity. This is the part of us that makes us find the abuse acceptable.
Once we know whose we are, who we are, and what pieces we need to fix. We can move on to the other stuff – why am I here and what do I do about it.
If you didn’t read the prior post in this series you can start here and here. The first questions we asked were: 1) what do I want life to look like? 2) who do I want to be? The next questions that we need to address right now are: 1) who am I now? 2) how do I get to who I want to be from where I am right now?
I think it’s necessary to work through who we want to be because it creates a vision to walk towards and a box in which to put all the pieces we’ll be collecting along the way. The next questions are necessary so that we can have a starting piece. Then we have a pathway piece when we begin trying to understand how to get from where we are now to where we want to be.
After all these questions comes the next big question that seems the most common question that people ask themselves and their God. Why am I here? That’s the purpose question and we’ll address it next time.
Roadmap. Once we’ve identified our identity in who we are now and who we want to be. The next step is to identify our purpose: What are we here for? The next steps after that are to make decisions in small pieces that will get us from where we are now to where we want to be. I think that is what living the good life looks like. I think it will take months of living into those changes with the vision ahead of us. I’m not certain we ever meet the end of the road where there’s an arrival at the good life. I think that there’s a constant state of adjustment, of throwing off the things that trip us up and distract us from our purpose. I think that living the good life is, figuring out why you’re here and pursuing it for the rest of the time you’re here on earth.
Conclusion. There are a couple of ways to know who God says you are. You can ask him. This requires prayer and attention. I believe God always answers our prayers, just not always the way we expect, or with the answers we expect. This can be a part of your journaling – ask the question and write down the answers.
Another way is to read through the New Testament and see what Jesus says. If you don’t know, I’m walking through the New Testament in a year. Basically, you read a chapter a day every day through the end of the year, read this here. I also gave a free printable for you to track your progress here. Jesus makes several “you are…” statements throughout the gospels. The writers of the remaining books of the new testament also give “you are…” statements. It is my goal to collect them all through this year.
What do you think? What progress have you made thus far? Ar you just starting? I’d love it if you entered the conversation. Leave a comment below.