Finding Your Identity in Christ

“It must be nice to never speak before thinking it through.” Someone once said to me.

Well, thats a nice thought BUT I have two problems with that statement.

  1. It’s not true. I wish it was, 🙂 but the truth is I often say things I wish I could take back because I spoke before I thought.
  2. Often I overthink and end up not saying something that should have been said.

Thats where I’m at right now. To speak or not to speak?

Considering the fact that I’m currently sitting in front of my computer I guess I already made the decision to speak. (or in this case to write.)

Now I’m trying to decide if I’m going to be blunt or if I’m going to beat around the bush and hope my point is taken.

Actually as I typed that I knew that I already know the answer. I don’t like confrontation so I will be beating around the bush. So if your reading this you might want to try reading between the lines. Ha 🙂

I know. Whatever.

My last post was on pride and this one could be labeled the same but in the end I concluded that the issue here runs deeper then pride.

I believe this is an identity crisis.

I believe that our actions speak loudly about where we find our identity…

Imagine someone who very obviously knows who she is in Christ. She has a deep inner peace that quite honestly can’t be put into words. She is quietly confident that she is loved by Jesus exactly as she is. She has the ability to walk away and not participate in gossip, but she also has the ability to speak when necessary. She is there and she supports those who are hurting. I’m pretty sure she isn’t noticed by many because she isn’t trying to be noticed, she is simply passing on the love of Christ. The most amazing thing is this: I don’t think this is how she would describe herself, I think, she would say the exact opposite. Which makes sense, really, because it isn’t her that you are seeing. It is Christ in her that shines so brightly. She has found her identity in him and because of it God can freely work through her.

I read this phrase awhile back and I liked it alot.

I must become less so he can become more.

I like it because its a great way to picture what happens when we allow Christ to become God over our life. As we give up our rights and die to self, we fade away, our selfishness, pride and what not becomes less and less visible as we are transformed by the blood of the lamb to become more and more like him. We become less visible and he becomes more visible. 

Isn’t that simply  incredible?!

Now imagine someone who has not yet found her identity in Christ but rather is looking for it in people. She is driven to be recognized for what she is doing. She needs to feel needed. It looks good enough because she is serving others, she is giving of herself. Almost recklessly, she is involved in everything, she feels the need to take charge of more then she is capable of and trusts no one to do something without her help or direction. I can only imagine how exhausting this must be. When you’re around her you can feel her nervous energy. The calm peace of Christ seems to be missing. She is trying to be good enough. She is trying to meet human standards. What she desperately needs is to recognize that she is loved by Jesus exactly as she is. She doesn’t need to prove to anyone that she is good enough because if she looks to the Father she will realize that he loves and accepts her right now exactly as she is!

Sometimes the best way to help someone is to step back, do nothing and let the person that God has really called to this task to do it, because if we haven’t really been called to do it, we aren’t helping but rather we end up making a big mess out of things.

So think about it. Where do you find your identity?

If you find it in Christ thats awesome! You have found a freedom that can’t be described. You are not held captive by the world and its standards. You are FREE in the love of Christ and because of it he can work through you.

If you find it in people I’m here to tell you that you will never be good enough for them. You might please one person only to realize that you now don’t equal up to someone else’s standards. So stop. Please just stop.

Look to Jesus and the cross. He died for you! Thats how much he loves you. You don’t need to change anything before you come to him. Just come and let him change you. He knows you better then you know yourself so you definitely can’t surprise him. Just come as you are and let him blow you away with his incredible love. Let him fill you with his peace. Realize that his opinion of you is the only one that really matters.

Be blessed and let Jesus love you! 🙂

 

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When Humility Becomes Pride

Yes. You read that correctly.

Is that even possible?

No. Technically it is not.

Yet, in our human state we somehow seem to often misinterpret pride for humility. (at least I do, in my own life.)

Pride is…

  1. a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people.
  2. a feeling that you are more important or better then other people.

Thats the definition of pride by Miriam Webster.

Sounds rather prideful doesn’t it? 🙂

Basically, it means we’re feeling pretty full of ourselves, it means we are focused on self. Focused on me. Thinking about ME. It means we are giving the credit to ourselves instead of God, which is something I’d rather not be found guilty of.

Yet, it’s something I often do find myself guilty of. We tend to measure our worth by comparing ourselves with other people. Sure, I might not be as good as those people, but I’m definitely better then these people, so that means I’m in a pretty good spot, right?

This might not be a conscious thought that we really think through in those words but its still what our hearts are feeling.

Pride is one of those sins that sneaks into our lives undetected and is often not recognized until its big and ugly. Sometimes it even disguises itself as humility.

Did you ever feel proud that your not proud? 🙂

Do you ever take pride in your God-given talents? or do you (like me) not use them for fear of being, seeming or looking prideful? I struggled with this one a lot. I love to write. Which makes sense since I am a terrible conversationalist. (Is that even a word? It didn’t auto-correct so i’ll just let it there:) I will never understand how two people can keep a conversation going talking about…

I don’t know…

Everyday life?

What do they even talk about?! 

Now if you discuss something that I’m passionate about and I know you really well then….

Yeah…

Then you’ll probably wish I would shut up and give you a turn to speak too.

Bottom line: I don’t have the gift of small talk and simply cannot fathom how anyone can take individual words and form sentences that turns into a lengthy conversation about…

???????

Thats why I write. Because on paper it makes sense. Because on paper no one interrupts. On paper if it comes out all twisted and backwards I can delete it and no one will ever know nor will they be sitting there staring at me while I try to figure out how to reword it in a ‘less awkward’ way. Oh and on paper no one argues because its just me… and a blank piece of paper. 🙂

At first when I shared bits and pieces of our DTS experience on a public blog I would ask Checkers what he thought.

“Isn’t it too much about us?”

“Did it sound like I think we have it all figured out?”

The first couple times he ‘calmly’ informed me that “No, its a God story. Not an ‘us’ story.”

And then…

When I just didn’t seem to get it, he became a bit ‘uncalm’ about this situation. 🙂 He said:

“In DTS the speakers that shared personal testimonies are the ones I enjoyed the most, and I certainly didn’t feel like they were boasting about themselves!!!!!! I felt like they are sharing what God did in their lives and it made me want to know more about God not more about them!!!!”

Do you ever have one of those moments when its like a light was turned on? You suddenly see very clearly what you couldn’t see before?

This was one of those moments for me. I suddenly realized:

I was making this about me!!! 

In my efforts to avoid being prideful or arrogant, I was actually being just that. These moments were about Jesus and what he did for us and by not sharing them I was taking away the glory that was rightfully his.

“He gave you a gift for writing, so you should use it! He doesn’t give people gifts just because he can! He gives them to be used!!!”

Oh. Checkers wasn’t finished with his lecture yet.

I knew he was right. I also knew that I had just recognized another area of pride in my life.

This time it was disguised as humility.

I don’t even want to admit how many times in the 4 1/2 years since we’ve been married that we’ve suddenly had an awakening where we realized. “Wait, this is a form of pride!”

Then we repent, and we go on our merry ‘unprideful’ way, only to suddenly discover another area in our lives where pride is hiding, most likely disguised as something else.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong on this but I think a lot of the sins we struggle with are a form of pride.

  1. Gossip = pride (thinking we are better then them)
  2. Jealousy = pride (thinking they don’t deserve what we can’t have)
  3.  Lying = pride (trying to hide our weaknesses)

Theres this problem with pride. You can never knowingly conquer pride because if you get to the point where you think you beat pride…

Well…

Just make sure you’re not proud that you aren’t proud! 🙂

We are capable of nothing on our own. Every talent or ability that we have isn’t really ours but rather its God working through us. He gave us these gifts to use, but they are still his to give or to take away as he sees fit.

If you are already using your gifts: Realize that you couldn’t do it if he hadn’t first enabled you. Give him the glory.

If your afraid to use your gift: Don’t be. Its not about you. Its about him. Give him the glory.