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I am pleased to introduce Robin who wrote this guest post. Robin is in full-time ministry as a Children’s Director, she is a wife and mom of twin 5 year olds, and is a good friend. Thanks, Andrea- The Food Tracking Momma
With this new year, I have heard many people recommend choosing one focus word as opposed to setting traditional new year’s resolutions. This is not a focus quote but a word that you will meditate on for the entire year. After some contemplation, I have determined my new year’s focus word is “identity”. Let me tell you why this word is applicable to both you and me.
As a visitor to the Food Tracking Momma blog, you probably understand that much of our identity is focused on health and weight loss. Yet, isn’t it true that if we lose a few pounds, we feel so much better about ourselves, and if we gain some pounds, we feel worse- defeated. Truthfully, this one “measurement” can send me straight into a vicious, destructive cycle. It’s an identity roller coaster and it places so much focus on my weight. Now don’t get me wrong, being healthy and losing weight is important, but identity is not in the scale.
What is my identity?
So here is my confession. I am having an identity complex. At 45 years old, I am still trying to figure out who I am. I am on an identity roller coaster, and I’m unfortunately what the book of James says is “like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).
This is because I am driven and tossed by my emotions, my performance reports, my to do list, my children’s behavior, the number of likes on my last Facebook post and yes, the number on the scale. I am committed to working on identity as my new year’s focus word.
My identity is defined by the Lord
I have come to realize that much of this identity crisis stems from not being happy and satisfied with who I am, with how the Lord created me, and not knowing (or forgetting) what He says about my identity in Him. In Christ I am a new creation, I am free, I am to live life abundantly. But I struggle. Let me share a story to illustrate this point.
A few years back, I was shopping for foundation at a department store’s makeup counter and the sales lady began helping me match my skin tone. Now, you need to know that I am typically a drug store makeup buyer, but I was trying not to waste any more money on foundation that didn’t work. So, she was matching my skin tone and she said to me, “You are a perfect, medium peach.” With that my heart sank. Medium Peach? Yuck! I didn’t want to be peach… I wanted to be ivory, tan, olive, porcelain… please ANYTHING BUT NOT PEACH.
For some reason, deep in my heart, I had come to incorrectly believe that medium peach was not beautiful. Now, this may not seem monumental to you, but to me it was life-changing. It was a snapshot of a larger identity issue. I spend so much time trying to be what I think is acceptable, or lovely, or desirable, that I forget that who I am is defined by the Lord. Can you relate?
My identity is grounded in Christ
Grounding my day with knowing who I am in Christ and how He has made me will keep me from striving to be anything but Me. I recently had a conversation with a friend which led us both to the conclusion that if we are not daily filling our hearts and minds with God’s truth, that we are going to get out of alignment, and this includes matters of identity.
We need the truth of God’s Word to protect us from the constant false truths that we are bombarded with every day. False truths of who we “should be” and that our identity is based on a number on a scale, how many Pinterest followers and viewers we have, or how others view us as persons. False truths about worth, parenting, beauty, success, and I could go on and on.
New year’s focus word: identity
Let me share four helpful ways we can both change to a healthy identity focus:
1. To know our identity, we must first know God
To know who we truly are, we must first know God. This is because God defines our identity. We must look to our Maker to know who He says we are, His gifts He has given us, and how we are allowing His Holy Spirit to work in and through us. This is where we will find our identity.
Recognizing that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him and understanding that we are a unique child of God. Sons and daughters of the King. When we see ourselves through this lens, recognizing our own uniqueness as His masterpiece, we can be who He made us to be instead of what or who we “think” we should be (and missing the mark every time).
2. To know our identity, we must know God’s definition of beauty
Here is the truth… your beauty is not based on a number on the scale. The number on the scale cannot change your beauty because your beauty is NOT based on any (not even one) physical attribute. Beauty comes from within a person.
The Bible says, “that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 4). The only thing that affects our beauty is what is inside us. THAT IS IT. Having a good (or bad) hair day, new clothes, and even losing five extra pounds cannot make you more beautiful. They just can’t. These momentary, physical attributes are not that powerful against real unfading beauty.
Take a few moments to ponder the truth about beauty. Isn’t this a relief? I am beautiful even with a bad hair day and last year’s clothes. “Lord, help me (all of us) to know this truth deep in our hearts.”
3. Our identity is based on God’s truth, not other people’s opinions
Identity is not based on anyone else’s opinion. Our worth, accomplishments, parenting success and failures are not determined by other people. When we allow someone else to determine or affect our identity, we are making them an idol. Does this language sound a little too strong? Maybe, but it is truth. When we place another’s opinion above what God says, we are making that person and their beliefs an idol. Let’s take them off the “throne” and instead put God and His truth in its rightful place.
4. Our identity is based on God’s truth, not our accomplishments
Our identity is not in our accomplishments, ‘to do’ lists, or even failures. Once we realize that who we are is not based on accomplishments and/or failures, we can live in freedom, no longer a slave to success or perfection. In fact, striving for “perfect” doesn’t lead to beauty, it leads to a sanitized, institutionalized, white-washed version of life. Identity is not found in perfection, it is found in God’s truth!
Today I am going to spend some time writing down my thoughts related to my new year’s focus word- identity. I will add to it each day if necessary, and look to God’s word to ground me and help me see how He sees me. Additionally, I am going to reclaim parts of me I have lost, repent for areas I have allowed to inaccurately define me, and nurture parts that I have been too busy to cultivate. Would you join me? If you found this information helpful, please comment and let me know.
Guest post for The Food Tracking Momma