My True Identity

My Roles

Wife. Mother. Daughter. Friend. Writer. Editor. Teacher. Runner. Cyclist. Reader. Homemaker.

These are my roles. They fluctuate with the changing seasons of my life. Some rolls come and go. None of my rolls define me. They are the avenues for expressing my identity.

My Physical Identity

Height. Weight. Sex. Shoe size. Fingerprint. Hair color. Eye color. Speed. Ability.

These are what make up my physical identity. Some never change while others fluctuate. And even though there’s a permanence to my physical identity, it still doesn’t define my true identity.

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

My True Identity

My role and my physical identity significantly impacts how my life plays out. Yet, they are still only tools and expressions for my true identity. What I believe about my true identity directs the roles I live and the way I use my physical attributes and abilities.

“You’re a good, good Father. It’s who You are. It’s who You are. It’s who You are. And I am loved by You. It’s who I am. It’s who I am. It’s who I am.” (Good Father by Chris Tomlin)

Roles fluctuate. Physical selves change and fade. My true identity, the one rooted and grounded in the goodness of God the Father, remains true forever. Nothing anyone, including myself, does or says can change my true identity.

Scripture tells me a great deal about my true identity. I am…

My roles and my physical identity are not permanent. Not even my own name defines who I am. But my true identity never changes. It never fades and is not dependent on any other person on this earth.

My true identity gives me confidence. It makes me want to be brave. Grounding myself in this identity affects how I live out my roles and how well I take care of my physical self.

The identity given me by God determines my focus and shapes my everyday reality.

Busy as a Bee

beesA favorite aspect of sitting on my deck in summertime involves watching & listening to all the creatures. Squirrels play in trees, sometimes rather aggressively. Birds chatter, often quite loudly. (Crows make A LOT of noise.) And of course, lots of bugs doing what bugs do.

Probably the most attention-getting are the bumblebees. Buzzing alerts me to their presence, and I like to know when bees are nearby. But for the most part, we leave each other alone.

Bees fascinate me. Not only are they an impossibility (at least according to scientists), they focus on their work with undaunting devotion. While they like all my flowers, they especially like my lavender and lilac bushes.

Bees do what they do because of instinct, and I believe this instinct exists in humans too. The difference is that we can choose to ignore it, and bees cannot. With this in mind, consider that perhaps “busy as a bee” might get at Paul’s intent when he instructs us to “walk in” the good works “God prepared in advance” for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Follow my logic here. If God planned or prepared good works for us to complete long before we were even conceived, wouldn’t that make those good works sort of instinctive?

Now I realize this doesn’t mean we are preprogrammed like bees to complete every detail of our lives. God certainly doesn’t want robots. However, His Word along with our individual gifts, talents and interests certainly go a long way in providing a natural inclination as to where we should focus.

God planned “good works” for us to accomplish, and He planned them “long ago,” and we are to simply – perhaps somewhat instinctively – “walk in” them (Ephesians 2:10). Why don’t we then?

Maybe we over-think what we are to do (I know I do anyway), wishing God would be more specific. Maybe we get distracted by money, status or success. Maybe we’re afraid, perhaps of failure or even of success.

Bees get distracted too, I’ve noticed. Oddly, they usually get distracted by us. Seems like they think we’re flowers sometimes, but we also sometimes disrupt their work (intentionally and unintentionally). Even when they do get distracted, bees fairly quickly return to their work (purpose), not deterred for long.

In my almost daily observations of bees, three life lessons come to mind.

Busy Bee Lessons

  1. Deal with distractions, if necessary, then get back to work. When life gets overwhelming, sometimes it’s best to simplify and focus on being busy like a bee. When we focus on what comes naturally and move from one task to another without having to analyze and plan, we often find an instinctive natural flow the makes us productive like no other time.
  2. Do what comes naturally instead of living in convenient confusion. Analyzing and planning are not necessarily wrong, but they can definitely stand in our way of making progress. They also work nicely as excuses at times. Sometimes, we need to rely on that which is already planned for us and simply walk in it.
  3. Follow God’s agenda instead of asking Him to bless your schedule. Sometimes we need to remember to check with Him before planning our days. We need to find out what He planned for us and do our best to make His will our schedule instead of asking Him to bless our plans.

Perhaps this analogy doesn’t work perfectly, and the idea of our good works being instinctive doesn’t quite fit with how a bee stays instinctively busy. But as I watch the bees wake up every morning (seriously, one was still as if sleeping when I went out and suddenly started moving after about an hour), I can’t help but think about how applying their instinctive work ethic to the good works God planed for me long ago might be more effective than the desert wanderings where I so often find myself.

DISCUSSION: How does observing instinct help in understanding ourselves better? Or, maybe it doesn’t. Thoughts?

You Are One-of-a-Kind Special

In 2012, Dr. Pepper came out with a commercial that has individuals proudly proclaiming how they are “one-of-a-kind.”

Being one-of-a-kind gives an impression of high value. A one-of-a-kind painting. A one-of-a-kind car. A one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. These items are unusual, unusual makes them special and special indicates value.

How are you one of a kind?

If you were to wear a t-shirt like the ones in the new Dr. Pepper commercial, what would your t-shirt read? What would you like to declare about yourself?

I like the idea of making a declaration about what makes a person one-of-a-kind. After all, there’s something unique about everyone. Well, not so much one specific thing necessarily, but rather a combination of qualities and skills that make each person one-of-a-kind.

God’s Treasured Handiwork

Long before Dr. Pepper, long before we were even born, God had a one-of-a-kind design in mind for each of us.

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.” (Exodus 19:5)

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

That isn’t all either! Check out Romans 8:15-17 and Psalm 139:13-16 for more.

What Makes You Special

In a world where individuals constantly aim to stand out in unique and special ways, and increasingly is some very odd and often frightening ways, we all too often overlook that what we do has nothing to do with why we are special. What makes us one-of-a-kind special is whose we are.

All of creation shares the imprint of God, but no one imprint looks exactly the same. As individuals, we each represent our Creator in unique ways. And that representation is the key to a victorious life.

Do you embrace your uniqueness because of WHOSE you are?