I was 35 years old when that question began to haunt me. My identity had been stolen; totally buried in what had happened to me, what I was doing and in what others expected me to be. So, when I resigned from my job/career, I was suddenly faced with an identity crisis. I was no longer "Director" of anything. I was a wife. A Mother. A sister. A friend. And then I "became" a Christian. But what did that really mean? Who was I at the very core? Here's what I found out on the journey to answer that question.
First, I learned that there is a big difference between who I am (my identity) and what I do (my job, career, vocation, or purpose). I am NOT what I do. I am so much more! (and so are you.) Before I was in my mother's womb, God had a plan and He knit me together. What did God have in mind when He created me? My being (who I am) forms the foundation for the doing (my calling/purpose). If God creates a bird, then it will fly. If He creates a fish, then it will swim. If I know who I am first, then I'll figure out what He created me to be doing.
On this journey, I've come to believe that I can only know who I am as I discover who GOD is. I'm not talking about memorizing & knowing facts about who God is or by believing what we may have been taught about God. I'm talking about really knowing Him. Being with Him by deliberately choosing to live every day as if He were right there with me. The Bible says, "He will never leave me or forsake me" so I chose to believe that and began to practice that. Waking up and talking to Him because He was already waiting to talk to me. Being aware that I was carrying God's Spirit everywhere I went - in the supermarket, getting a haircut. I remember silently wondering whether the hairdresser realized she was cutting the hair on God's Temple! sounds silly but think about it...if I am His Temple (like the Bible says) and His Spirit lives in me (like the Bible says)...and He is always with me... well, you get the idea.
I continued learning His Word, 'practicing' it (especially when I didn't feel like it!) and allowing it to transform my thinking. I could no longer limit God to a 'prayer time', 'religious activity' or when I was 'in church' but rather became much more aware, every moment of a day, that God's Spirit was in me and He wanted to live through me (and He longs to do that with you too!).
Did I really believe the Bible? That was another question I had to answer on the search for my identity. I didn't realize how important that answer was and how much my identity was connected to it. Did I believe that what was written in its pages described and defined me? ME. If I am really "His Temple" and I'm born again and I'm His Child and I'm in Christ and I no longer live then that would require me to change the way I was thinking & living.
God gives us a choice. Will we submit/surrender our lives (our body) for Him to live through? or not? That's what "I no longer live" means. In the book of John, it says, Jesus is the Word and the Word became flesh. We need to get this revelation. The written Word (what we call the Bible) became FLESH (Jesus was born). Everything about the Word is in Him. If I am born again, then according to the Bible/the Word/Jesus, my flesh (my way of being) must die and I am resurrected in the Word – JESUS. (That's what baptism is all about too.) After this conversion, My life should then reflect all of HIM/His Word (new life), and none of ME (old life).
Jesus commanded us to "put off" things like malice, greed, unforgiveness, pride, jealousy and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. He taught us to pray for our enemies, to lay our lives down for our brothers; to give rather than expect to receive; to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and then to love others the same way.
Jesus said, "Follow Me". Following requires action. That is the journey of Christianity. Think about that!
Daily, I must remind myself (my flesh), Diane no longer lives (the sin-filled, abused, prideful, selfish, victim Diane) but rather my 'new life' is now in Jesus Christ and He lives in me. Jesus is the Son of God. He is loving. He is compassionate. He is generous, gentle & kind. He forgives. He speaks the hard truth. He heals the sick and casts out demons. He does what is impossible in the natural. If this is all true, then I would have to start living the same way.
When I know who God is, I also know who I am in Him. And as the Bible says, we don't choose God. He chooses us.
God created us to be His Body. If His Word is true about us, then our choices, behaviours and words will have to be ever transforming to become more and more like His. We must start there before we can move to the next part - what does God want me to do?.
The Bible is filled with verses that tell us who we are in Christ. Trouble is, we memorized the Scriptures (like the Pharisees - ouch!) but we really don't believe them. Christians would be living very differently if we did believe. Imagine if every Christian practices this verse, " "I am united with the Lord and I am one with Him in Spirit." 1 Corinthians 6:17 Imagine how that would change a community?
When we truly believe and allow His Word to transform the way we live, behave, make decisions, talk, think, treat others...especially towards those who hurt us, then we are walking in our identity.
When we choose not to be transformed, we continue striving to make ourselves known. We think "If I do some great work, then I will be great, and then God will love me or other people will love me or notice me or approve of me." That's a form of religion and according to the Word...worthless , and is far from God. (and may I add, exhausting!).
We are already great because of what God has already done. We are already in Christ. Sadly, many just don't believe it. God made a way through the death of Jesus Christ for us to live in Him. And that's where we find fulfillment and contentment....and our identity.
Who Am I? I am in Christ!
I am not a Director, CEO, apostle, evangelist, pastor, teacher, prophet, mother or victim. I am in Christ. I may be doing and operating in these things but they are not my identity. They are gifts He has given me so He can live through me. Knowing this, really knowing it, brings such freedom!
Once I believed my identity was in Christ, then I could start the next chapter in the journey...to find out what God had in mind for me to do when He created me.