“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)
We define ourselves by all kinds of things. Usually, we start with our job. “I am a youth worker.” Especially when your job is a ministry in which you have invested so much time, energy and emotional involvement, it is easy to allow our vocation to be our sole identity. So what happens when that changes? What if you move for your spouse’s job, you choose to stay home with your kids, or an injury causes you to leave your job? Then who are you?
It doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal, but it has been for me. After leaving an intense and well loved ministry I found myself going through the same kind of identity crisis that most teens go through. Feelings of displacement, confusion, and purposelessness left me stunned. How could moving to a new city and starting a new job be that unsettling? Whatever the reasons and layers of complexity that cause such a crisis, the beautifully simple solution is the same; we are forgiven, loved children of God. Our deepest and most true identity lies right there. Our relationship with God is the basis and foundation of all our other functions and roles in life. Peel away the job, the personality, the relationships, and any other earthly blessing that we use to define ourselves and we are left with one solid identity. You are forgiven, you are loved, you belong to God.
What peace we can find in Gods love for us! No matter what shakes, moves or changes around us, we know who we are because we know whose we are. Our Creator, Redeemer, and Guide has given us purpose, stability and identity. The ways we serve Him, the places we shine His love, and the people to whom we live the message may change–but that doesn’t shake who we are in Christ. You have an identity and a purpose. The other aspects of who you are or what you do are built on that and adorn that, they don’t change it. You are a loved and forgiven child of God. Rest in the simple beauty of that identity!
Dear Lord, Everything around me changes and moves. Sometimes I don’t know who I am or what I should be doing. Please ground me in your love and give me a solid anchor in my identity as your child. Thank you for that freedom and security. Thank you for making me your child through baptism and assuring me of it each time I hear your Word and taste your Supper. Please enable me to rest in that identity! In Jesus Name, Amen.