Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Identity Crisis

on August 17, 2014

A question was posed to me at church this weekend, which spoke directly to the heart of what I have been struggling with in my soul:

 “What is distorting your true identity?”

In order for me to expand on why that question was so poignant to me, let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on inside of me.  I have been struggling with this concept of “not fitting in” again recently.  I say again, because it is something I have battled for most of my life.  That sense of belonging was one that never quite seemed to settle on my heart while I was growing up, and even throughout most of my adulthood.  Since coming to Christ, however, and since stepping into recovery from my alcoholism, I have really not been dealing with the issue of not belonging.  In fact, for the better part of the last 4 years of my life, I have felt that I finally found the place where I did belong.

So, why the struggle?

That is the very question I have been asking myself.  It is like all of a sudden, this deep desire for acceptance has consumed my life again.  This unquenchable hunger and thirst for validation, for approval, for comfort.  These things have not been a focus of my walk, so when they come up with such a vengeance, I am forced to take a look at myself.

A couple of things surfaced immediately.  I recognized that I have been lazy in my mornings, and my routine is way off.  You might not find that very significant, but this is a big deal for me.  My mornings are my time with God.  It is in my mornings where I “fuel up” for the day, so to speak.  If I start my day spending quality time with the Lord in prayer and meditation – journaling, reading, connecting – I typically spend the rest of my day feeling happy, joyous, and free.  When I start my day “running on self”, the rest of the day typically falls apart!  Sometimes I am fortunate enough to recognize it, and am able to stop and focus myself on God – a type of “reboot” – and finish off better than I began.  But sometimes that is not the case.  Sometimes I spend an entire day running on “self”, or several days, or sometimes even longer.  You can bet that those strings of time spent living in my own power are days which I am not feeling, thinking, or behaving quite right.

What has been going on lately has been probably the worst string of “self-driven misery” that I have had in quite a while. It didn’t look or feel the way it typically does when I am stuck in myself, therefore I didn’t recognize it right away.  Then, when I did become aware that I wasn’t placing God first, I started trying to change my performance, but my thinking remained the same.  Have you ever tried that before?  Tried to change something you are doing without changing the way you are thinking?  Let me be the first to tell you: it is a DISASTER every single time.  I have found, time and time again, that I simply cannot change my actions unless I first change the way I am thinking.  So, needless to say, I was continuing to walk in a very uncomfortable way.

I’ve been in this battle with self a lot lately.  Good days.  Bad days.  Blah days.  But, it has been a constant struggle to maintain anything for very long.  I’ve been unable to write with the freedom I typically write with.  I’ve been unable to pray with the fervency I typically pray with.  I’ve struggled in my relationships, in my work, in everything.  And the answer was so simple, so right there in front of my face all the time – how I miss it, I still do not understand.  But it came to me from a simple question:

 “What is distorting your true identity?”

 

The answer?  ME.

I distort my true identity.  I get in the way of the mirror that God so lovingly places in front of me every single day.  Who am I?  I am Dawn, a beautifully redeemed daughter to the One True King!  I am Dawn, a fully restored and rightly-placed child of GOD.  I am Dawn, a wonderfully renewed and perfectly accepted woman, created by GOD, and placed in the role of mother, of wife, of teacher.  I am Dawn, clothed in a ROBE of the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ! I am Dawn.  I am free.  I am no longer bound to my flesh, no longer bound to my sin, no longer bound to live a life apart from the saving Grace of the Lord Jesus Himself, the author and perfecter of my FAITH.  I am Dawn, and I am FREE.  That is my true identity.

Perhaps that is where I need to start every single day.  Reading those words to myself, reminding me of my true identity – and looking in the mirror that GOD gives me, instead of the distorted image that I create myself.

Anyone with me?

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