A little shoutout to all those who dress their pets up for the holidays!
I find it interesting to observe how each pet feels about their costume.Some pets look as unhappy as this one. Yet, other pets are energized because they feel like they have a new identity.
So why this thought about Identity?
In this life, our perceptions tend to define our reality. And one of the perceptions each of us carries around is who we think we really are.
This is our “identity” that guides and sometimes drives our behavior. How I “see” myself is affects my many interactions with others.
Recently I posted something on Facebook and became agitated about a response from a friend. My perception was that I was being ridiculed because I was basing my response on a past experience with this friend. Only when I clarified with him did I realize how different he sees my identity and how I see it. Rather than ridicule he was only making a non-critical comment. After we talked he wrote what a good person I was.
This is just one example of how our sense of identity can mess up our relationships and lives.
How a Wrong Identity Affects us
Here are some examples of how we often demonstrate our changing identity:
- Jealousy is basing my identity on what others have and I don’t.
- Pride is basing my identity on an exaggerated sense of who I am.
- Fear is basing my identity on anything other than God’s sovereignty.
- Paganism is basing my identity on the powers of this world.
- Lying is basing my identity on controlling the truth.
- Stealing is basing my identity on my wants and rights.
- Insecurity is basing my identity on what I believe others might think.
- Sexual sin is basing my identity on feeding my sexual desires outside God’s ways.
- Impatience is basing my identity on my importance and priorities.
- Self-pity is basing my identity on how I think I am unfairly treated.
- Anger is basing my identity on getting my will or way.
- Timidity is basing my identity on my low sense of worth.
- Greed or coveting is basing my identity on what I don’t have yet.
- Discouragement is basing my identity on circumstances.
- Addictions are finding my identity in temporary comfort and then finding it unsatisfying.
- Anxiety is basing my identity on what I can control.
Identity and our Marriage
Certainly our marriage relationship is both positively and negatively impacted by the identities we actually hold.
That is why it is so important for each spouse to settle the identity questions. We need to regularly reaffirm each other’s identity, particularly our identity in God’s eyes.
Our true identity is a great treasure and we often let situations and emotions steal it from us.
Above all else, guard your heart,for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Living our God-given Identity
As a Christian, our identity should be based in what the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit continually affirm to us in the scriptures. It is an identity that comes from our Maker, the one who knows us despite our attempts to hide.
He says we are made in His image, not a random chance of molecules. We have value. We have choices. We have access to Him. He cares about ut.
Our identity in Jesus is an unchanging identity that I can build a life upon.
This is no shifting sand of identity but a rock-solid identity that can be trusted.
Our identity from God is based on a love that accepts us as we are but wants to see us changed.
It is based on truth and yet accepts all of me.
And beautifully, our acceptance by God doesn’t leave us when we fail, it doesn’t pile on us in our mess and it doesn’t let us get by with vain excuses.
Instead it inspires us to try, fail, get up, keep walking and find the abundant life because we know we are children of the living God.
Questions about Identity
Which of the examples of false identity above do I see commonly in my life?
What does God’s word say to contradict my examples of false identity?
If my identity was 80% based on what God says, what would be the impact in my life?