Have you ever got up in the morning, looked in the mirror and asked yourself, “Who in the world is that person looking back at me? Who am I?”
Some days I look at myself in the mirror and I’m like, “Yikes!” The Susie I know in my mind doesn’t have a double chin or wrinkles around her eyes or between her brows. And what about that gray hair sticking straight off my head like a rooster’s?
Now, I’m just being a little silly, but…The change in our physical appearance is simply an illustration of what happens inside of us sometimes. An identity crisis, if you will.
There are at least two distinct times in my life when I experienced a complete loss of my identity. The first, when I left the religious denomination in which I was raised. The second was during the divorce. Two life-changing, identity crisis-invoking situations.
I was raised in a legalistic, works-based religion. For those of you who may not understand what I mean by “works-based,” it means that I was taught that salvation through belief in Jesus Christ was not enough to gain entrance into heaven. Salvation was a 3 step process, not just a confession of faith in Jesus. A lengthy list of rules or “standards” in order to obtain holiness and favor with God was expected. The guilt and fear associated with this kind of teaching became a stronghold in my life. I never felt like I could measure up to what God expected of me, but I sure did try my hardest! I found myself lost and insecure when I was no longer told exactly what to do in life. I completely lost who I was, or who I thought I was.
One night, as I prayed for direction for my life, God revealed to me who I am in Christ. How He sees me. This is what He said…
You are holy and without blame before me in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
You are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
You are forgiven of all your sins and washed in the Blood (Ephesians 1:7).
You are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
The encounter I had with God that night changed the entire course of my life, forever. I have never been the same since. To hear and understand what He thinks about me has changed the way I view myself and others, the way I treat myself and others. God is not sitting up in heaven waiting to beat me over the head or send me to hell any second of the day if I don’t “measure up” to every rule and regulation. This knowledge has given me the permission to lay down my own gavel. I am many things for my Lord, but judge, I am not.
The divorce. If you’ve been through it, you are going to be able to relate 100%. Activities within my marriage by my spouse had caused a great decline in my self-esteem, as well as my basic worth as a human being. I had to ask my self the question, “Who is Susie without ___?” It’s been Susie and __ for so many years, now what? I spiraled down a self-destructive thought process. I was angry with God and the world for what I was going through. I basically felt like a big ole’ piece of crap…yes, I said it. Discarded, worthless crap. I was afraid of what would come next. I was worried about being alone and all that goes with being a single mom. But God, in His infinite love and grace, has a way of reaching down into the pit that we are in and pulling us out. These are the sweet, healing words He spoke to me during the most difficult time in my life…
You have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
You have no lack for your God supplies all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
You are a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).
You are more than a conqueror through Him Who loves you (Romans 8:37).
You are an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony (Revelation 12:11).
You are part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).
You are the head and not the tail; You are above only and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).
You are greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
For God has not given you a spirit of fear; but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
You have given, and it is given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men give into my bosom (Luke 6:38).
My banner over you is love. (Song of Solomon 2:4)
You the apple of My eye; you are hidden under the shadow of My wings. (Psalm 17:8)
You are My elect, full of mercy, kindness, humility, and longsuffering (Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12).
Where are in you in your life? Are you lost? Are you confused? Are you insecure? Are you listening to those people around you, speaking destruction into your life? Are you allowing the circumstances of your life to define you, to categorize you, to put you in a box?
God knows where you are. And, He knows WHO you are. Don’t listen to what the world and your insecurities say about you…you’re not worthless, stupid, ugly, no good…Listen to the One who created you. Know His truth about you. He knows your name. He really knows YOU. He’ll hear you when you call out to Him. Ask Him, “Who am I?” He’ll tell you. Just like He did me. The words He has spoken to me are true for you, too.
Here are the lyrics to a song by Matthew West that perfectly describe who we are…
“Hello, My Name Is”
Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget
Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief
Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life
What love the Father has lavished upon us that we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King!
“You Are More”
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide
She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”
But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.
Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight
She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try
But don’t you know who you are?
‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.