“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.” Brennan Manning once said, “This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Identity is defined by the characteristics determining who or what a person or thing is. We are people and our identity is the attributes by which we define ourselves. People can search for identity in the things they’re good at, in their accomplishments, in their relationships, in their possessions. We all have examples of these people in our lives; we can also see them in ourselves. For me, it was sports. I put my identity in sports. I was good and I knew it. I was named team captain time and time again in my life and slowly but surely, it became who I was. In grade 10 I made the Varsity basketball team. I ended up being moved down to Junior Varsity for the remainder of the season, which was a bruise to my ego and ultimately my identity. Looking back, I think it was a God giving me a gentle reminder of the deficit between where I should place my identity and where it actually was. He was saying “Liv, would you still know who you were if I took this blessing away from you?”
Henri J.M. Nouwen said, “being the beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” If we define ourselves by anything other than God’s love for us, it is a false definition.
This week we all got our results back for the Myers-Briggs Personality test. We took these not only to help us understand ourselves better, but to better understand the lens from which we see the rest of the world through. When we have a better understanding of our own individual lens, we can recognise where it comes into play with our interactions with God’s people.
The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves; but how can we truly love ourselves if we have a false sense of who we are? “The most important thing in life,” Anne Sloan told us on the first day, “is to know Jesus and know what he says about me.” Knowing what he says about me means knowing that I am a child of God. I am not an athlete before that. I am not a writer before that. I am not beautiful or smart or talented before that. I can be all of these truths but first and foremost ‘I am loved’ and ‘I am a child of God’.
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” -Patrick Rothfuss. I am building my story on Christ. All that I was and am and ever will be is His. And I find such peace in that.