An epidemic is raging through our country, through our churches and in many of us. Maybe it is in you. The crisis of identity amnesia creates as sense of wandering, lostness, panic, depression and misplaced identity. The record high levels of anxiety related to the physical world around us, national crises, relational collapses, spiritual confusion and overall lack of stability is leading to critical confusion. When I pause to consider the root of much of the noise, anger and fear, I find myself looking squarely at identity amnesia.
Because I know God as my Father, I am confident of who I am in Him. His fondness for me is unfathomable, reliable and true. On any day when the vortex of the world threatens to vomit fear, despondency and panic, I still. I stop and look around. The scripture encourages me to be still and know God. Grabbing a front row seat somewhere near nature allows me to breathe deeply and remember my identity as a deeply loved child of God.
Recently, I fell into a deep hole listening to one of my favorite artists who reminds me of my early years of playing the guitar. In listening to familiar songs by James Taylor, I discovered a rather new one named Montana. In the middle of this song, these words caught my attention:
Who can imagine the scale of the forces
That pushed this old mountain range up in the sky?
Tectonic creation, erosion, mutation;
Somethin’ to pleasure God’s eye.
The world is a wonder of lightnin’ and thunder,
And green of the ground as we fall from the sky.
The old and new faces, the tribes and the races…
Thousands of places to try.
While the beginning of this reminds of the creation of this magnificent earth, the next verse emphasizes God’s great work in the beauty of variety that he created in the faces and races of mankind. Who do you think authored the diversity and beauty of all of the humans? Who constructed this complex world you and I inhabit? Who designed the immense intricacies of you and me?
Knowing who you are in Christ is transformative!
Recognize the lies so that you can know the truth of your identity.
Here are three lies to identify and reject:
- Performance and accomplishment will make you feel accepted and valued. When you are aspiring for success, it seems like the flag waving ahead promises identity, but that is a lie. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2: 16-17 talks about the striving of man ending in disappointment. “Like the fool, the wise man too must die! So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
- Good looks and reputation will make you feel secure. While there is value in pursuing a healthy lifestyle, this lie comes from the pursuit of physical beauty. Men care about their appearance as do women. At the heart of this lie is the motivation behind the time and money spent on beauty which do not end in self-verification. True inner beauty in in the spirit.
- Status and popularity and recognition by others will make me feel significant. Reaching any of these goals will sadly fail to secure the coveted sense of identity.
A well loved book on this topic written nearly 50 years ago is “The Sensation of Being Somebody” by Maurice Wagner. He shares, “In this security (identity is God’s child) you are freed from the control of your old nature and the destructive practices of your past. Now, you can feel that you really are somebody, because you are somebody to God.”
Building an adequate self-concept is not complicated. Knowing who you are in Christ is the one and only answer. Grasping this truth of your self-worth and eternal value is as simple as accepting Jesus as your Savior. More on the details of this truth in Who Am I? What is My True Identity?
Here are four truths that enlarge my understanding:
I am ACCEPTED…
- I am God’s Child. Jn 1:12
- I am Christ’s friend. Jn 15:15
- I am united with Christ in one spirit. I Cor 6:17
- I am a member of Christ’s body. I Cor 12:27
- I have been adopted as God’s child. Eph 1:5
- I have access to God through the Holy Spirit. Eph 2:18
- I am complete in Christ. Col 2:10
I am SECURE…
- I am free from judgement. Rom 8:1-2
- I am free from any charge against me. Rom 8:31-34
- I am hidden with Christ in God. Col 3:3
- I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected. Phil 1:6
- I am a citizen of heaven. Phil 3:20
- I have not been given a spirit of fear. II Tim. 1:7
- I can find grace and mercy in time of need. Heb 4:16
- I am born of God, the evil one cannot touch me. I Jn 5:18
I am SIGNIFICANT…
- I am the salt and the light of the earth. Matt 5:13-14
- I am a branch of the true vine and a channel of His life. Jn 15, 1, 5
- I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. I can live spirit filled. Jn 15:16
- I am a personal witness of Christ. Acts 1:8
- I am God’s workmanship. Eph 2:1
- I approach God with confidence and freedom. Eph 3:12
- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
I am LOVED…
- I am dearly loved. I Thes 1: 4
- I am beloved. Rom 9:25
- I am loved by the Father like He loved His Son Jesus. John 17: 23,26
- I am Jesus’ friend. John 15:15
- I am hidden in Christ. Col 3:3
- I am always loved. Rom 8: 37-39
If you have a sense of wandering, lostness, panic, depression and misplaced identity…determine to defeat your personal crisis of identity amnesia. Find a quiet place in your car, in your home and if possible, somewhere out in nature where God is showing off. Listen to God’s voice as He confirms what is true when you are His child.
Our Father God desires that you and I live out these truths and so many more found in the reliable Word of God. The intimacy and freedom that comes from knowing Christ radically changes everything. A personal relationship with Christ motivates us to live in His overwhelming grace and unfathomable mercy every day.
Choose to embrace the truth of your identity. Don’t fall into identity amnesia.
Know who you are in Christ.
Listen to a conversation with Tim on this podcast Embrace Your Everyday.
More on FAITH topics: