"Every time I walk into a room, I have to purposefully claim my identity."
She is petite, but she is powerful.
She is discredited by some because she is a woman, but she is a doctor of philosophy.
She is a sinner, but she is saved by grace.
I am convinced that when she chooses to walk into her true identity as a daughter of God, she pushes back a darkness that is intent on consuming this world...a darkness I have begun to pay more attention to as I look around and engage my sphere of influence. You see, I feel as if I am watching a tragic orphan crisis strike the Church. And as I examine my own heart, I wonder how long I have been living as an orphan.
Adoption is typically very expensive, whether a child is coming home from across an ocean or across town. Your adoption, though? Jesus spilled his blood to bring you into the Family. He bought you a new identity...And he deemed your redemption to be worth the incredibly steep cost. Yet how often do you and I continue to live the orphan complex? Unwanted, passed over, never good enough...It's the mantra that haunts the human soul.
As I was reading Ephesians 4 the other day, I noticed in a new way how active the exchange of identities is. Paul talks about "putting off your old self" and "putting on your new self." I read that and imagine stripping off dirty rags, then donning a new, snazzy outfit. While living into our new identities is certainly not as simple as changing outfits, I wonder if Paul knew we needed the imagery of purposeful action to remind us that this identity shift is not stagnant. It is a daily, moment by moment intention to strip off the old and actively put on the new.
Off with the I'm-not-enough and on with the I-am-chosen.
Off with the I'm-a-failure and on with the I'm-more-than-a-conqueror-in-Christ.
Off with the I'm-too-far-gone and on with the I-have-been-redeemed-by-the-blood-of-Jesus.
Off with the old, on with the new.
Every day, I have to intentionally dismantle the old identity, with its accusations and shame-haunting. And every day, I have to purposefully claim my new identity...because the identity I'm living into shapes every conversation I engage in, every action I take, every thought that crosses my mind. Everything I do is preceded by my identity.
In the following chapter of Ephesians, Paul says: "Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us..." (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Be imitators of God...ACT in a way that is consistent with who God is. But first, KNOW that you are a dearly loved child! Your identity PRECEDES your activity. Put on your new identity...and live it!
Some days I feel as if the voice in my head gets the better of me. I get lazy about the stripping and instead allow the accusations to simmer. Some days, though...some days I fight hard to remember who I am now. Some days I step into my identity as a beloved daughter of God and walk in love...being loved and being LOVE. While this war to slay the orphan complex will not see its final victory in this lifetime, every day battles are being waged and won toward that end. Off with the old, on with the new.
Won't you join me in the fight?