An Issue​ of Identity – Part Two of Your True Selfie

Day One

Our first home! We had skimped, saved and shifted money around to make it happen.

Even more exciting – this home was brand new. I was able to pick the carpet, paint, light fixtures – everything! (At least everything that I could squeeze into our starter home, small budget.)

But it was going to be ours.

Nearly every day, we visited our soon-to-be-home. We walked on the foundation slab; we wrote scriptures on the wall frames. We discussed, deliberated and debated over countertops, carpet and colors.

It was almost finished. The builders just needed to add the final touches, install the lights and hang the doors on the bedrooms.

As we walked through our future home, dreaming of the family memories we would someday make within these walls, we noticed that one of the bedroom doors wouldn’t completely shut.

We pulled and pushed, jimmied and jammed, but it

just.   wouldn’t.  budge.

Gregg called the contractor and told him our dilemma. To which the contractor replied, “It’s fine. Don’t worry.”

Really?

Not one to let something like this slide, Gregg kindly countered, “I don’t think the wall is straight.”

I don’t think contractors like to have their work criticized and called into question.

The contractor pushed back, hauling out some of his fancy tools to prove the straightness of his structure. The quality of his construction.

Gregg pressed a little more, “Try another wall.”

Gregg and the contractor proceeded to walk through the house going wall to wall in search of the faulty area, which eventually led them outside of our house.

Our brick house.

Turns out, the foundation was slightly off, so when they erected the brick exterior, one portion of the brick exterior was also off. This slight miscalculation threw off the integrity of the whole house.

If you’ve spent any time watching HGTV you understand the dangers that lie in building upon a faulty foundation.

I’ve witnessed Chip break the news to Joanna about dangers he discovered beneath hardwood and drywall.

I’ve watched the Property Brothers renovation budget blown to bits from an unexpected find in the foundation.

They had to fix it.

So they went to work…tearing down brick and rebuilding the wall to code. (I must add that because this was a super simple starter home on a very small budget, the company did just enough to get it to code. They didn’t tear the whole side of the house down and actually repair the foundation.)

My point in sharing this story with you is…

Sometimes, if we’re really honest with ourselves, isn’t this how we live?

How we attempt to navigate life?

Doing just enough to keep our lives afloat.

Just enough to look good so no one sees our pain.

Just enough to get by.

We adjust, adapt, patch, paint, coat and cover the cracks and misalignments in our soul.

But, the problem in doing this, it doesn’t deny the reality:

If the foundation is faulty, the stability of the whole structure is compromised. 

This foundation is your identity.

And one day, with just a little extra pressure on an unexpected area, the weak area will cave and reveal the fractures and fissures as life as you know it comes tumbling down.

Your identity will drive how you live. A broken identity will negatively affect your whole life. It will affect your relationship with God and how you interact with others.

And unless you do the hard work of tearing apart what’s broken, you can’t move forward to live the life God intended you to live.

If your identity is broken, your life is broken.

A broken identity will…

  • Steal your confidence,
  • Destroy your self-worth
  • Hinder your ability to make decisions
  • Keep you from moving forward to fulfill the life God created you to live.

What are some of the things you cling to as an essential part of your identity? If someone asked you to describe yourself, what would you say? How would you respond?

Through the years, I have described myself as Gregg’s wife, Jim and Linda’s daughter, Jennifer’s sister, a student, a campus missionary, a pastor’s wife, and Rebecca, Brandon, Justin, Jordan and Jessica’s mother.

In 1 John 3:1, John is encouraging Christ followers to see themselves in a different light.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1

You are a child of God. Lavished in great love by a good Father.

That is who you are and how God sees you.

You are not identified by what people say about you. You are not defined by your accomplishments or the people you associate with. You are not, “a failure”, “hopeless”, “ugly”, “ordinary”, “stupid”, “fat”, “dysfunctional”…

You get the picture?

Many of us spend far too much time looking at what we once were, thinking about what we are and dreaming about what we wish we could be. Allowing the memories of our past to haunt us like disturbing video clips from a horror movie.

My friend, that’s building on a faulty foundation.

But what if we invested this same amount of time and energy to becoming the person God desires for us to be? Building on the foundation of who He says we are?

God has a high calling on your life. He takes great pleasure in using ordinary, average people to do amazing things. He sees the incredible value, worth and potential in YOU!

He desires for you to become everything He created you to be, which may involve tearing down some walls—habits, attitudes and ways of thinking—and that may be a little scary at first.

But in the end, your identity will be built on a solid, unshakeable foundation that will endure the test of time.

And that is completely worth the work and mess of the renovation.

 

Questions

  1. Do you see yourself as a child of God? Why or why not?
  2. How have you seen a broken identity affect your life?
  3. If someone asked you to describe yourself, how would you respond? What would you say?
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Your True Selfie – The Relentless Pursuit of Who God Created You to Be

Day Five

When our daughters were little, they loved watching the movie, Snow White. Remember how the witch would pose this question to her mirror,

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?”

Daily and with much arrogance, she would wait for and expect the affirmation of her beauty.

But one day the affirmation didn’t come.

And when the mirror candidly replied, “You, my queen, have beauty rare, but Snow White is beyond compare,” the witch’s anger, fear and insecurity manifested in a tirade of emotion as she vowed vengeance on her competition.

While the witch desperately craved the affirmation of her beauty and approval of her worth, I can’t help thinking that we, as women, are not much different.

How often do I “go to the mirror” to measure my worth? My identity? My looks? My weight? To see how my clothes fit? To stare in horror at the gray hair and wrinkles that seem to be multiplying by the day?

How often do I look to other people to build my confidence and affirm my significance? Seeking their approval, desiring their compliments?

How often do I search for value and meaning through my work? Working with messed up motives to fill some void in my life? Avoiding situations where I may fail or look bad?

How much of my life have I invested trying to secure the approval of others? Avoiding conflict, acquiescing, people pleasing because I don’t have the self-confidence to assert myself.

Ouch. Too much.

And then sometimes, when things don’t work out as I had hoped, I respond with the same childlike behavior as the witch! I become angry, and defensive, feeling rejected, anxious and discouraged.

Poor little me. *sigh*

We all have an inborn desire and need for worth and significance.

God created us that way.

We invest a lot of time taking care of the externals, but often fall short when it comes to investing in the internals – our true self. Gradually, we find ourselves sinking in the rut of not enough.

Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not young enough, not old enough, not successful enough, not good enough, not enough as a mom, not enough as a wife, not patient enough, not kind enough…

We can fill our lives with a lot of good things – career, marriage, children, friendships and success, but none is life-giving. None will permanently fill that nagging cry for worth and significance.

None will be enough.

Read how the apostle Paul inspired the Corinthian people in their quest for worth and significance…

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5 It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 2 C

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT

Only God gives us reason to be confident. Only God qualifies us. Only God can eternally fill the void and only God can fully satisfy.

Our sufficiency is completely in Christ alone.

When we look to other people and other things to define our worth, we miss out on being able to embrace the uniqueness of who God has made us to be.

When we scramble and fill our need for worth and significance with people and our performance, we miss out on experiencing the fullness that comes from being filled with the fullness of God.

Depending on your job, husband, children, friends, success in school, or anything else for satisfaction will only leave you longing for more. There will always be someone who is more qualified, more talented, kinder, funnier, smarter, prettier . . . more perfect! Trust me, it will drive you crazy.

Your faith and hope are not anchored in your circumstances. They’re not rooted in your relationships. They’re not built on the foundation of what you can do. They’re anchored in Jesus and His power to radically transform and completely fulfill your life.

You’re invited to join me on this journey as, together, we discover our true selfie and how embracing our identity in Christ gives us the power to change the way we live.

My prayer for you is that in these upcoming devotionals, God would reaffirm his love for you, as you are right now. I hope as you meditate on the scriptures, God would reveal to you, in a greater way, how He really sees you.

Your True Selfie.

 

Take a moment to consider…

  • Can I honestly say I derive my worth completely from God? Where else do I look for my worth and significance? Why do I do that?
  • Where are you feeling “not enough” right now? How does knowing that God is enough, encourage you to live with a different perspective?

Your True Selfie – The Relentless Pursuit of Who God Created You to Be

Day Three

Our move to Nashville was uncomfortable and definitely inconvenient. Then just two years later, we moved again. This time 5000 miles away to Hawaii. A beautiful, but isolated, island deep in the Pacific, more than 2000 miles from the mainland. Literally the deep, deep South, Y’all and far, far West, dude.

I left friends…again. Left family…again. Didn’t have any of my familiar “markers” to comfort me…again. Had to find and familiarize myself with new schools, new friends, new culture, new sports leagues, new grocery stores and new doctors…again.

Even more difficult, our kids left friends, schools, youth groups, and sports teams…again.

And once again, God gently began to unearth – like a shovel tilling soil – the areas in my life where I was looking to the wrong things for my security.

It’s hard to see with long-term perspective when you’re hurting and in the middle of difficult circumstances, but through the years, I’ve come to realize that God will always use the shaking, stirring, chipping, molding in my life to build something special. Something of greater worth to God that will bring him glory and be a blessing to others.

You see, God wants to do something in you so He can do something even greater through you.

And as a sculptor chips away at a marble slab to unveil something beautiful hidden within the marble, God will chip, mold, and shape your life to unveil the true beauty of who He created you to be.

Even in the pain.

Even in the loneliness.

Even in the loss.

Even in the uncertainty.

Your story is unique. Your personality and gifts are like no one else’s. In fact, the Bible says, you are God’s workmanship. His masterpiece.

In case you don’t believe me, let’s read Ephesians 2:10 and catch a glimpse of how God sees you. (This is a good one to write down and memorize.)

Paul writes,

“For we are God_s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

YOU are God’s handiwork, his workmanship. He created you for a specific purpose. All of your difficulties, all of your challenges, all of your struggles can be used for God’s greater purpose. God has an amazing ability to use average, broken people to display his love and power to the world.

Oftentimes, the temptation is to desperately search for what’s missing in our lives and lose sight of what we have been given – the blessing of what’s right in front of us!

In an attempt to rekindle our zest for life and purpose, we go searching for it.

We think, “Perhaps I should get a new job or career?”

Or, “Maybe things will be different if I move to a new city or make new friends?”

Or perhaps, “Should try a new school or get a new hobby?”

And sometimes, this helps.

But most of the time, after awhile, the same problems turn up there, too.

Because the real challenge for us lays not so much in the circumstances around us as it has to do with something within us.

In those moments of confusion, discouragement, monotony and uncertainty its easy to default to looking at the wrong things, the wrong people and the wrong places for worth and value.

But what would happen if, instead of trying to fix our problems by changing our circumstances, we allowed God to change us?  

You are of great worth to God. His masterpiece. Do not doubt that. You are not “not enough”, but more than enough because of a gracious, loving and merciful God who desires to do immeasurably more in your life.

In the routine of life, God has a beautiful treasure for you. In your everyday activities, He desires for you to live fulfilled and satisfied. Through the dark and difficult times, He has made his peace and grace available to you.

God wants to rekindle your passion for life, not by necessarily changing your circumstances, surroundings or physical appearance, but by slowly, gently, graciously changing you to reveal your true selfie.

Henri Nouwen, in his book, The Life of the Beloved writes, “The spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming.”1

Take a moment to consider…

  • What are some places or things you look to for your security and worth? Why?
  • What things stand in your way from seeing your life as preciously created by God for a unique and special purpose?
  • Why is it sometimes easier for us to change our circumstances than it is to allow God to change us?

 

1 Nouwen, as quoted by Staci Eldredge in Captivating: A Guided Journal(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005) p. viii