Identity is the central theme of this decade of our lives, don’t you think? In our twenties we’re constantly changing roles from student, to employee, to boss (for some of us), girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, parent, friend, sibling, bridesmaids/groomsmen, etc…the roles are endless. It’s a crazy how different the 20s can be for each person. We’re all finding our way. So it seems fitting that identity was the second week of our Chase study as I lead these sweet 20 and 30 something’s through this study because who isn’t chasing their identity in some way?
Each week has ‘homework’ which includes reading, projects, and some thought provoking questions. I like to write out my answers in prep to share with my group of course, but also so I have a ‘roadmap to my soul’ if I ever lose track. I love retracing my steps through what the Lord is teaching me. Which has made this particular study fun – as I compare my answers I wrote in Africa 6 months ago when I first did this study to where my heart is today.
This week she asked, ‘What is your worth built on and how is it working for you?’ Take a moment to process the weight of that. Along with this we were asked to draw ‘blocks’ and put on each of them you write something you have built your identity on…this could be your job, your family, a relationship, a friendship, etc. So I sat and wrote five of my own.
Who are you if you lose all of this?, she asks.
I sat on my red velvet couch in my home that I guess you could say now factors into my identity. This is where I meet the Lord most mornings. And I stared at my notebook. I read and reread the 5 blocks I listed, the foundation of my identity and wondered: if you took them all away, who would be left? Do I know who I am without my Becca-made identity? The truth is I do. At the core of me I know who I am in Christ and that foundation is even stronger than this earthly one I’ve built primarily throughout these 7 years of being in my 20s.
Does the idea of losing each of these 5 components scare me? Absolutely. Especially since one of those blocks contains the thing I love most on this earth – my family. What this means though, is that this study is meeting me where I need it. It’s getting to the core of what is defining me and by result, keeping me from defining myself wholly in Christ. Jennie Allen and her description of David chasing the heart of God are challenging me.
She writes, ‘we have an identity crisis because we build our identity on things that move – things that aren’t dependable or constant’. There’s so much wisdom in that. While my love for my family never fails to be there – my family could. Whatever your five blocks say if you study each one you realize that any of them could move. Could I lose a family member or my whole family? Yes. Could I lose my job or a friend or a guy I’m in love with? Absolutely. And if I build my identity on these shifting, changing things then who is left when they’re gone?
If this idea is panicking you a little bit: take a deep breath. This study is based in Psalm and if you know me you know that I am in love with this book of the bible written by David who I suspect I would have been great friends with (I like to say he’s fiery and more than a little emo at times). And in the twenty-third Psalm he writes:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
That’s just the first 6 verses. If you’re in need of encouragement, please read it all. And if you’re wanting more keep reading in Psalm – each chapter is truly amazing. But I love that chapter 23, the one Jennie shares in this identity lesson is full of such rich promises:
I have all that I need.
He renews my strength.
Surely His goodness and unfailing love PURSUE me all the days of my life.
And I, for one, can’t hardly wait to dwell in the house of my God forever.
That is where my identity belongs, in His unfailing promises. In He who created me to chase something. In the one who created me to chase Him. David, God bless him, had a clear picture of what he was chasing. He was chasing the heart of God. And we see over and over in the book of Psalm that David knew where his identity was, in Christ alone. Not in being a King. Not in being the man who defeated Goliath. Not in being a murder or an adulterer (though he was both). Not in being the youngest of Jesse’s sons or a soldier. David had more labels and titles and responsibility then I could ever handle but he didn’t let any of those define him, his identity was found solely in His relationship with a big God.
Whew. Only the first real week of study and already we're in the deep end. Stay tuned, we're just gearing up.