Questions about our identity drive us to greater heights, lengths and depths than arguably any other question that pertain to our lives. It is why adopted children spend countless years, effort and money to discover and connect with their family of origin. It is why descendents fly thousands of miles across oceans to visit the country of their great-grandparents and relatives long gone. When we find the correct answer to the query of our identity, we answer a lifetime of other questions.
Who am I?
If you are a professional in an industry like me, you might lead with your profession. I am an accountant. I am a coach. If you are happily married, you may lead with your role at home. I am a wife. I am a mother. If you are in ministry in any capacity, you can lead with your title. I am a pastor. I am a teacher. If you are multi-talented and multi-faceted like many in our current generation, you may lead you with your passions. I am a lifestyle blogger. I am a creative. I am a travel-enthusiast. I am an advocate.None of these answers are wrong. In fact I would say all of them are correct. We are our roles at home as much as we are our passions and our life’s work. Each of these responses given capture an aspect of us that cannot be communicated without them. But yet and still, they do not capture us in our entire humanity. As much as I can say I am a mother, I can equally say I am not just a mother. I can confidently say I am much more than a mother and each of those statements would be true. So if I wanted to describe myself in enough detail to tell you exactly who I am, what word or definition could possibly suffice?
Matthew 1 v. 1 – “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” This is how the book of Matthew introduces Jesus, the most important (Son of) Man to ever walk the face of the earth. He is Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Before He is anything else, He ie – the Messiah. Christ’s introduction is first and foremost about whom He is in relationship to God, the Father. Once we know who He is to God, we know who He is to the people of God (David and Abraham).
When I know who I am to God (daughter, chosen, forgiven, etc), I can be absolutely confident about who I am to the people of God (beloved, brethren, one in Christ, reconciled). Conversely, if I am the least bit shaken in my assurance of who God says I am, it will affect the strength of my relationship with God’s people as well. The common thread in this introduction of Jesus is relationship. Before He is Jesus the Healer or Jesus the Deliverer, He is Jesus THE CHRIST, God’s Anointed One. Same goes for you and me. Before I am my husband’s wife or my children’s mother or even my clients’ counselor, I am a child of God. I am the redeemed of the Lord. Our Savior draws His identity from His relationship to and with God, The Father. We absolutely have to follow His lead. Every relationship draws its life’s blood from friendship, closeness or familiarity of some kind – in other words intimacy. Without intimacy with our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus, we lack a necessary aspect of relationship. How would you like to be married to someone who claims you on paper but refuses to live with you, bear children with you, share finances with you or open up to you in any emotional capacity? The same is true of God when we proudly wear the title “Christian” but refuse to invest in an actual relationship with Him.
Intimacy is the life blood of relationship, and relationship will tell us our identity. Think of it as an unbroken circle. The more intimate we are with God, the more we grow in closeness and relationship with Him and are therefore better able to know and discern His thoughts towards us. When we break that circle of intimacy and give room for other things to enter between us and our Heavenly Father, we find it necessary to define ourselves outside of His voice. (“I am the baddest chick”/”I am an expert in my field”). Anything outside of voice of God is temporal. If I don’t know what God says about me then I have to find my identity in either what I say of myself or what others have to say of me. If any of those things change even slightly (as they are prone to do), my entire sense of self crumbles. So to go back to my first question, who am I? I am a daughter of the Most High God. I am the Bride of Christ. And so are you, my dear sister in Christ. This does not change. It is written in God’s Word and sealed for all eternity. And that knowledge informs every choice we make as single women, as wives, as mothers, as sisters or as leaders in ministry.
As we journey together in this New Year, let your intimacy with the Lord inform your identity in Christ and your daily life.