Identity Shift

hannah-olinger-562171-unsplash.jpg

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Specifically, a stay-at-home mom. My prayers were answered on a cold November morning in 1995 with the birth of my first son, Matthew. We were blessed to have the option for me to stay at home, and I’ve enjoyed all the stages and what they have brought over the years, but especially sharing Christ with my kids; when we were sitting at home, walking along the road, going to bed and getting up (Deut. 6:7).

I used to say,  "My days are in slow motion but my years speed by". They did speed by and now my kids are 22, 20, and 17. The stay-at-home mom really isn’t a need in our house anymore. I will always be a Mom, but my identity is changing to a “Mom of grown kids”—and it’s hard. I’ve learned that I had a pretty tight grip on that “Mom” identity and I’m learning to let go, remembering that my true identity is in Christ. 

We all have an identity:

  • mom or dad
  • sister or brother
  • aunt or uncle
  • daughter or son
  • friend
  • firefighter
  • teacher
  • pastor
  • nurse 

Identity Crisis

Too often, we use identity to define our lives. In Philippians 3:3,4, Paul tells us that before he became a Christ follower, he put his confidence in the flesh; in his identity and his works. He was a Jew (circumcised on the 8th day), from one of the twelve tribes of Israel, a descendant of Abraham, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; with a zeal for persecuting the church and righteous based on the law. Paul knew that he was more qualified to be justified by the keeping of the law than any of his present legalistic opponents were. 

But then Paul found Christ. 

Those things which Paul held up in confidence, he now considered them to count for nothing (vs 7-9). The reason he considered them a loss is because of the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.” It wasn’t so much that those things were worthless in themselves, but compared to the greatness of the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, they really were nothing. 

Paul put a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at the very center of the Christian’s life. He joyfully accepted the loss of all other things for the greatness of this personal relationship.

Our identity helps define our lives; what we do, who we talk to, where we live. How many times have you relied on your identity when life seems unfair just to get through the day?

  • But I’m an American, I have a right to ___________. 
  • But I’m a good mom, my child shouldn’t be behaving like that!
  • But I go to church, why is life so hard?
  • But I’ve been praying, why did that not work out? 

Notice all the “I”s. It’s not about you or me—it’s all about Him. Those identities don’t get you anywhere; those works count for nothing. When I encounter the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ, have knowledge of Him, and remain in relationship with Him, none of that matters. My life suddenly changes to: 

  • As an American, how can I use that to help and love others because He first loved me?
  • My child isn’t behaving, so I pray and God reminds me that I am a good mom and gives me hope and wisdom for the future of my children.
  • Life is hard, but I find comfort, peace, and wisdom from the One that placed the stars in the sky. 
  • When things don’t work out the way I think they should, I give up control and ask Him to take over and I will follow. 
When I encounter the power of the resurrected Jesus Christ, have knowledge of Him, and remain in relationship with Him, nothing else matters.

Shift

Wouldn’t it be nice to let go of all those identities you’ve collected over years...to let them fall away and consider them a loss...to stand in the knowledge of Christ and know the power of His resurrection for the rest of your life? It’s in that knowledge that the every day stresses and troubles fade away and no longer have a hold on us. Our identity is in Christ. We are not bound by law but held by His holy righteousness. I’m leaning on my identity as a Christ-follower and asking God daily to guide my steps in this season. 


 

Cynthia DeVoll has been a member of Legacy Church for the past 18 years. She is wife to Steve and mom to Matthew, Michael and Madison, all of whom she loves dearly, but her greatest title is follower of Christ.