“Know who you are and whose you are.” Those are the words my mother spoke into my life when I was an unaware, inattentive teenager. These words of wisdom usually went in one ear and out the other. However, the rhythm and power of these repeated words impacted me in a way I think my mother even underestimated. They have echoed through my soul throughout the years and served as a guiding presence in my life ever since. They have become a reality in the way I live, work, and find my purpose.
Who am I? Whose am I? Over the years I have discovered I’m a precious child of the King, created in His image to do good works that He prepared in advance for me to do. I am fully loved, completely accepted, and unconditionally forgiven. God delights in me and sings over me. He blesses me, challenges me, and directs my path. I’m a disciple, co-worker, leader, and a follower. I am a thinker, problem solver, and creator.
You are too. We have that in common, you and me. We share the same identity in Christ. We are both equally valued, loved, forgiven, and accepted. We have both been made on purpose for a purpose and He gave us the ability to think, problem solve, and create.
Why is it so important to realize who we are and whose we are? When we are unaware of our value and identity, we unintentionally build a box for ourselves and define our identity within that box. We fill our box with that which keeps us safe, things we know, preferences and opinions that allow us to be comfortable, and resources we’ve been given. But that box, while comforting on the surface, is a liar. Without even knowing it, our identity box traps us in fear of the unknown based on assumptions of what we think is certain, mired in negativity about what makes us uncomfortable, and held down by limitations we believe will prevent us from moving forward. When we don’t know who we are and whose we are we are trapped inside a box of our own making that creates a sense of helpless and hopeless.
As trapped, uncertain, and fear-filled disciples, we come together as the church and each bring our own individual boxes to the table. And if left unchecked, we build an even bigger box for our churches and ministries. We figure out ways to protect what is known and surround ourselves with what is comfortable. Our individual boxes come together to create a larger box that contains the preferences and opinions of like-minded people. That’s how churches become stuck in a box of their own making, how ministries find themselves trapped in sameness and mired in complacency, and how individuals find themselves apathetic in their faith and spiritual growth.
Do you recognize the confines of that box? Do you find yourself trapped by fear, assumptions, negativity, and limitations? Is your ministry and church limited by a false sense of identity? If so, it’s time to get out of that box! When you see yourself the way God sees you and recognize how you were created, you know what to do. Living in light of your spiritual inheritance enables you to live equipped for your mission. Knowing you are fully loved, completely accepted, and unconditionally forgiven gives you the freedom to risk, invest, experiment, and innovate. Realizing you are a delight to your Father enables you to stop striving and start abiding. Recognizing opportunities are found in both blessings and challenges keeps us coming back for His wisdom and guidance. The willingness to both lead and be led keeps us humble and aware of our worth. Seeing ourselves as thinkers, problem solvers, and creators enables us to see there is more to life than the boxes we create for ourselves and that realization enables us to break free.
You were created to be creative- to find new ways to bring others to Christ. You were created to fearlessly solve problems – to think new thoughts in new ways and close the gap between what is and what should be. You were created to see what is and find a way forward. You were created to proclaim the timeless truths of the past and make them relevant for the present. You were created to inspire others to find freedom and discover their true identity in Christ. You were not created to live in a box. You were not created to lead churches who operate from within a box. Live into your true identity. Get out of that box.