So, I was at retreat last weekend for my sorority, and I had such an amazing time bonding with my beautiful sisters. I was so blown away listening to such a Godly woman talk about what it means to have an identity in Christ, that I felt like I should share her message with you all:
The dictionary defines “identity” as the condition of being one’s self. As we experience the hardships and struggles of life; we are so desperate to know who we are that we start grasping on to things to save ourselves. There are so many adjectives that we describe ourselves as, but sometimes we forget to describe ourselves as “daughters and sons in Christ.” Why is that? How is it that we can easily rile off twenty adjectives that describes who we are, yet we forget that our only adjective should be that we are Christ’s sons and daughters?
How is that we label ourselves as:
- Girlfriend/Future wife/Wife-in-training/Wife (or Boyfriend/Future Husband/Husband-in-training/Husband) (<—I love the “wife-in-training” saying for some reason..)
- Daughter (or son)
- Camp counselor
- Girl (or Guy) with a plan
- Beautiful/ Handsome
- Loyal Friend
…but yet, when we were in high school, we absolutely despised being labeled as being preppy, geeky, nerdy, freaks, and jocks?
Whether you think that one, some, or all of these adjectives perfectly describes you, you have to realize that the day these adjectives work for us, is the day that you become prideful.
1 Corinthians 4:6-7 states: “Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written.’ Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
The theme behind 1 Corinthians 4:6-7 is that you shouldn’t be prideful. Pride is past it’s proper size and has been blown up into proportions.
When you’re prideful, you become empty, painful, busy and fragile. Pride lets us focus on something OTHER than God. Pride gives you a sense of “specialness.”
Are you prideful towards God? Prides makes for a busy life. If you compare pride to a pendulum, you’re either boasting about what you have or comparing what you don’t have to someone else. We tend to say “I’ value her (him) and I’m worse than her (or him).”
But see, the greatest thing of all is that we’re more wealthy when we don’t boast. These adjectives are temporary and they will strip through your fingers.
- Accomplished: there are always going to be people who are more accomplished than you. Other people’s accomplishments have a way of making you feel like you’re not measuring up (like if one of your friends gets accepted into Harvard Law School and you’re still finishing your Bachelor’s degree.)
- Busy: School and stress makes us busy worrying about things that don’t matter.
- Hip: Is it worth having expensive clothes and shoes to outshine others?
- Well-known: Being well-known isn’t the greatest thing in the world. Sometimes, having a few close friends instead of a lot of friends is a hundred times better. (:
- Attractive: There are always going to be people who are more attractive than you. Attractiveness is a the devil in a sense- it causes you to compare yourself with other people. Just be yourself.
- Smart: Like accomplishments, some people may be smarter than you (Einstein, anyone?!) Sometimes not being as smart allows you to think through things more clearly.
- Girlfriend/Future wife/wife-in-training/Wife (or Boyfriend/Future Husband/Husband-in-training/Husband)): this adjective is a pet peeve of mine. I feel like this is the adjective that people use to define themselves before they rattle off any other adjective. It may just be me, but using this adjective to define yourself means that you’re making yourself somebody else’s “property” in a sense. There’s nothing wrong with being somebody’s boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee/husband/wife, but be yourself, and be who you are. You don’t need anyone else to define you.?
- Daughter/Son: Yes, we all are sons and daughters, but you know what’s so great? We are sons and daughters of Christ. I can’t think of a more humbling adjective than this.
- Camp Counselor: So, I know that being a camp counselor is a milestone for college kids. Personally, I’ve never been one. But then again, I’ve never really been a camp person. I feel like “camp counselor” is a popularity adjective- as in if you’ve never been a camp counselor, you’re just not “cool.” We should strive to be counselors to people everyday, not just during the summer season.
- Girl (or boy) with a plan: I’m completely guilty of this adjective. Growing up, I had this long list of things I wanted to do (and who I wanted to be). I was a very strong headed child- I wanted to go one college for all four years, go to medical school, get engaged at 24, get married a year after, and have lots (and lots!) of children. College has a way of telling you that your plan that you have for yourself never works. I’m going in a completely different way than I wanted to. I think at a certain point, you have to be content with the plan God has for you. Only God knows how you’re supposed to live your life. It’s terrifying trying to distinguish the plans that you have for yourself, and the plans that God has for you. Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, “Is this my will or is it God’s will?”
- Beautiful/Handsome: I’m a strong believer, that as a society, we’re extremely guilty of this. We use this as a place marker for who we think we are. We unconsciously compare ourselves to other people every day. The media is partly to blame for this phenomenon too. As women, we look at stick thin (and obviously unhealthy) models in Vogue and strive to be like them because we think that’s what attracts men. And men are obsessed with going to the gym to get bigger and stronger so they can look “manly.” We allow our comparisons to other people to affect our self-esteem- that maybe if we looked better, then we’ll be liked more. Maybe looking beautiful or handsome is a survival instinct that has been primed into us from the beginning of time. Or maybe it’s because society has made us so self-conscious that we can’t feel better about ourselves until we’ve “beaten” out other people by looking like Miss America or like a model on the cover of GQ magazine. It’s not a competition. You are beautiful and don’t let anyone tell you any differently.
- Dreamer: I feel like this ties into being a girl/guy with a plan. It’s not necessarily bad to be a dreamer, but are our dreams exactly what God wants? Are you dreaming to make yourself happy or are you dreaming for others as well? God knows you better than you know yourself.
- Wealthy: I’m sure that you’ve all heard the saying that “you can be rich and a be poor, and you can be poor and be rich.” You can be rich and desert everyone around you if money is a priority. And you can be poor and be rich in love because there are so many things that are important to you than money. Our character shines a lot more when we don’t let meaningless things control our life.
- Loyal Friend: Part of being a loyal friend is being open and sharing concerns, as well as celebrating the wins and being there to support the losses. But, in being a loyal friend to others, don’t lose yourself. Learn that sometimes, every friendship doesn’t go smoothly. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to stop caring when the other person doesn’t anymore. You deserve more than giving your life up for someone who doesn’t care.
- Gifted: I feel like “gifted” is such a bad word. We’re all good at different things. Some of us are better at school and getting good grades, and others are good at playing sports or an instrument. We’re all “gifted” at different things, but you shouldn’t let it define you.
Jesus gives us the right questions. God decided you were so valuable to him. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say, John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter answered, ‘God’s Messiah.'” ( Luke 9:18-20)