faith,  healing from wounds,  identity

Who do you think you are? Finding a new identity in Christ…

There’s this word that I use a lot. On a pretty regular basis I talk to others about how my life has been transformed as I learned about my identity in Christ.

Oxford Dictionary defines identity as “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.”

Do you allow yourself to take on the names that others have called you? Have you claimed labels for yourself that you’ve picked up over the years, perhaps based on things done to you, or things you’ve chosen for yourself? Those names and labels have power—they start to seep into the core of how we see ourselves, almost like indisputable facts.

  • Picture a middle school girl, beloved by her parents but suddenly faced with comparisons or harsh criticism from her peers in the hallways and locker rooms. She no longer looks in the mirror and likes what she sees. She takes the negative comment of “ugly” and repeats it to herself each time she steps up to her reflection. Soon it affects the way she carries herself, the way she interprets her interactions with others, the way she herself in the world.
  • I think of a man who has wrestled for years with substance abuse and addiction. Hurt at a young age by family wounds, he discovers the enticing world of alcohol and drugs at far too young of an innocent age. He finds that those substances bring him momentary numbness, where he can ignore his pain and escape real life for a little while. Through a series of choices and events, he eventually gets into trouble– in far too deep to get out on his own. He now looks at these choices and consequences, and sees himself as broken beyond repair, shameful, a disgrace. This affects the way he carries himself, the way he makes future choices (feeling trapped in this pattern), and the way he sees himself in the world.
  • What about the executive who has built a life of success? While wrapped up in accolades and affirmations, pleased with performance and ability to control outcomes, this perception of self, based on external praise also affects interactions with others, and the way this person perceives his place in the world.
  • Then there’s the woman whose heart has been broken over and over again. Whether through abandonment, rejection, heartache, hopes dashed, she has come to see herself as unlovable, or unworthy of being loved back. Soon that affects the way she herself, her security within relationships, the way she sees the world.

Photo credit: Suhyeon Choi

I’ll share with you my own list (this is not comprehensive… there are certainly others) of identities I’ve held onto for myself over the years. There are “good ones:” pure, hard-working, good Christian, popular, actress, singer, writer, mother, ministry leader, friend, smart, creative. Then there are the ones that have had more staying power– the ones I’ve pinned to myself like a scarlet letter: lonely, depressed, anxious, ugly, unclean, unworthy, divorced, broken, shameful, too much, not enough.

Wanna know where these identities came from? Let me give you a hint… not our God. These came from the world. From fellow humans (also broken and fallen) whose flippant words become etched onto our hearts as deep wounds. From the enemy who wants to see us climb back into the mud and roll around, making us fear that our junk is too dirty for God to truly forgive. From our own sense of pride. These are not the places He wants us to live.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Over the past few years as I’ve thought and wrestled with identity, I realized that I was letting the words and actions of the world around me define me instead of the powerful TRUTH of an unchanging, always loving, steadfast God. The One who created me. The One who knows me better than anyone. The One who knows the number of hairs on my head, every thought before it enters my mind, the words I will say before they leave my lips. The One who has already forgiven my sins and washed me clean. I am finally learning to use the words He gives me to build my identity:

set free

child of God

forgiven, clean

worthy

victorious

redeemed

beloved

Friends, we can re-claim our identities… in fact we are called to do so! When we release the powerful grip of what the world has said about us and walk boldly into our identities in the Lord, it changes the way we see ourselves, the way we act, the way we live out our purpose. This for me has been a journey of understanding more about who the Lord is and what HE says about me, so that I can replace the waves of lies that wash over me with His unwavering Truths.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2 (NIV)

For the next four Fridays in August, I want to talk about how we can transform the way we see ourselves from the inside–the very core of who we are. I want to encourage you to join me in digging deeper to this identity stuff. While positive affirmations are super helpful, I think the work needs to be deeper than that. Finding the source of wound or where the lie may have originated, finding out more about the character of God, and who He says we are in His never-changing Word and Truth.

I would love to hear from you before we dig into some of these old identities– what is the loudest lie for you? The name you’ve carried around that you want to release for good? Send me a quick message through the prayer form. I’d love to pray for you, but also (anonymously) address some of the actual lies you struggle with in these upcoming posts. Grateful to be on this journey with you.

Photo Credit: Kari Shea

Dear God,

Thank you for your unfailing love. Help me to understand more of that love, as I draw closer to You and learn more about your nature. I want to know You more, and as a result know more about how You see me as Your beloved child. Allow that to transform in a deep and lasting way my interactions with You, myself, and the world. I pray that You will protect my heart as I learn more about the lies I’ve carried around for far too long, and I ask that You would give me the courage to let go of those names, insecurities, and lies that are not based in Truth. Lord, I want to live an abundant and authentic life, with my full strength and security in You. I pray for Your gentle and patient care as I step more fully into the identity and purpose YOU have for me.

Amen

8 Comments

  • Julie

    Heather- I look forward to hearing what God is placing on your heart to share with others. I too have lived those lies and am learning that I am God’s child. I am learning to denounce the lies I have lived for so long. I am encouraged to hear how God will show me something new in your truths.

    • HeatherLobe

      Looking forward to sharing and hearing from you and others too. We’re on this road together– I think we both have seen how much community can help in our pursuit of the Truth too. <3 Thankful for you my dear!

  • Michelle Brandt

    Heather, you are beautiful inside and out. You are a testament to putting your trust and heart with God. Being broken is hard. Breaking over and over takes it’s toll on us but how cool is it to see how God uses those breaks and cracks to use US to share his glory?! Wow! It truly amazes me every time.
    2 Corinthians 5:17 has been my strength and confirmation of God’s promise every day for years – forever with it inked on my foot! 😉
    You rock sista! Keep it up. I can’t wait to see the road God takes you on. ❤️

    • HeatherLobe

      Michelle, thank you so much for your words. Grateful we connected and to see how God is continuing to grow us and redeem us through our pain and hard times. I love the way you put it about how He uses those breaks and cracks for His glory! Amen. And 2 Corinthians 5:17 is what I’m writing about next– so fitting for this topic 🙂 Love that it is etched on your skin now as a daily reminder (I have Galatians 5:1 for the same purpose on me!) 🙂

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