Identity: Knowing Who You are and Who God Is
I sobbed, a crumpled mass on the floor. I didn't know how to get my identity from God. I thought the people around me—especially the people who loved me—would do that. The message I was receiving was crushing. I took in the message, in part, because I looked for them to tell me my worth. I was unfairly demanding others to answer my unspoken request and, at the same time, damaging myself.
Other people are not designed to answer my core questions about identifying and value. They can't fill the answer—even if they wanted to. Some know that identity and worth are at stake but have alterior motives with their answers—speaking positively when they are getting what they want and negatively when they are not. As a power play, it can be an effective means of manipulation.
As a wounded bird, I flitted from one person to another asking (not ever directly), “Am I I worthwhile? Am I loved? Am I beautiful?” If the answer came back “yes,” I felt elated—only for a moment. It never lasted. I tasked myself with flying on to the next person. Never felt rest, even on a day when my question was answered a thousand times ,”Yes!” Those days came when I was on top of my game, but no one can be on top of their game all of the time.
What happened when I was sub-par or, even worse, when I was at my worst? People gave normal responses. They didn't like what I did. I had let them down, and they let me know it. Because I didn't know who I was, those normal responses were crushing. Sure, they could have been more gentle or gracious. Most people were kind, but at the time, anything less than affirmation was condemnation.
While I knew about Romans 8, I hadn't internalized the message of identity. Somewhere along the way, I agreed that God accepted and love me, but that agreement didn't reach all the way to my identity. I thought God had my salvation question answered but gave my value and worth question to others.
Living as I did was miserable. Miserable for me and for those around me. Wise and godly people came into my life and challenged my thinking. Some of those people came to me via good books. Others were counselors and friends. First, they told me I was looking for my identity in other people. (I didn't realize I was asking an identity question.) Then they encouraged me to turn to God with my question.
Truth in song
The question of who I am I wholly found in knowing who God is and then in who he says I am. This song by Chris Tomlin speaks this message so well.
For those who are struggling with identity, this message of a good Father and being loved is hard to take it. (Maybe it feels untrue.) Listen and take it in. It's truth in song.
Take time to surround yourself with truth. Time in the Bible. Time in godly community. Time well worth investing in. God is a good, good Father. That's who he is. And you are loved by him. That's who you are.