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What Drives You?

Are you Living FROM or FOR Identity?

woman at hotel
Living FROM Identity

So a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling like I was drifting . . like a boat lost at sea and being tossed by the waves. I was feeling like I was lacking identity and purpose . . . .and so I started to question - WHY am I feeling this way? It was a feeling that I hadn’t felt in a while. Usually, I’m confident, focused,  and secure in my identity.

So I started to question - WHY am I feeling like this? 

I started to pray and ask God about it. I asked him, “Lord, why am I feeling like I’m drifting and lacking purpose and identity?”

He replied - “What’s changed in your life since you last felt this way?” ( By the way, I love how He asks questions in response to our questions which helps us to press in).

I replied, “I guess because . . “Bethel School of Ministry, the school I attend, is on break and because I’m visiting my family for a couple of weeks I’m not serving at church.”

So, His response was .  .  . “Do you find your identity in these activities?

Mine response was honest . . “I guess I do.” 

He replied . . .”Then you’re serving FOR identity and this is a false idol. You should be serving FROM identity . . .your identity is in me (Christ) and I am a constant in your life.” He’s an anchor for us. We are not supposed to feel like we are drifting.

Are you living FOR identity - meaning what you do in life . . whether you like it or not . . starts to define who you are. So, for example, you post pics on social media of you sitting on a motorcycle, but you actually hate riding motorcycles . . yet the post receives a great deal of positive “likes” and comments, so you change your identity and start riding motorcycles to pander to the crowd. This is being fake and not true to yourself. This is being a chameleon. It’s a dangerous path to walk in life as you’ll be constantly re-inventing yourself and not TRUE to who God made you to be!

Jesus gives us our identity and He is constant; He is stable, He is secure; He is a type of True North. When we’re aligned with Him and following Him, then our path is correct, purposeful, direct, and certain. 

John 1:12 - 13 (NIV) says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Read John 3 starting in verse 1 through verse 21 -  Jesus talks to a leader in the Jewish synagogue, Nicodemus, about how a person must be born twice - once of flesh (through their mother’s womb) and the 2nd birth is through the Holy Spirit. It’s a spiritual rebirth as obviously one cannot go through a womb a second time.

1 John 3:1 (NLT) says, “See how very much our Father loves us for He calls us His children and that is what we are!”

When we accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth into our hearts then we are called his sons and daughters!

What is your divine identity in Christ? Hint - it’s not based on your job, it’s not based on your marriage or your status of parenthood . . . .

Who are you truly?

We often see parents who are parenting their children FOR identity and not FROM identity. I was one of these at one time. I was the quintessential "helicopter mom" and felt very lost when my oldest daughter reached high school and she told me that she didn't need me hanging around as much.

These parents are the ones who take their children’s sports games too seriously as any time the child misses a pitch or misses the goal . . . the parent takes it personally and feels like it’s a reflection on them. These parents tend to be controlling and feel that their child’s behavior is a type of scorecard on the parent’s ability to parent well. This puts a great deal of pressure on the child to be perfect. 

During the teen years, we should be allowing our teens to fail, not protecting them from failure, as that is when they grow as a person. Their failure or success should not be taken personally by their parent! I encourage you to give your teen space to take responsibility for themselves, take classes they are interested in, and explore their various giftings and talents! 

As our children grow older, parents should be loosening the grip of control and reducing the need to micro-manage them long-term. The firm grip of a controlling parent can be stifling to a teenager, and detrimental to the teen’s overall ability to manage and self-regulate themselves and their emotions. While micro-managing toddlers is necessary, the parent should be gradually transferring to the teenager the power to control oneself and self-regulate.

A recommended book is Danny Silk’s, Keep Your Love On - Connections, Communications and Boundaries (Link to purchase). As we practice the principles laid out in this book, we, as parents, transfer the ownership to our teens, for their lives. They feel empowered and it trains them for adulthood. They become less reliant and less co-dependent  . . . which is a good thing! Teens learn to control themselves and take responsibility for their actions. This builds healthy adults. As Danny says, “On a good day, the only person we can control is ourselves.”

When we are living, parenting, or serving others FROM identity it is apparent. So, when we do change our schedule or go to another location - we will not feel like we’re lacking identity because Christ is with us and our identity is a constant. We know who we are.

Identity comes from Christ and our identity stems from Him. He is a constant and never changes - even when we change locations on a map . . . He is with us!

Serve others and serve them well, but serve them FROM identity or you’re not serving them well. I’m an 8 and a 2 on the Enneagram test. The “2” signifies being a “helper.” One of my primary love languages is that I love to help. At churches, there is ample opportunity to help and to serve. Usually, those who serve at churches fall into the Pareto principle or the 80/20 rule which says that 80% percent of the volunteer work is done by 20% of the people. 

Churches love helpers and love people who enjoy serving others. However, for me, I have to be careful that I’m not serving for identity. Otherwise, when someone doesn’t appreciate my acts of service or criticizes it then I take it personally and take their rejection of my offer to serve as they are actually rejecting me. This cannot be further from the truth. It’s just that my offer to come and clean their house when their sick may not be appreciated as many people don’t like strangers in their homes who are touching their things!

So, stop and check your heart, and make sure that you’re serving out of identity and not doing it to impress others or be around a certain clique . . it should come out of a pure devotion and out of a heart that is grateful to God. We serve out of a grateful heart to Jesus for all that He did for us on the cross. It’s a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving . . . not done out of compulsion, not done because we feel that we need to WORK our way to Heaven, not done out of guilt. 

Serving from identity means that you know your lane. If you don’t like kids then don’t serve in the children’s ministry. If you’re not good at singing then the worship team may be be your gig. If you’re not talented at painting, then maybe the prophetic arts team is not your jam. However, if you do love to greet people and say “hello” to everyone - then maybe the greeting team is the perfect place for you!

Statement wear helps to convey the message of your identity!


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