When I was a little kid I loved to dress up like whatever I was watching on television. If it was a Western, I’d get out my Cowboy boots, plastic spurs, holster with the two silver cap guns. I’d find my Cowboy hat, tie a red bandana around my neck, and put on my little red felt vest with the yellow sheriff badge sewn on one side. I’d ride my rocking horse just like the lawmen in the show. During music shows, I’d find my toy microphone and do my best Michael Jackson impersonation. And each year during the World Series, you’d find me sitting in my jersey, holding a bat, or wearing my glove. I so badly wanted to be the people I saw on television. We all long to discover who we are. Whether we are playing dress up as a 4 year old, struggling to fit in as a 14 year old, or longing for worth as a 40 year old, we want to know who we are and that who we are matters.
So often we look for identity in places that never satisfy. We look for identity in our accomplishments – earning straight As, making the game winning shot, or getting the cutest girl in school to say yes to a date. We accumulate things or titles to feel good about who we are – the popularity that wearing the trendiest clothes or having the newest gadgets bring us or the influence titles we desire like “class president” or “homecoming queen” or “team captain” provide. Finally, we long for accolades from others to give us an ego boost. We look to what other people have to say about us to affirm our worth and give us identity. And all of these things fall short. They are all so temporary. They are all out of our control because they are outside of who we are. These things are meant to describe, but never define. Only the one who created you can define you. And He defines you as His beloved child – dearly love, His favorite. 1 John 3:1a says, “Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us – He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children (The Voice).”
Let’s call out all the ways we try to find identity that do not work and reclaim our one true identity as God’s beloved children. Let’s push back against the world’s definition of worth and value and claim the truth that lasting and fulfilling worth and value come from Jesus Christ alone. Let’s reject the lie that who you are must be earned and reclaim the truth that who you are is a gift given by God. Let’s begin to reject identity from the outside and begin to accept identity from the inside.
So how do you define yourself? Where do you find worth and value? How have those things left you feeling unsatisfying and wanting more?