13 May True Identity
Kind, compassionate, fun, organized, energetic, creative….
A loser, ugly, a failure, depressed, worthless, a burden,
A girl, a boy, a mother, a father, sister, brother….
I sometimes ask my clients to finish this statement, “I am…”. The answers above are some of the answers I hear. Who we believe we are has a profound impact on how we live. Jesus has an interesting conversation in Matthew 16:13-19 with one of His disciples where Jesus asks Simon who others say Jesus is followed by who Simon says Jesus is. I find Jesus’ response interesting. He says, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” He continues by telling Simon who he is.
Why do I find this interesting? Jesus’ identity was not influenced by humans, but only by God himself and others defined him differently than God defined Him. At this particular time, his identity was not based on His character or his appearance or his good deeds and miraculous works, but it was based only on where He came from and His purpose on earth. I also think he intentionally sets this example before defining Simon’s identity.
In Brene Brown’s book, “Braving the Wilderness” she says that if we go around looking for evidence that we don’t belong or that we’re not good enough, we will ALWAYS find it. Our identity and our worthiness is not found in external sources be it people or circumstances, but our identity is fixed and our worthiness must come from within. In fact, the more we look for our worthiness in the people around us through comparison or approval, the more likely we are to deny our true selves.
I used to think of myself as a runner. Not just a runner, but a good one, a fast one. I have chosen to pursue some other things in my life over the past few years that are important to me and I haven’t been running as much as I used to. Last week I ran with a new running partner and struggled to keep up. She was really fast and didn’t seem to be struggling as much as I felt I was. I really enjoyed our run together, but after our run I realized something. I felt insecure and “less than” because I no longer felt I was the fast runner I had attached my identity to before. This is a sign to me that I still have some work to do on knowing my identity and my worthiness. I saw myself as a fast runner instead of seeing myself as someone who runs. My value is not tied up in my achievements and successes or in what other people say about me. Who I am is not found in other humans, yet sometimes I still get caught up in looking to others to decide my worth. I still try to define myself by how I look or what I do.
Where do you place your value? Does your worthiness come from within or are you looking for it in other people, seeking their approval or comparing yourself to them to see how you measure up? Understanding your true identity and knowing your worthiness from within is ongoing and does not come easy. However, the less we depend on other humans to define us, the closer we become to who we are truly meant to be.