You know that feeling when there’s stuff everywhere and the dishes are in the sink and you’ve got three people texting you about “urgent” matters and you can’t find matching socks? Those days when you have so much on your mind that you can’t concentrate on what’s right in front of you, when you are up all night trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life, when you randomly start crying because you burned the toast again- or maybe because you’re simply exhausted? That’s my entire life right now. I’m kind of a mess.
I’ve always identified myself with what I do. When I’m getting to know a person, it’s all about what I do. “I’m an intern with Cru, I lead Bible studies, I attend a community group, I play guitar, I live with an international students, ect.” Which sounds like a natural thing until I realized this week that there’s more to me than what I do. Shocking. Seriously though, I’ve never considered that before. My life is so performance-focused, all about doing the right things, pleasing the right people, excelling and succeeding. But having an identity rooted in performance is becoming extremely problematic.
I had FINALLY found something that I could do well- agriculture. But this year, God directed me to intern with Cru. Leadership and ministry do NOT come naturally to me. It is a struggle every single day, and it’s not getting any easier. The learning curve is huge and most of it is “learn as you go.” Which is synonymous to “learn by making mistakes.” So as a performance-based person, every time something doesn’t go well CRASH goes my identity. I am “good” and “acceptable” when I am on time, prepared, and confident. I am “bad” and “worthless” when things don’t go as planned. And I don’t think I’ve had a single day this quarter where things went as planned.
But guess what? God doesn’t value or love me because of my performance. He loves me because He CHOOSES to love me. His very NATURE is love. It would go against His nature to stop loving me. How awesome is that?! And if God loves me, nothing else really matters. Read Ephesians 1:3-12 (The Message version really brings it home for me. Sometimes I need it in my language; emphases are mine).
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
God has designed me for glorious living. That means living in a way that gives glory to God, not necessarily in a perfect way. In fact, my failures force me to remind myself of the Gospel and of God’s surpassing grace. I think that gives God a LOT of glory!
So, identity. My identity is in Christ. It’s okay that I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. It’s okay if I am late to the Bible study I’m leading because I forgot to eat dinner. It’s okay if I am horribly confused by what an identity outside of performance is. Because I know who I am in Christ. I am beloved and valued, worth more than any amount of money. I can’t disappoint Him- Christ’s already paid for my failures. I can’t do anything to make Him love me any less.
And I’m going on a personality hunt 🙂 a friend pointed out that after work each day, I get a chance to start to live my life. I get to discover who I am and what I enjoy. Anyone want to come along on the ride? It’s gonna be a mess- but a glorious mess!