A Reflection on What I Learned about Identity

Last December, I chose one word as my theme for the coming year.

Identify

Of course, the vision I had for that word going into the year turned out different than how it looks in reflection. Going into the year, I had a neat little outline of how I was going to make it meaningful. Instead, God did His work in my life, and along the way, I have learned some priceless lessons about identity and identifying.

1. I could write a great deal more on the following notion, and probably will in the future, but for now I’m sticking to the highlights of what I learned. We as humanity obsess over our identity and what defines us. I’m no exception to this rule, and through the experiences of the past twelve months, I’ve been learning to let go of titles and descriptions that are irrelevant in the eyes of God. Case in point:

2. This has been my year to claim grace as what my identity is wrapped up in. It started by reading the book, “Grace for the Good Girl” by Emily Freeman. I was privileged to grow up in a home where grace was taught and lived out, but for too long I quietly held onto the title of being a “good girl.” Of course, growing up, messing up, and learning more about God’s Word have taught me volumes about who I truly am without God, but the timing of reading that book was exactly when I was starting to put it all together in a way that renewed me. Being “good” is not enough. God’s grace is.

Identity

3. While being judgmental is no good, having good judgment is crucial. We are all going to go through difficult circumstances beyond our control throughout life. It’s in those times that our faith and character will be put to the test. Odds are, you, like me, faced at least one, if not many times of testing over the last year. It’s just part of life. God has used those times to test and grow my own faith and to require me to die more to myself. I’ve also learned to be on guard. We live in perilous times, no matter how much we try not to think about it. Part of my duty as a follower of Jesus is to be on the lookout for anyone who is not a sheep but is disguised as one. Wolves and goats can put on some pretty convincing sheep costumes sometimes, but they will only bring harm. Scripture clearly states that we must remove ourselves from the fakers who are trying to bring us down.(Romans 16:17-20, Matt. 7:15-23)  It’s been one of the most difficult realizations I’ve faced in my life, but I’m finding a new level of freedom because of it.

4. I don’t have to be defined by _____________. This has been my mantra this year. See this post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for a better explanation. The main takeaway is that my identity will only be satisfactory to me when I find my identity in Christ. Far too easily, I give into the temptation to obsess over how I wish a scenario would play out or what I hope to be able to prevent by my actions, but I’m not the one in control of my life. I don’t end up any better off by fretting over my circumstances. It’s only God’s Word pouring continual messages of His grace, love, and wisdom that bring the peace I crave, and that gift is the greatest one I could ever receive.

Did you claim a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear which one you chose for 2013 and how it benefited you. I’ll be sharing my new word in the next couple of days. Just thinking about it excites me!

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