Identity vs. Intimacy

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I cannot believe I have been in Scotland for over a year. The past few weeks have been filled with many hours thinking about the past year and praying for the next few months ahead. I am not always the best at recognizing what the Lord is doing in my life while He’s doing it, I mostly recognize it after. Then I read through my journals, amazed at the common themes God was weaving that I failed to recognize.

When I look back at my first few months here I realized it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows like the first two weeks were. Hitting the ground running was fairly simple since there was no language to learn and there were already ministries in place. I just had to learn to insert myself.  The reality of living in a spiritually dark place and in the midst of broken people began to weigh on my heart quickly.

I spent many nights falling asleep in tears thinking, “How am I going to do this?” or “What is my purpose here?” I was too busy living in a selfish posture, rather than taking a step back and asking the Lord to comfort my heart. Instead I moved passed the holidays and the dark winter and became happy, but still never assessing what the pain was.

Around my 6th month I finally understood what the pain was, I wasn’t searching for the answer, but through the Word and through quiet spaces, I realized it.

Identity.

I stepped into Scotland without the identity that I left in America. I could no longer place who I was in my family, my friendships, my church, or even my gifts. No one knew any of those things, but the one identity I had that people could know was Jesus. I came with a portion of my identity in Him, but quickly realized it had to be all His. I now recognize that the moment my attitude changed was when I wanted Jesus above all of my temporary satisfactions.

From that moment on, I was learning what it meant to lean into Jesus, to let Him be my purpose, my identity. I was constantly learning it, and I had figured it all out. So I thought.

Then summer came. I was out of my routine, and the weather was still grey and it wasn’t summer like I imagined. I am Type A, to the core, so I love a good schedule. When I was out of my routine, which included my time with the Lord, I felt empty. I reminded myself that if I wanted joy and peace I had to know who I was, and that required time with the Lord.

Soon I realized that I did not need to know who I was to be satisfied, I needed to know who my Creator is. It isn’t until I know Him fully and intimately that I can know and truly believe who He says I am.

This has been an ongoing process of recognizing the character of God. Not just reading it in scripture and believing it, but seeing it active in my life and in the lives of those around me. It has been life-altering for me. I began studying scripture in a new way with a deep desire to know who God is, and who He is to me.

There is so much I could tell you about who I’ve learned God is, but it is an endless story. I will take time to share a few that stand out most at this time. He is…..

Faithful. He is a promise Maker and a promise Keeper. — Psalm 119:89-90

All Sufficient. He is self-sufficient, and we can trust He provides our every need. — 2 Cor 2:4-6

Powerful. Not only Jesus’ death and resurrection powerful, but all that God is displays his power and glory. — 2 Cor 13: 3-4

Constant. When everything else fails, He is never will. — Hebrews 1:10-21

Sovereign. Even when everything may not be as I imagined, I can trust He is working it all for His good and the purpose of His glory. — Romans 8:27-28.

Omniscient. He knows all, therefore He deserves to be glorified in our public lives and the parts of our lives that others do not see. — Psalm 147:5

This has lead into a real conviction of being aware of how we are leading others and for me a real awareness of how I am leading others at a young age. Our culture is constantly speaking the truth that God made us in His image, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. This is true, but I have just felt this strong conviction lately that we need to stop talking about who we are and talk more about who God is. That the Creator of the world desires us, and not a surface level version of love, but a deep intimate relationship with us. We can no longer be dependent on who we are. Our dependency lies in who God is and the truth that who He is will be enough for us.

We need to be learning and teaching that He is a God of grace when we fail, because we will. We need to learn that He is self- sufficient, therefore we can boldly walk knowing He is supplying our every need. We need to know that he is an omniscient God, because He deeply cares for us and about us.

I just believe that if we know more of who God is we would walk in a greater confidence. Self doubt, shame, insecurities, and fear wouldn’t have nearly as strong of a reign in our lives when we are basing each and everything on the goodness of God. We would walk in a greater confidence because we are trusting in who God is, not who we are.

It’s something that I will forever be learning, but I hope I never lose sight of who God is because I would rather know who I am. Our identity isn’t something that is about us. It never will be. It’s always about Jesus.

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