A few years ago I had a dream. It was a dream that jolted me awake one night and sent me scrambling for a pen and paper. At 2am I sat on my closet floor and wrote confusing mixed up words to help me remember the details.
I was on a fast-moving bus and I knew I was leaving home. There were so many people on the bus, but I did not know anyone. I was standing in the middle of the bus holding the overhead handle as no seats were available. I dropped a slip of paper and it quickly vanished. Panic settled in as I realized it was my identification. The more I panicked, the more people kept telling me that identity would no longer work where I was going. What? Why? How would I prove to others who I was when I got there? When I woke up I felt so rattled, like I needed to remember what it felt like to lose my identity – the panic that it caused to not be able to prove who I was.
As I approach the one year anniversary of living in Seattle there is a stark reality that parts of the identity I tried to bring 2,800 miles from Charlotte to Seattle had to be left behind. The circles I had grown so familiar with, the way I hosted or made friends, the conversations that seemed comfortable, the titles I proudly wore, the activities I participated in – all of them were left behind. Leaving part of that identity has caused me to feel barren because the comfort of our created identity allows us a curtain to hide behind. It is a façade of security without weight.
Dropping titles, leaving communities, shifting friendships and new culture has left me with an intense desire to reflect on my secured identity which is built on the only foundation that has the inability to shift.
God’s Word claims my identity as:
- Chosen (John 15:16)
- Forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
- Rescued (Psalm 55:16)
- Adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
- Secured (Philippians 3:20)
- Called (Romans 8:28)
- Free (Romans 6:6)
- Created (Ephesians 2:10)
- Loved (Romans 8:37)
When I choose to create my own identity wrapped up in earthy things that will pass away, I cheapen the value that God has claimed for me. When I spend my days striving for approval of man to build an identity that shifts, exhaustion quickly sets in as I cannot keep the foundation steady.
But when I hand over my homemade, earthly-built, patch-worked identity and lay it at Jesus feet, He calls me back to remind me that my identity for eternity as already been claimed and it has the title of Beloved. And when I finally rest in my identity as God’s Beloved I don’t have to white knuckle the man-made identity that passes with the shadows.
The same is true for you. You can lay down the tattered and torn old I.D. card that feels so comfortable even though its marked with stains and pains – and trade it in for a new identity that’s marked Beloved and offers so much freedom.