I have a need to label things and noticed that this tends to be addressed mostly to myself. It’s how I identified myself. A friend and I were responsible for a church event and were working on crafts for a church event. I was quick to let everyone know that I am not a crafty person or an artist. My friend told me to stop worrying and telling everyone what I wasn’t and just get to crafting. It was one of those simple conversations that has stayed with me and made me consider how I see myself.
I saw myself as not being an artist but really it was because I was worried that others would think of my lack of skill so I wanted to point it out before anyone else did. For the record, with a change in attitude, I did just fine and nobody really cared what my work looked lik but I was busy telling people what I am not. For example, I am not married, I am not rich, I am not poor, I am not good at public speaking, I am not athletic, I have no spiritual gifts, I am not “holy” enough, I am not…
I have a lot more “I am nots” but you get the drift. I identified myself in a negative light in many ways and I’m not the only one. In some ways, it’s easier to say what you’re not than what you are. I’ve tried labeling myself with “I ams” too.
I tried doing it with my job/career, gender, race, my paycheck, my geographical location, etc. These are pieces of me but they aren’t me. Yes, I am female but that doesn’t define who I am. I am single, but that doesn’t define me. I tried defining myself with my job and it almost broke me. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
While all of my I am’s and I am nots have shaped me but they don’t define me. Where then do I find my identity? The only place we can find ourselves is in Christ. I am defined by what I believe. I am a Christian and am the daughter of a God who loves me, who sent His Son to die for me and has gifted me with the Holy Spirit as a guide. My God surpasses any labels we could come up with. Anytime I’ve tried to use a label as an excuse, He’s shown me how to overcome it.
When I identified myself by my job and my paycheck, He made the path difficult and ultimately called me to leave it all behind. When I’ve cloaked myself with pride, He’s humbled me. When I’ve identified myself as a majority, He brought me to a place where I would know that I was a minority.
I am a Christian but this doesn’t mean I’m perfect. It doesn’t mean that life will flow smoothly and all will be well. It means that I am set apart, not above, but apart. It means that I have a family of brothers and sisters that are related to me through the blood of our savior. It means that I am His. My identity is found in Him and so is yours. We are in this together and the only label we have that matters is “His”. Everything else is artificial and temporary but it can be a bit scary allowing yourself to be vulnerable and looking past the labels.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
How do you identify yourself? I love hearing from y’all!