Do you worry about what people think about you? Do you often change clothes several times before you leave the house because you just aren’t sure you look good?
Do you end your day with a mental review of everything you said, wish you’d said, or regret that you said? Do you try really hard to make the right impression to all the right people?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, well, welcome to the human race! Actually, if you answered yes to even one of those questions chances are you need to tend to your identity.
I’ve got ten truths to help you do just that.
But first, what do I mean by tending to your identity and is it okay to do so?
Sometimes we may think that focusing on our identity is self-serving. We may fear that paying too much attention to ourselves might lead to some weird kind of spiritual narcissism.
But, we don’t invest in or grow in our identity so we can become full of ourselves and our own importance.
No, we tend to our identity so we won’t be the first and biggest thing on our minds all the time.
As John taught us, when we decrease, God increases in our lives. (John 3:30 ESV)
Think of it like this. I will use my thumb –what I came to call my dumb thumb as an example.
I scraped the cuticle on my left thumb on a wicker rocker a few months ago and well, you don’t want to know the details but let’s just say pain shot up my left arm and it turned out to be far worse than a scrape.
At first, my thumb throbbed and bled. For days, I tried to ignore it, thinking it would just get better. I kept it bandaged as it hurt more and more.Finally when I thought I could bear even removing the bandage, the extent of the damage was far worse than I imagined. No cuticle and the nail was exposed to the matrix. (I know, I know. Sorry. Gross.)
Finally, I went to the doctor and learned that, thanks to my neglect, it was infected. I got an antibiotic and was told I would probably lose the nail.
Okay, okay, I know it is gross. Done with the dumb thumb for now. Back to your regularly scheduled blog.
My thumb is a good example of how and why we need to tend to our identity. Our culture, broken people and the enemy bumps into our identity and scrapes and injures our sense of who we are and how much we are loved by God. “You aren’t good enough” or “you should be thinner” or “You can’t do anything right” or “You should be as smart, successful, or sexy as she is.” Those are the kinds of splinters that rip into our identity and leave our souls bleeding, injured, and weak.
If we don’t tend to our injured or weak identity, what happens? Well, just like my thumb, our identity gets infected with lies. Consequently, we try to protect ourselves—we become more insecure, feel inadequate and feel insignificant.
Okay, back to the dumb thumb one last time:
After three long months of splints, bandages, and walking around like I was perpetually hitch-hiking, I finally lost the nail. A few weeks later, a new thumb nail was fully grown in! I slapped nail polish on it and I stopped thinking about it.
You get the idea. Once my thumb was healthy, I no longer treated it, protected it, and was aware of it.
The point is this: When your identity is healthy, you will not be focused on it, constantly trying to treat it, or protect it and eventually your identity – you yourself – will be the last thing on your mind!
In other words, you will decrease and God will increase!
Now, that is healthy! Sure, you will be aware of yourself but you won’t be absorbed with yourself.
When our identity is in poor health, we do just that: we lift up ourselves and advertise our insecurity.
We worry what people think about us. We change clothes over and over because we are never quite sure we look good or good enough. We think through everything we said, evaluate and shame ourselves. We work way too hard in making the right impression to whoever we think are all the right people!
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We will always get bumped and scraped by the meanies in this world and the mistakes we make. If our identity is healthy to begin with, when the injury happens, we can treat it quickly with the healing truths in God’s Word.
In my Invisible book, I write that “who you are is not how you feel.” So, to help you find your identity in Christ and tend to it through His Word, I’ve given you ten truths from Scripture about your identity:
Tuck these truths in your thought closet and wear them well, sisters!
I am God’s workmanship. (Ephesians. 2:10)
I am sheltered and protected in God. (Colossians 3:3)
I am God’s treasure. (1 Peter. 2:9-10)
I am dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
I am God’s delight. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I am chosen for success. (John 15:16)
I am complete. (Colossians 2:9-10)
I am secure. (Romans 8:31-39)
I am capable. (Philippians 4:13)
Which one of the statements about your identity do you most need to believe and receive? Write it in the comments with a prayer that you will believe the truth about you.