Identity - 'Is It Time You Check Yourself?'
When I got saved back in 2011, I was on such a high but I also sat on the fence a few times and became withdrawn when the life of financial, relationship, and parenting strains took its toll. Then in 2016 after losing my job, I went into a black hole; it felt like forever but I came out the other side and I haven’t looked back.
As I approached the end of the tunnel, I can say; I truly experienced God for myself. It was not about answering any prayer request it was about having my own encounter and listening to him through every season. It was about experiencing a love I’ve never felt. An unconditional love, one
no one could come up against. Can you relate to this feeling?
Whether you’ve been coming to church regularly or sporadically, it may even be your very first time. There are so many of us, walking through the Church's doors on a rollercoaster; battling with our identity or another situation which adjusts our character and behaviour.
For some reason, for those traveling on the rollercoaster; the situation always seems manageable and rarely comes to the forefront, or slaps us in the face until we walk through the Church's doors and get convicted. We don't realise our family, friends, and colleagues outside have accepted or tolerated our behaviour, with some labeling it as 'That's just how they are'. Whereas in church our image is top-notch, we look and smell the bomb - all clean-shaven, fresh hair, nails, clothes and shoes to match. Even our walk is strong; we worship with our hands raised and speak in tongues at times, we cover all our imperfections using our exterior image and the fact we have a spiritual gift but on the inside it like we are missing pieces that no one can see. Some of us have a couple of pieces and others have a few pieces missing, it doesn't matter how many pieces are missing, what's important is that we feel like we have pieces missing. At the best of times, our pride allows us to forget what we've told ourselves we were going to do to regain our missing pieces, we block our blessing and the spirit of conviction by displaying our 'perfect' perception. Unless you trust those around you or get lashed (knocked off your feet - into a spiritual daze), people will look from and distance and admire you, not knowing you have pieces missing. Still learning, still scared, still trying to slow down or leave our outside activities, still struggling to believe the Lord will do it for us, still thinking are we worthy.
In the bible, the story of Ruth starts with loyalty but then goes into sadness, rejection, and disappointment. Through times of sadness and disappointment, we need a Ruth or Boaz to support us in the rebuilding of ourselves and to also help devise a plan on moving forward. We need them to remind us that God is with us and will never forsake us as we too want to make a difference and be a Ruth or Boaz to someone else.
When I walk into a church or attend a ministry gathering/event. I walk in the same person, I am both inside and outside of these four walls. I don’t want to sit on the fence, I don’t want to be on the side steering myself away from Christ. I want to be in a position where I can change my mindset, take a brave step, and keep myself fuelled with the passion of Christ.
The Ruth or Boaz you currently have in your life will be the person who kicks you up the rear end, and challenges you to say ‘it’s time to level up’. If you don’t think you have those friends in your life, you need to shift your circle of friends, including your church buddies. A friend like 'Ruth and Boaz' will keep us going, hold us accountable, and check-up on us once in a blue moon. By having that friend allows us to question what we are doing, how we are living, and serving in Christ.
Ask yourself this! Is it time you go to the next level of your identity? What/why are you waiting? Why are you sitting on the fence? Why are you in this situation?
I know, I want to improve my current situation in a way that causes a powerful shift. I want to progress like I’m playing Mario cart or fantasy football. I want to be in first or second place so I know I have enough points or cash to get to the next level. At times it can feel like you're continuously playing the same level over and over again.
We promise ourselves to leave the job but a year later we still haven’t updated our cv, or
get on the property ladder but we haven’t fixed our credit or we need to get out of that toxic relationship that’s hindering our future. We keep making all these excuses and then push ourselves down. There comes a point when we need someone we respect to say ‘Fix Up’ could you imagine if Ruth didn’t stick with Naomi and vice versa.
Nelson Mandela said there is no passion to be found playing small in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. If you are in a place where you don’t know who you are.
I’m just going to make you understand the Erik Erikison's four levels of identity model. At different times in our lives, we can usually see ourselves moving models and crossing over into two.
Moratorium – You know that you need to find an identity but don’t know what you what to do yet so your actively testing and investigating options.
Diffusion – You have not consciously thought about identity and act as wild and always out of character as you don’t think one is necessary.
Foreclosure – You’ve committed to an identity that someone else has chosen for you.
Achievement – You’ve thought about what you want to do with your life and have a path for how to do it. So you know you want to walk with Christ and this is how I’m going to do it.
We are shaped by our cultural experiences and stories. Stories, which tell us who we are? what our lives are about? and what we should and shouldn’t value. For Christians, it’s our faith that provides us with an alternative story. Our faith calls us to a place of sense, value, direction, and meaning. In Ephesians 1 verses 3-14 Paul addresses the Church of Ephesus, explaining the identity given to a person when they are in Christ. The passage reminds us, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing, we have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, lavished unconditionally, given grace, loved and accepted, we are pure, blameless and forgiven.
This is a gentle reminder that aspects of our identity can not be altered by what we do, when we remain in the word, follow through on his instructions, stay prayed up, and surround ourselves with aspiring leaders. I say this because when it's time, and if you've read this far it may be your time today. It may be the time we look within ourselves and say have I come to complacent with the person or Christian I am today? Have I become too complacent with just sitting on the fence and doing everything in halves? Have I told myself repeatedly I am not good enough to the point I’ve ignored faith and just living life on my own understanding? Or have I come complacent with the identity someone else has created for me? Is it time I need God to level up my identity to allow me to rediscover who I am?
I'd like to challenge you before you continue with your day. As you read this start questioning who you are. Maybe you’ve had flashbacks to events or situations you've wanted to change or wanted to do something different. It may be with your job, career path, how you raise your children, who you date, changes to your friendship circle. This does not mean cutting off friends and family, but creating a steady distance in what you do and how you communicate with them. When you have your moment, define your next big step, and say yes to the things that force you to level up. Acknowledge your fears, exhale the past, and inhale the future. It's time to visualise yourself at the next level. Now go ahead and lift up your sister, brother, friend, family member, or colleague.
Let me leave you with this, you're on a speedboat, the water is your life and the tide is different struggles or obstacles you face. You can’t get off and you can’t turn back as you're already halfway. Sometimes it's smooth sailing but other times the tide is so rough you feel like you're going to be sick, fall off or just not make it. Your determined to continue sailing until you reach your destination.
When you finally reach, the island is bliss, you completed the first hurdle which opens the way for new adventures and opportunities. At this point, you have a chance to upgrade your boat and continue on your journey. Some may choose to stay on the island and settle but for others, they'll hand in the deposit, collect the keys to the yacht and start a new journey where
they are presented with new waves and tides. Again, the island looks bliss from a distance and you want to begin sailing, ALL ABOARD!!! Do you want to join me on my speedboat? The island is bliss, the island of truth, the island of faithfulness. As we keep walking in faith and working through, the Lord will make a way for you to have the right boat, life jacket, knowledge of how to ride the wave, and faith to know you will reach your destination.
Not everyone is built the same and may become seasick along the way, but don’t leave them. Remember you’re not better than them, your just equipped at a different level they haven’t reached yet. Without faith, nothing is possible because faith is having confidence in what
we hope for and assurance for what we do not see – Hebrews 11:1
Go grab your keys, start the ignition to your speedboat, set sail, and begin unlocking the next level of your identity.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE A REQUEST FOR PRAYER?
If you've got to a point where you’ve reached the island, it is bliss but God is telling you, there is more and it’s time for you to upgrade and not sit comfortably on this island then get in contact so I can pray with you and give you some tips on staying aligned firstname.lastname@example.org