Identity, this is a subject I have touched on so many times in different guises over the last year it seems almost redundant to write about it again. Yet in addition to giving you the links to some of my previous entries, I feel there is something specific to broken male culture that needs to be said here.
You see, I firmly believe, and you will never shake me on this, that the only way to receive your true identity is to hear it spoken to you from God. The Father who you can only gain access to through Jesus Christ. This is why identity crises are such a problem in male culture today. So many people who garner their identity from what they do, instead of who they are.
Don’t believe me? Until the past few years, if you had asked me to describe my identity to you, I would have told you about my geographical origin, about my job, my sports affiliations, my family, on a goo d day, maybe even my faith. The result of my identity being tied to these “things” is that it only ever added to my struggles. Just look at my twitter handle, LUFCTX, on the face of it, it looks like a Leeds United fan that lives in Texas. Which is true, however, the truth is I garnered a big part my identity from that for many years. A big part of who I would tell you I was, was based on people I will never meet who either watched and cheered for the same team as me or people who chase a ball around a field for obscene sums of money. Heck these days they’re not even any good at it. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being passionate about sports, or anything else. However when it becomes who you are, when something like a sports team is the highest ranking thing in your life, it should be a warning that things are not right.
How did Leeds United come to be at the center of my identity? Looking back, it was about acceptance, about belonging. At a time when the world around me made very little sense, football mattered to me, it was my passion. Standing on the kop screaming, singing, shouting with thousands of others, it felt good, it felt right. So over time, as the rest of life went from crazy to chaotic and back again, the one thing that was always there was my identity as a Leeds fan.
Of course, that is an external identity; much more significant is the identity at the core of your heart, the things you believe to be true about yourself. I’ve heard it said that a lie believed to be true will accept you as if it were true. Some of the things I believed about myself were that I was unlovable, unforgivable, insignificant and would never be good enough. The route of these beliefs? That is for a face to face conversation. The effect of this collection of lies? I lived with a spirit of fear for most of my life, perfectly adept at surviving and living life in the world. To the outside most people would not even notice anything, I was just like everyone else. However on the inside I was rotting away, my light was not allowed to shine for fear that it was not a good light. That is what Jesus changed, that is the lie based identity He took away and replaced with the beautiful truth. I am a beloved child of the King. Adopted through salvation, significant, worthy, forgiven, loved and just the type of good enough that He likes to use.
My hope with this series, other than to get back on track blogging? Is the hope I have for the rest of my life, to encourage others to move away from what is secretly rotting them inside. Whether it manifests itself in a spirit of fear keeping you from being who you were created to be; or if it manifests itself in some obnoxious overly confident front, yet you have never let anyone get truly close to you. Whether you are trapped in a quest for success at the expense of all else; or if you are trapped in medicating your pain through whatever your substance of choice is. Whatever ails you, even if you have yet to admit it ails you. You have a Father in heaven that loves you and wants to help you move into your true identity. He wants to heal you and He wants to use you. We all have a story to tell, our stories are our testimony. We overcome the enemy by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. You may not see it yet, but my friend, your light is beautiful, it is time to let it shine. Ask God to tell you who He says you are. Be patient, pursue Him and watch him change you before your very eyes into the you that you were created to be.
Be blessed my friends & have a wonderful Easter.
Here are the links I promised, just some easy unhiddenlight reading if you have nothing better to do today.