One of the first things I ask people when I get to know them is “what character of The Office do you identify with?” It says a lot about them, if we’re being honest. I always said I was Pam (because I wanted a love like her a Jim), but people started to tell me that I was more of a Kelly. Kelly? No, absolutely not. Wait, yes. You’re right. So now when I have this conversation, I declare that I’m Kelly, and I proudly have that as my identity in The Office.
This is a silly example (but also super serious, I don’t take this question lightly), but identity is something we take value in. There are lots of routes I could take while talking about identity – self-confidence, self-image, etc. But I want to take that route that’s close to my heart right now, and it might be close to yours.
I have taken on a few identities: single, broken, and weak.
I’m the twenty-three year old who isn’t in a relationship, and has only really seen broken love when it comes to relationships. I’ve been in a toxic relationship, have been greatly mistreated by someone recently, and I’ve just felt devastation. I’ve put my identity in this.
Maybe you’re with me right now. “Yes Carrie, I get that.” Or maybe your identity is found in hurt you’ve experienced from your parents, or a family member, or a friend, or whoever.
Let me start with this: Your identity is not found in your pain.
Read that again, and another time. This isn’t who you are. Your identity is not found in what has happened to you, or even what will happen to you. Your identity is found in the never ending and crazy love the Lord has for you.
I recently began going to counseling, and I sat across from her and told her stories of things I’ve been through, things I’ve never shared before, and I said, “This is all I know, so I feel like it’s just who I am.”
She replied with, “Let me stop you there.”
Do you see how dangerous this thinking is? How it completely distorts how we view ourselves and what we deserve?
Sweet friend, it’s time to change our identity.
How? What do we do to strip off the identities we’ve placed on ourselves and put on the one we get to rejoice in? We ground ourselves in truth. We learn what the Lord says of us, and we declare, “This is who I am. Not what this person says, not what the media says, and not what I say. My identity is found in Jesus.” And from that, we begin to see ourselves differently. We have armor to defend ourselves with, we have ammo when the enemy wants to toss lies at you. We know who we are.
I clung to the identity I gave myself for a long time, and as I start to discover what the Lord says about me, I’ve viewed myself in a new way. Loved. Cherished. Free. Brave. I am no longer a girl who has been tossed to the side and hurt, but greatly loved by the God who made me. And let me preface with this: this is not an overnight thing. It is a process. This will take discipline, prayer, and accountability.
I didn’t see change until I told someone about the way I felt. Share with a family member, friend, or mentor how you’re feeling with your identity. Let them love you and cover you in prayer. Allow them to walk with you through this time.
Lysa TerKeurst writes, “We must tie our identities to our unchanging, unflinching, unyielding, undeniably good, and unquestionably living God.” Not to ourselves or the people around us. Him alone. When our identity is found in the One who made us and loves us, the opinions from others wipe away, become nothing, and lose value. Your identity is found in the empty grave, and not the pain you’ve experienced in life.
This is your identity: Loved. Chosen. Free. Forgiven. Friend. Daughter. Beautiful. Known. Heard. Seen. New.
But let’s begin the process today. Wherever you are, whether in your room, at school, at work, at a coffee shop, let’s change the way we see ourselves. Tear off the old identity. That’s not who you are anymore. Claim these – this is the truth.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1 Peter 2:9
Written By: Carrie