Finding Your Identity in Christ (Part 1)

**I had the privilege of sharing at my church’s monthly ladies brunch on Saturday. I had a rough week leading up to the brunch (hubby out of town for the week, foster care stress, etc) and had planned to just use a talk I already had prepared from my speaking/teaching days but God had other plans. He led me in a different direction, one that spoke right to my heart and my situation. It resonated with the women present on Saturday so I wanted to share the main points here in hopes it will encourage others as well. Enjoy**

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I rarely have time to watch the morning news but last week I had the news on in the background and a story about a runaway chimpanzee caught my eye. A chimpanzee in China had escaped from the zoo and taken those trying to catch it on a wild chimp chase including swinging from power lines and managed to elude escape until eventually being taken down by a tranquilizer dart.

Y’all!

I had the kind of week where I related to the chimpanzee. For all I know it might have been a him, but I felt that a female chimp would have had that kind of moment and this is how I imagined her week had been going: I imagine her toddler had just thrown a tantrum over the fact that she had the audacity to serve him oatmeal the exact same way she had for his entire life but on this day, it was plain unacceptable to his taste buds. Then her teenager had slammed the door in a huff because she hadn’t read his mind to move clothes from the washer to the dryer and he had no clean boxers. As she started to utter a smart retort, her hubby called for the 3rd time in an hour to add another phone call to her to-do list {because y’all know wife actually means secretary} and then she opened the fridge to add creamer to the cup of coffee she was finally finding time to pour and there was NONE. Oh, the carton was there but someone had put it back empty and the next thing you know she was having a psychotic break and swinging from power lines. I’m sure that’s what really happened.

Sometimes life is crazy and each day rolls from one frenetic task to the next before you fall into bed until jolted awake by the alarm and prepare yourself to repeat the crazy all over again. It’s on those days that how/where we find our identity really matters. If I define myself as a mom, wife, aunt, sister, friend, volunteer, foster mom, case manager or any of the other hats I wear, I’m in big trouble. But, that’s exactly what we do. We define ourselves by our roles, our titles, our experiences, our feelings, our circumstances, our successes and failures and it leaves us feeling deceived, defeated and deflated. Sometimes, we can’t even find ourselves under all the mess we impose on our lives, can we? Where did we go? And, what do we do? How do we clear away the clutter of life and find our identity again?

I’ve discovered five ways for us to find and keep our identity in the One who can’t be shaken and never changes. I’m going to share two of them today and the other three tomorrow so be sure to check back for part 2.

1. We need to seek and find our identity in Christ alone. He is our stable and eternal hope. All the ups and downs we feel are a result of placing our hope in ourselves, instead of in Him.

In Him, we are free (Romans 6:6), we are His children (John 1:12), we are accepted (Romans 15:7), we are enough (Colossians 2:9-10), we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27), we are set apart (Jeremiah 1:5), we are chosen (I Peter 2:9), we are united with Him (I Corinthians 6:17) and oh how I love this one…we are indwelled by His very Spirit (II Corinthians 1:22).

 

In order to find ourselves, we must first seek Him and let everything else fall into place (Matthew 6:33).

2. We need to let go of busyness. Being overwhelmed by life gives the enemy the perfect opportunity to distract us from who we are in Christ! Have you uttered these phrases recently? “I have so much on my plate” or “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. I know I have. We live in a crazy paced world. We are pursuing careers, raising kids, going to appointments and meetings, fielding emails and texts (cause God knows we don’t have time to answer the phone), running errands, doing housework and occasionally squeezing in a moment for the hubby. We are stressed out, uptight, irritable, just plumb tired Jesus girls. We have headaches, depression, trouble sleeping and digestive problems but darn it, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Those things that fill our cup, our time with God, our friendships, quality time with our spouse, those are the things that we push to the back burner and then wonder why we are burnt out.

Tucked in the back of the Old Testament is an often overlooked book of the Bible called Haggai. I encourage you to read Haggai 1: 5-9, particularly in the Message version. God was saying that the people were running themselves ragged over things that mean NOTHING to Him. In Luke 10: 38-42, he reminds Martha that she is busy with things that don’t matter and He invites her to come and sit at His feet. When is the last time YOU sat at His feet? I don’t mean brush against His shoulder by glancing at a quick devotion or listening to K-Love in the car. I mean, when is the last time you cleared your mind and heart of all distractions and spent time in His presence? Think about that for a moment and purpose in your heart and on your calendar to have an encounter like that with Jesus ASAP.

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I have much more to share with you, including steps 3, 4 and 5 so please come back tomorrow!

 

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