Sunday, September 18, 2011

Missing Identity

One of the themes I’ve noticed a lot lately, with many of my friends and even random people I interact with, is a sense of missing identity. I cannot tell you how many conversations I had while I was home that reflected some, part, or all of the following:

I’m just not myself lately. I feel like I’m not doing what I should be doing. I feel as if there is something bigger out there for me. I feel like I’m missing something. I try and try, but I just can’t get ahead. I can’t stop thinking about when I did X, Y, or Z. I feel guilty about what I've done in the past. I know God has forgiven me, but I still feel the weight of what I did in my life. I feel as if the decisions I’m making are not right. I have no satisfaction in my job. I just wish God would talk to me and tell me what I’m supposed to do. I am so passionate about X, but I’m working in Y. I feel like God is angry at me. I feel like I can’t talk to God right now. I feel like a great, big disappointment. I feel sad. I feel disconnected. I feel like I’m losing myself. I used to be so passionate about life, but now I’m just trudging along in the day to day. I used to know what I love to do, but I have bills to pay. Same old same old. So unfulfilled.

So many women that I’ve met have this same story. They feel like they knew who they were when they were younger, but as they have aged, they’re not living and working in any of their passions. They feel disconnected to themselves, the church community, and to God. They feel like great, big disappointments. It’s as if they have a case of stolen or lost identity.

It was the same with Eve. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, God came to them and told them their identity. He said “You are made in my image and that is VERY good.” He created them to do exactly what he had done, create! He made them a perfect match, soul mates, taken from the same substance. He told them to be fruitful and multiply. To subdue the earth. Being fruitful and multiplying was a job and an identity. Something to be and something to do. And it was specifically designed for them! THEN God created a garden just for the happy couple. He knew exactly what they would need to do and be what he made them to do and be. He gave them security and provision. He provided a place and a home. He provided communication and fellowship with Himself (and provided the animals as well).

Fast-forward a few days. Enter the serpent. The craftiest of all creatures. And what did he do? He lied to Eve. But not just any lie. He took the very identity that God gave and questioned it. He made Eve feel like she was missing something. Missing out on something bigger and better. That God was some how withholding a piece of Himself from her. He told her that if she ate the fruit she would be like God… But wait a minute! Didn’t God just tell her that? Didn’t He just get done saying “I made you in my image and it’s very good”? Didn’t He give Eve her identity by saying you are like me in every way?

This is the oldest lie and it continues to be the easiest for Satan to tell. He knows what God speaks over us. He can see our giftings and he knows our identity, as image bearers of the Almighty God. Satan loves, just like with Eve, to come in and take whatever God has spoken over our lives and lie to us about it. That’s what I see is being taken from women today. I can see the gifts and passions they had from their younger years and how they used to walk in their identity but the cares and worries and lies of this life have come in and snatched their joy. There is an enemy that is happy to lie to us about our identity. And it’s really easy for him. All he has to do is see our potential and say, “did God really give that to you as a passion? Would God really let you have fun at your job and do something you love? Would He really design a job for you that you would enjoy doing?” Or “Would God really love you enough to talk to you and tell you exactly why He made you the way He did? Would God really make your personality that way?” Or “Did God really say He gave you an extroverted personality so you could share the gospel with your neighbors?” “Did God really say He made you love cooking so you could be hospitable to strangers?” “Did God really give you a gift of teaching so you could teach preschoolers to love nature because it reflects God?”

People, the enemy is so sneaky! He takes truth and twists it ever so slightly. In such a small way that if we’re not paying attention we get sucked into it hook, line, and sinker! I look back on my own life and can see so many times where the enemy has told me little lies about myself…you’re too tall, you stick out so bad. You’re too outspoken, you don’t know when to talk and when to shut up. You’re not politically correct when you talk, you may offend someone. But wait! God made me tall. My family is tall. Maybe I stick out for a reason. So when I’m leading teams in crowded downtown San Jose they can all see me without getting lost. Maybe I’m tall to help short people reach things from tall shelves. Maybe I’m tall because God loves tall. So I’m outspoken. Maybe God wants to use that to speak for justice. Maybe I need to use my voice and not be afraid of what other people think to make impact for justice. To stick up for the little people, the poor, the broken. Maybe I’m not politically correct like Jesus or Paul or Peter were not "politically" correct. What if I was meant to share the truth as the Lord tells me and not try to change it because I am afraid of what another person may or may not think?

I challenge each of you reading this to look at your life. To ask the Holy Spirit to show you the lies you are holding on to and ask Him to speak truth over you again. To help you see what the devil is lying to you about. Don't let the devil steal what is rightfully yours, an identity and a purpose. God refresh our minds to hear your truth again. God thank you for speaking truth to us. Reveal your heart for us again. Show us your love and your truth and your plan. Remind us again of who we are and what you’ve destined us to be. Open our eyes to see you and our ears to hear you. Remind us that you do have a perfect plan for each of us. An identity. A role. A mission. A calling. A community and fellowship.

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