I am having an identity crisis.
Mind you, this is not your typical identity crisis. In fact, this one is much more serious than any other could possibly be, which is exactly why I’m addressing it.
Now, there is good news, and there is bad news. The good news, is that ten years ago, a little girl met the most incredible Savior. This Savior pulled her out of an ocean of sin and redeemed her, and she has never been the same since. (Note: I am that little girl.)
But here’s the bad news: I often forfeit what is mine. Sometimes I cling to identities that I’ve fabricated for myself, and therefore forfeit something I’ve been freely given: a new identity in Christ.
And that’s my crisis.
A false identity is an identity that someone crafted or invented that is not actually true to who they are. As someone who has been rescued from the depths of sin, my identity is found in my Redeemer. Christ is now true to who I am, because He lives in me.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
(Galatians 2:20a, ESV)
Like everyone else, however, I am not perfect. There are still three huge things that I often let define me; that I often let become me.
My PAST. My SIN. My STRUGGLES.
As I’ve been dealing with this “identity crisis” of mine, I realized how often I let those things become my identity, instead of letting my identity be what I know is true – that I am redeemed, forgiven, and chosen by a faithful God.
I’ve been challenged again and again to abandon them, and as I strive after that, God consistently wrecks me (in the best way possible).
There are countless lessons that I have been taught, but here are a few of the more impactful ones:
My past is something I will always have, but it is not who I am.
Sin is true to who I was, when I was without Christ, but now Christ reigns in me. My struggles have not ceased, but they no longer imprison me…instead, I strive to rejoice in them.
When we allow our past, sin, or sufferings to define us, we mar the identity we have in Christ.
But when we allow redemption – God’s grace and forgiveness – to define us, we find that our identity is in Christ once more.
If I’m honest, I’m struggling. I keep marring my identity in Christ.
When I become someone, I stop being someone else, because the simple reality is this: I can only have one identity.
So, the questions I keep asking myself, are these:
Will I let it be my past? Or my sin, or my struggles? Or will I let it be Christ?
Here’s another reality: I don’t know you. Whoever you are, reading this right now, I do not know you. Maybe you’re my mom or friend, but I still don’t know you. Or maybe you’re someone half-way around the world, and in that case I most assuredly do not know you. Despite this, I don’t believe I’m the only one struggling with this. I think you are too. And I dare to say that, because I know how easy it is to slap on a false identity. I know how easy it is to let something or someone define me, that is apart from Christ.
I want to challenge you. In fact, I want to challenge you a few times.
I want you to first, abandon your false identities. And second, to embrace who you are in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says this:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)
If you are IN Christ, you are a new creation. And better yet, your old self has been crucified.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” (Romans 6:6 ESV)
You do not have to be a slave to sin anymore. Christ has offered you forgiveness, something you – news flash – will never deserve (but he gave it to you anyways). This does not, however, mean that you cannot fall into sin once again. It does not mean that your old self won’t come creeping back in. And this is where letting go comes in.
Every day, you must decide. Will you suffocate your sin today? Or let it become who you are? Will you put off your old self (Eph. 4:22-24), or let it mask you again?
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
Christ bore your sin. Not so that you could bear it yourself, as a false identity, but so that you could die to it and live to righteousness.
He has given you grace upon grace. Grace that is more abundant than any sin, your entire past, and every one of your struggles. God’s grace shatters sin. Don’t pick up those broken pieces and claim that they are you.
Stop searching for an identity outside of Christ, when He is everything that you are.
This is your final challenge:
Let go of the sin that has no claim on you; let go of a past that does not define you; let go of struggles that will never overcome Christ.
Just let go. Let go of the false identities and the lies you tell yourself. They will never be enough, never satisfy. Only Jesus can.
So, pursue Christ, at all costs. Strive to be like Him. Live a crucified life. Embrace the incredible truth that Christ lives in YOU.
“How God identifies me is more important than how man identifies me.”
(Pastor Josh Tovey, Redemption Church)
Brianna Howard is an aspiring author and avid blogger from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a writer and editor for the blog, The Heart of Teens, and is also a part-time super nanny. When she isn’t smothered by books, she enjoys long walks to get coffee. You can visit zoeticblg.wordpress.com or theheartofteens.com to read more from her.