Who am I? Freed to be ME

Who am I? Living My Identity in Christ

Last week I talked about authenticity. So, who am I, really? Am I gloriously authentic?

The End of Memory

In his book, The End of Memory, theologian Miroslav Volf examines how we truthfully remember wrongs suffered, and why it’s important.

In Chapter Six: Memory, the Exodus, and the Passion; in which he further discusses the results of healed memories, Mr. Volf states that God based Israel’s motivation to follow His commands concerning how to treat slaves and other vulnerable people – fellow Israelites and aliens – on how the Israelites were oppressed as slaves in Egypt, and on how they were delivered. He expected His people to care for others as He cared for them.

Grace expressed in redemption from slavery was Israel’s national identity.

“For the nation to fail to imitate God would not simply be to disregard wise counsel or disobey a moral command but, in a sense, to betray themselves, no less than the redeeming God, by living in contradiction to their true identity” (p 105).

Their true identity. Hmm…

Who am I?

My true identity is also that of one redeemed from slavery; an act of grace undergirds all I truly am.

Grace undergirds all I truly am. #identity #authenticity Click To Tweet

Who am I? Living My Identity in ChristSometimes it seems too difficult to do what I’m supposed to do, to do what is right, to follow God’s commands that go against my natural inclinations.

Because that’s who I am, right? I’ve had to admit some ugly realities about myself. I’m selfish and self-centered. I have pet sins I rationalize and to which I too easily fall victim. So, that’s me, right? All that stuff, it’s who I am.

Yes! And no.

I need to be aware of my weaknesses. We’re warned to not become stumbling blocks for others; we also need to avoid our own stumbling blocks. I need to admit when what I’m doing, or saying, or THINKING isn’t God-honoring so I can repent and move on. So I can stop acting in contradiction to my true identity, and be me.

Sin may come naturally, but it no longer defines me. It can only change my appearance when I let it. Who I AM is a daughter of God the King.

Live Accordingly

Try harder is typically a phrase to avoid when it comes to our walk of faith. It is by grace that I am redeemed. I couldn’t earn it. There is nothing I could ever do to make me worthy of what I received.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t make an effort. In fact, making an effort is the only reasonable response.

When I forget who I am, I make short-sighted choices. I want to feel good, to feel better, now. I’m still living consequences of patterns of sin I thought I was getting away with in the past. It’s a hard truth, but there is no sin we commit that harms only us. I must take responsibility for my choices, my failures, and my health – spiritual, mental, emotional, physical.

Why would I want to live anything less than who I am?

My Broken Brain

I’m learning that mental illness is not the part of me that is less-than. It’s a predisposition, exacerbated by experience. It’s a glitch in my brain.

It’s not sin.

Mental illness is not a sin. Click To Tweet

I sin when I don’t do what I should to give my brain the best chance… ouch. I sin when I let my brokenness be bigger than my God. I sin when I don’t let God be strong in my weakness.

Sin can make my depression and anxiety worse, and symptoms of my mental illness tempt me to sin, but mental illness is not sin. (My friend Sara, The Messy Mrs., has a great argument for not calling it mentally ill but mentally different; I’m owning the term mentally ill to fight the stigma in my way, but you should check out what she has to say).

Be YOU

We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. There will always be someone smarter, faster, better-looking, more whatever-attribute-we-value. But it’s not those things God looks at. He looks at our heart.

None of us is inadequate for what God calls us to do. We can’t do it in our own strength, but we’re perfectly designed for what He would have us do.

When we want to be all that we’re created to be, it’s the state of our heart that matters. Do we long for God, or lesser things? Do we pursue holiness or happiness? Do we choose obedience to God or pleasing ourselves?

Do we long for God or lesser things? Click To Tweet

We all have things that can make us feel less-than when we let them, but we were uniquely created to fulfill God’s purpose. It’s not physical, emotional, or mental differences in betrayal of our true identity, it’s sin.

 

 

 

If you appreciated Who Am I? Living My Identity in Christ, check out this related content:

Truth and Lies

Our Stories

Spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely. John Ortberg

a good God

What to Do when You Feel Homesick at Home

 

 

 

 

You can find this post and other great Christian content at the following linkups:

Under the Tree SittingAmongThumbnail Grace & Truth Weekly Christian Link-Up

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Who am I? Living My Identity in Christ

  1. I appreciate your transparency with your mental illness. I appreciate your acknowledgment on the problem. I pray God will bless you and heal you. Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

  2. Thank you for this compelling and thought provoking post. I have been bothered by the whole “be yourself” thing that is popular today, mostly because it comes across to me often as meaning to give up on being something better than our natural flesh wants to be and just let ourselves go in whatever direction the flesh wants. You make a good point that there is a difference between “being ourselves” without changing all the sinful, mucky parts and “being ourselves” as God created us to be as we overcome and live with and through the difficult parts of ourselves. And, that’s where the glory of God’s grace makes a difference – taking the hurts of the slavery we have endured and making them tools to reach out and show God to others.

    I have an anxiety disorder and I have SAD every year, so I understand what you are talking about. I had a friend who went through 12 years of depression and part of that was severe. She used to say that Christians don’t condemn someone who can’t see well for getting glasses, so why should we judge someone who is emotionally or mentally injured or broken and say they are sinning for having that problem? They need something to help that weakness or brokeness just as much as the person who can’t see well needs glasses.

    I think of this: 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
    If Christians never experienced the pain of depression and anxiety, how would they understand how to comfort those who do? And, so many in this broken world do suffer from mental illness.

    I came from the Grace & Truth link up. 🙂
    Mary Stephens recently posted…When God Says “I Love You”My Profile

    • Thank you for your comment. Yes, it can be difficult for Christians struggling with anxiety and depression to find the understanding and encouragement they need.

      I love this passage of Scripture.

  3. Being me comes hard sometimes for I am not always sure who I am. BUT…I do know Whose I am and that is all that really matters, isn’t it? Thank you for your words and hitting many nails on the head!
    You have encouraged and blessed me, ~ linda

    • I’m glad I could encourage you! I also struggle with knowing who I am. Too many years of trying to live up to others’ expectations, and failing any way. Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. Truly blessed once again by your insights and heart after God. Indeed, we are NOT what we do or what we may ‘have’ but Whose we are! What amazing peace comes from the Amazing Grace of our Heavenly Father. As daughters of the Most High He knows our frailties and loves us through them when we keep our eyes on Jesus and repent during those times of “one step back”. It is in part my “failings” that keep me humble and fully aware of my need for my Savior. My “failings” remind me that God isn’t finished with me yet and He and I need more time intense together so that He can mold this pot of clay into His image.
    Your blog is such an encouragement and help for me on my journey toward His likeness! Thank you Melinda for continuing to teach me the way as we trod through the faith walk together!
    claucko recently posted…And… The Mending ContinuesMy Profile

    • Thank you, Claudia. No, He’s not finished with us, and yes, we do need Him constantly. I’m glad I can encourage you.

  5. YES!!!! to be YOU – Be real! yes yes yes. and yes – stop comparing. someone’s depression isn’t like anothers. someone’s hurt isn’t like another

    I say it all the time – pain is pain and it ALL HURTS.
    Marie recently posted…Invisible WoundsMy Profile

  6. Amen! I so love this post. I was diagnosed with anxiety this summer and for the longest time I was ashamed to tell my friends or others about my anxiety. But just like you, I am learning that my anxiety is a glitch and I am slowly learning how to manage it in a healthy way.

    • Being diagnosed means you sought help. Good! Learning to manage your glitch in a healthy way, YES! One thing I’m learning, from this side of a glitch and the other side of others’ is that our actions and responses influenced by our glitches can be baffling to the people around us; and awareness is helpful.

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