If I had a nickel for every time I have heard the phrase “find your identity in Christ,” I think I could be rich.
But what does that even mean? I’ve been wrestling with identity for the past month. To know who I am when my “labels” have changed. I’ve moved towns. I lost my mom. Our church has changed and with it the places where I was serving.
If my identity had been wrapped up in belonging to a certain town or church, I’d probably be in a huge crisis right about now.
If I didn’t understand the way that God has wired me to think and be, then I wouldn’t be in a place to be writing this today.
I’ve been doing a short challenge to figure out what my “brand” is. What’s the purpose behind my writing. The why behind what I say and do here on this blog. It’s clarifying things for me. It’s pinpointing certain things about my identity I didn’t realize before.
Finding my identity in Christ means I take the things he has already instilled in me and work to bring him glory through those things.
Still unclear? Absolutely.
What I do know is this. God has given some the tools needed to help us figured out the how and why. And we have to take advantage of those things to better understand how he has equipped us to live on this earth.
I could stake all that I know on the fact that I am an Enneagram 5. But I bet that only helps 5 of you understand a little bit more about me. I could tell you I’m an ISFJ. But again, if you don’t speak Myers-Briggs it doesn’t make sense.
Those things do explain to me a little bit about what drives me. They remind me that I have to step beyond myself. I have to take my nose out of the book and look at the world around me. I have to bring myself to the table. Even when it’s uncomfortable or not what I expected to be saying/thinking/doing.
A new identity.
My identity in Christ never changes. I can rest solely in the fact that He has saved me and I am a child of his forever. But I was also created for more than that. I was created to bring Him glory. And I can’t do that if I don’t step into the identity, then I’m giving up a little bit of myself.
I’ve been resisting for a while now this idea that because I’m writing a book about grief that I’ll become the “grief lady.” I don’t want the labels of the “sad girl.” But at the same time that I’m resisting what I think the outside world might label me as, God is again showing me His grace as I wrestle again through a season of grief.
Grief never looks the same. And we grieve so many things in this life. But I know that there is HOPE. There’s One who bottles our tears (Psalm 56:8). There’s one who knows our sorrows intimately (John 11).
I’ve been reminded so many times in the last month that Jesus went before. He felt all the things. Nothing we experience on earth is a foreign idea to him. He’s intimately aware.
We grieve with HOPE.
And because of that, we grieve with Hope. We grieve the emptiness beside us. But it’s not the end. And we can have joy and happiness again.
And so, with that HOPE in mind, this little space here on the internet is about to become a whole lot more focused.
The journey of grief isn’t one I’d wish on anyone. And yet I know we will all experience grief in some facet of life. Whether it’s a dream, plans that completely blow up or the loss of a loved one. There’s a place for you in this space.
So, I while I’m completely afraid of becoming the “sad, grief lady,” I’m 100% wanting to walk into the place God has created for me. I don’t know where this journey leads. I can’t fight anymore the message that God has given me. And I want others to find the hope and healing that I have as well.
This is going to be a place that points towards healing. With lessons I’ve learned and so much more. And I’m excited about this journey.
What you do in the crisis matters.
I can’t just talk about identity crisis without sharing some of what I’ve realized throughout this month as I’ve battled my own identity crisis
Pay attention to the discord you’re feeling.
One of the things I’ve noticed is a feeling of being uncomfortable with the trajectory of things. As I paid attention to the places that weren’t sitting quite right, I realized my focus was off. I wasn’t walking down the path God created and He was working to let me know that in a very subtle way.
Pay attention to what brings a sense of peace, rightness, or overall joy.
What are those things that fill your tank so to speak? I’m not saying that everything that feels right actually is right. But it might give you a hint that you’re headed in the direction you should be going.
Notice the repeated messages.
Often, I find God is trying to get my attention when a message is repeated many times. Or I notice that something new pops up that helps further explain or unpack a message I’d already heard. As messages build on one another, they make things more clear.
Once you’ve noticed those places of discord, that sense of rightness and the repeated messages, it’s time to start writing. Even if you’re not a writer, this is probably the most important step you’ll take. There’s something highly freeing about sitting down with a pen and paper and just writing out the thoughts in your mind. Write out what’s not sitting right in your soul. What is working and what’s being repeated. As you write it out, I think you’ll find that things work themselves out and your purpose (and identity) will become clearer.