Last July 29, I gave a talk at the Christ’s Young Professionals (CoffeeTalks) 6th Anniversary. I feel like God downloaded on me right away what he wanted me to say. Downloaded is just a term my dad uses when he knows the Holy Spirit has impressed something onto his mind and heart. So it’s kind of like a eureka moment, but not as spontaneous.
Anyway. I knew this topic was dear to me because well, my testimony (The Nth Chance: A Personal Testimony) is basically about how lost I was, and how God found me in my brokenness and showed me who I am again. Identity is honestly the most important thing in this world, secular and non-secular.
But did you ever stop and think that maybe your identity has nothing to do with you? That your identity is not even about you?
This was my message.
What We Do: Overthink, Overcompensate, Overachieve
We all do it, all the time. We overthink the things we say, the things we do; we make such a big deal out of the pettiest things in life, and worry and dwell on them over and over again. I seriously remember times when I would replay a conversation I had in my head the whole night that I would barely get any sleep. Should I have said this instead? That might have not been received the way I wanted it to. Oh, I would have sounded so much better if I had said it THAT way.
We second guess ourselves until it feels like we probably shouldn’t have moved at all. And that creates confusion. So what do we do? We gotta get rid of this confusion. We gotta cover up our mistakes. We can’t let people see that vulnerability or inability next time, no. So then we overcompensate. What was once just one or two things on a goal list now becomes a schedule of commitments we can’t stick to. A conversation becomes more of you adjusting rather than listening to the other person, making sure he or she views you the right way, or that by golly, you get your point across like a scientist. You either talk too much, sound arrogant, or give your resume when people ask you, “How are you?” Let’s just make sure they know you’re doing good, you’ve got life down pat.
And then the tantamount of it all is when we trick ourselves into believing that overachieving is the way to go. Our accolades become us. We’re defined by the friends we associate ourselves with. Where we’re seen, who we’re seen with, what we do, and what Facebook and Instagram MUST know we’ve done or are about to do. Let’s not forget how many times we’ve checked back to make sure people know and approve. Oh, and how many times we’ve compared ourselves with others to make sure we’ve got a one up on them, somehow.
Shake your head, but that’s you. That’s me. Still a struggle from time to time, YES. But there is an answer. And it’s as simple as this.
I’m sure you’re probably familiar with this girl:
Taya Smith, female singer of Hillsong United, now beautifully bald, is one of the girls I looked up to in the beginning of my walk with God. She just seemed so…confident. Like she knew who she was not because of anything she had done, but because of what her Savior had done. As she says here:
“I identified myself completely with Him.” When I read this on her bio, I was like, “That’s it. It’s that simple and that straight-forward.” And in a way, our identity relies on where our confidence lies. The only reason we’re constantly bothered by our sense of identity or are constantly trying to change it is because we have no confidence in who we are to begin with. But if you place your identity in Christ, the Savior of the World, knowing He is on your side, wouldn’t that give you all the confidence you need?
So I’m going to try this three-point thing:
You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Your past doesn’t define you. Those mistakes, that vulnerability you experienced before doesn’t matter anymore. Not in the eyes of God. If you’ve repented and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, He’s forgiven and forgotten all about that. And then our identity begins to transform.
You’re fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
Do you know what’s so cool about our Creator? He predestined us and that means he loved us even before the start of time. His creation is the only creation that’s original so if you’re a creation of His, that means He’s never made someone like you before and he never will again. Just chew on that.
Have A Purpose
Or to use another term, “calling.” (Ephesians 2:10)
In line with your unique abilities and traits, God’s given you gifts. These are basically specific skills or talents you have that benefit others in service. Because the truth of it all (the bottomline) is that we’re called to love. And when we love God, we love others. We serve them with our abilities, and again, IT’S NOT ABOUT US. It’s about Christ. But since we have such a good Father, He wants us to hone those skills and show these talents, for His greater glory.
So I leave you with these questions you might want to discuss to yourself or with someone else:
- What about your personality now doesn’t fit with your identity in Christ?
- List three things that resonate about you.
Follow-up question: Are these gifts? And do they glorify God?
And I’ll leave you with this statement:
The only person you ever have to prove anything to is Jesus Christ. Ironically, when you please Him, it takes the burden off of you. Because He’s already done what needed to be done. So you can live free in His love and assurance of who you are: a child of God.
Coffee Talks will be having another talk come August 26 with weightlifter, Hidilyn Diaz! Check out their page for more details.