Small Group Leader
Child of God
Cross out anything that could be taken away in this life. Example: If something happened to Nick, I would no longer be a wife. If my worth and identity is based on being a wife and something happens to Nick, then who am I? If I lost my job or got into an accident where I couldn't perform my job? Then who would I be?
Hopefully at this point you realize that no earthly role or relationship is eternal.
If your relationships and roles can be taken away, then what's left?
My testimony relating to who I thought I was:
I grew up a ballet dancer. I started young and quickly became very into it. I had classes every day, was in a performing company and danced until I was 17. Traveled in the summer for more instruction and I was always the one instructors used to show the others by example. I worked hard and I was good. I wanted to pursue my career as a dancer. However God had other plans, I dislocated my hip and had intestinal problems. I wasn't able to keep the pace I had. I was DEVASTATED! My whole life of work towards the goal of being a dancer was gone. All the things I'd sacrificed flashed before me and I was very depressed. I didn't want to dance at all because I couldn't on the level I wanted to. I quit all together and felt like a failure. I felt I had disappointed my family and friends and I didn't know who I was. I was always known as the little dancer. That was what made me feel loved. So when it was time to graduate I did the only other thing I was good at and that was art. I'd always enjoyed drawing in the car and in between classes. So I went to art school.
I did very well in college. I majored in Graphic Design and I had a job lined up before I was even done school. I ended up working for the same agency for 11 years. I was successful, made good money, had good evaluations, got lots of pats on the back from clients who insisted I do their work, I found my identity again, this time as a Graphic Designer. I worked lots of hours and constantly strived to improve and be the best.
This was the hardest time of my life though. I still felt so empty and no ones approval of how good I was was ever enough. I hit a rock bottom moment and gave my life to Christ. I thought I didn't have anything to lose.
My life changed drastically but one thing I still had trouble grasping was my worth. I still wasn't fully getting who I was or my purpose. I was serving at the church a lot and loved it but something was still missing. I still felt unworthy of God's love.
I got married to Nick and then eventually got pregnant with Luke and Taylor. Nick and I decided that I would quit my job to stay home with them. When I stopped working as a Graphic Designer and became a stay at home Mom I had to learn who I was again. Now my identity as a Graphic Designer was changed to a Mom. I still freelance at home now but I left the workplace. No pats on the back, no job well done, no salary. I never felt that Luke and Taylor weren't worth it. I never regretted it once, I love being home with them, but I still felt the need for that approval. What if I'm not a successful Mom?
What was I worth now? God's been speaking to me about this very thing.
Another story. I have one main client that I've worked with for almost my entire career. I work on projects for beautiful architecture that his company designs and builds. I love this guy. He's the best client in the world because he's creative. He is a very visual person, he love all things beautiful and we share a love of design and photography. He travels all over the country selling to very wealthy clients. I called him right before Christmas to ask him a question about a job and he said he was just leaving his eye appointment. He's in his 50's and he had degeneration in his one eye and had a few surgeries. He had just received the news that his other eye started the same process which would eventually leave him blind. This client is not a christian and any time I've ever mentioned my faith he's kinda brushed it off. I was in shock and actually bawled when I got off the phone. Everything he does is visual. He emailed me and apologized for upsetting me with his baggage. I told him that after all the years of working together I certainly want to know how I can pray for him. He said he was going to look at as much as he can for as long as he can. I've never heard him sound so sad in all those years of talking to him. He doesn't have a relationship with God and he feels he is losing what he's worth.
What I'm trying to tell you from my story and my client's is not to spend your life defining who you are by what you do.
The truth is God made you who you are. He created you for a purpose that no one else can fill. You don't have to accomplish anything to be who he made you. You already ARE who he made you. He wants a relationship with you so he can show you who you are and help you accomplish your purpose. He gave you gifts. He wants you to use those gifts. Who God made us doesn't change. Who God made me has been the same all along even though I thought my identity was based on my achievements, my job title, my success, my relationships. Who God made my client hasn't changed even though he may go blind. Who God made you doesn't change when your parents divorce, it doesn't change when your boyfriend cheats on you, it doesn't change when you fail a class, or don't make the team. It doesn't change if your parents abused you. Who God made you, his love for you, his purpose for your life will never change.
Ya see if you live your life thinking your identity is in what you do, who your related to, who your friends are, how successful you are, you will face one disappointment after another. You will feel lost time and time again because only God can tell you who you are and why he put you on this earth. He will be there for eternity. His love for you never changes.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things (including us) were created by him and for him.
I know this is a common verse but listen to it carefully and let God speak to you
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Do you believe it? Do you believe God made you for a purpose? Are you willing to seek him to let him show you who you are?
This is one of my kids books. "You are Special" by Max Lucado. It gets me every time I read it.
Here's a link to the story online. Please take the time to read it.
- Are you willing to meet with your maker every day so he can remind you who you are and who he made you?
- Are you willing to believe that what he thinks is more important than what others think?
- Who could possibly know us better than who made us?
- Who could possibly love us more than who created us?
Follow up ideas...
Spiritual Gift Evaluation
Click here for an online test.
Ask others what gifts they see in you?
Have 5 of the closest people to you list gifts they see in you.
Then after praying over that list, ask God how he wants you to use your talents and gifts.
Meet with a youth leader or trusted friend and talk about what you discovered.
15 Minutes a Day
Spend 15 mins a day reading the Bible and praying. Can you give God 15 mins out of a whole day to fill you up? See if you can stop at that once you get going? :)
Read more about your purpose.
Read the Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren. I read this a long time ago and it's a great book on the topic of why we are here.
I hope you have discovered that a relationship with God, his love for you, who he made you and the purpose he gave you is eternal and nothing can take that away or change it.
I don't expect you have "arrived" at WHO YOU ARE by reading this. I do pray you will ask God to reveal it to you. The fun part about having a relationship with God is that he will reveal who you are and your purpose as you need to know it and as you can handle it. He won't speak when you aren't listening. So listen. He won't ask you to do more than what he's given you the ability to do. He made you who you are. He doesn't make mistakes. AND There's nothing wrong with having goals and dreams...just know where they are coming from. Are they for your glory or God's? God will bless you with more than you could have dreamed of if you just follow his lead. The relationships and roles you crossed out are added blessings from him because he loves you. Enjoy the journey with him and remember it's HIM who gave you life, made you uniquely you and gave you purpose. And THAT will NEVER change.
Romans 8:35, 38-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.