Identity has been always been a question of concern and a subject of conflict, and it’s one that none of us are exempt from. Just in case you’re wondering, reflecting on the people and things you want to be associated with are natural points of interest that arise in seasons of transition. You’re not overly dramatic, so let’s talk about how to renew your identity in the Lord because it is an ongoing process.
Benches Not Platforms
If I’m going to be honest, I’ve been questioning a few things about how I want to be identified a lot lately. It’s true that there are a few things set in stone. I am a child of God, a believer in Christ, and I love people. However, there are other factors about how I live that out that I am always reflecting on, and I think that’s healthy.
In a world where people consistently encourage us to charge higher prices and steward our platforms well so that we may one day reach celebrity status, I’m more and more interested and captivated by humility.
I love how Hope*Writers encourages others to build benches, not platforms, and I have been blessed beyond expectation by incredible women who have invited me into their spaces through private events for nominal fees. Because, let’s be honest, the subscriptions we pay to do all the things can get pricey.
But that’s just a light example of one way I’m navigating this. I’d be lying if I said that finding the courage to invite the Lord to renew my identity in Him (at any point) has been easy. It’s been anything but that.
Redefining My Identity For Me
I attended twelve different schools as I was growing up. I went back and forth between public and private schools, year after year. Although, I now recognize that it was my parent’s way of keeping me safe and acting upon my best interests, transitioning was hard.
It was hard because people were always redefining my identity for me. Some of the girls at the private schools I attended thought I was “ghetto,” and laughed every time they said it as if they were hilarious. To my dismay, I met the same nonsense at the public schools I attended, too. Kids usually laughed and accused me of being “too proper” or worse, “talking white.”
I felt as if I couldn’t “get right,” and I found myself questioning what I wanted to be known for and with whom I wanted to be associated early on.
So I renamed myself.
Demanding. Bold. Unafraid (In The Worst Ways). I invited trauma to help me establish my identity, and it was not healthy.
What about you?
Regardless of whether you’re young or you’re maturing in age much more quickly than you want to every day, I want to remind you that what you focus on will magnify. That thing is actively contributing to your identity in the Lord so be careful.
Every day, we have the ability to decide how we’re going to respond to life and allow God’s Word to define us. Conversely, we also have the opportunity to resist it and let the world choose our identifiers. I’d like to make a case for the first.
When I Think of Those Who Help Me, I Think Of…
When I think of those who help me navigate intense seasons of transition and questions of personal identity, I think of Naomi. We meet Naomi in the book of Ruth, and in a very short time, we realize that this woman knew grief-almost too well. She knew it so well she decided to rename herself. What was the name she chose for herself? Mara.
She renamed herself bitter.
You see, her grief caused her to face an identity crisis. After having lost everyone she’d loved and everything she’d known to death, she decided to associate herself with grief. We are not alone, so what has attempted to define you, sis?
Victimized. Bitter. Alone.
I have called myself Bitter, too. I’ve also called myself Driven, Victimized, and Alone. Driven when I wanted to prove those who’d bullied me wrong. Victimized when I became tired of getting up out of the bed. Alone when I wanted an excuse to walk away from the relationships that required me to accept responsibility for my actions.
Regardless of what you’ve called yourself in the past, I am here to tell you that you are coming out of this area of confusion, stress, overwhelming anxiety, and fear more powerful and more aware of God’s presence in your life.
Although, Naomi had lost almost everything, God had blessed her with one thing-or person-in particular. Her daughter-in-law, Ruth, never left her side unless it was to work to provide for the two of them.
Yet, it wasn’t until Naomi became curious about what the Lord was doing that she was able to see that the Lord was still providing. In Ruth 2:18-19, we see that Naomi asked Ruth where she’d found food that day, and I can just imagine the hope beginning to glow within Naomi as she listened.
God Had Blessed Her With Ruth
Ruth had been permitted to pick grain in Boaz’s field, and Boaz just so happened to be her kinsman redeemer, one of two men who could marry her to carry on her husband’s name. Through Naomi’s mentorship, Ruth positioned herself to be married, and Naomi was saved.
When we read the end of the book of Ruth, we learn that the same women who questioned Naomi at the beginning of the book began to praise her. They praised her for Ruth, the one who had been better than seven sons.
God Wants to Redeem Your Identity
God wants to redeem your identity as you begin to focus on the blessings He’s provided that have remained in your life throughout every transition. He wants redeem your hope in the things you have today. He wants to redeem the gratitude and joy you experience in the most important relationship you have of all: the one with Him, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
How To Renew Your Identity in the Lord
If you are ready to invite the Lord to establish your identity in Him, I’d like to suggest that you:
- Read what the Word says about Who He Is. Some of my favorite scriptures are 1 Chronicles 29:11, John 3:16-17, Colossians 1:16, and Hebrews 1:3. Once you recognize who’s speaking to you, you’ll be able to receive His message about who you are with more interest.
- Read what the Word says about who you are. Some of my favorite scriptures are Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13-14, Jeremiah 1:5, and John 1:12.
- Think and journal about the painful experiences you’ve been through that you’ve allowed to identify you.
- Get curious about what God is doing in your life.
- Find verses that speak to your new identity in Christ. For instance if you have ever identified as anxious, find scriptures that encourage your heart to recognize the Peace you have access to in Christ Jesus.
Scriptures About God
Need a few scriptures about who God is so that you can trust His message more clearly? Try a few these.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
-1 Chronicles 29:11
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Scriptures About You
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
How to Find Verses To Help You Redefine Yourself
Verses to Identify as Peaceful (Instead of Anxious)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
-2 Thessalonians 3:16
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
-Psalm 23 (NIV)
Father God, I don’t like the labels I’ve allowed others to assign me. I have heard You call me a safe, secure, stable, sound child of God, but I don’t always feel safe, secure in who You created me to be, stable in my circumstances, or sound in my decision making. However, I know that You do not lie. I invite You to renew my identify, according to You will and Your word. I love You, and I trust You, in Jesus’ name, amen.