Our identity comes from Christ—who we are at our core and who we become is built from this foundation. When struggling with identity issues, we often ask ourselves, “What is it that God wants me to do?” or “Who is God creating me to be?” These are great questions, but they reveal a future-focused mindset.
Our core identity is not based on how we think God wants to use us in the future or what we hope to become someday. Our core identity comes from who we are right now, today, in Christ—who we have always been, from birth because God made us this way. We are exactly what God intended, but why can’t we see it?
This is an interesting phenomenon: throughout our lifetime, our identity is constantly molded, smoothed, chipped, destroyed, and recreated, over and over and over again. Not our true identity, but the identity we want others to see. Our environment, the people who have influence, and the choices we make contribute to this process. But who were we before our life was tainted by the sins of this world? What unique qualities did God give us at birth—our personality, talents, and temperament—to shape our core identity?
• A sensitive heart: others saw it as a weakness and called me names, but God made me sensitive to spiritual things.
• Loving and compassionate: sometimes twisted into a codependent behavior, but God designed me to practically and spiritually minister to others.
• Belief in others: trusted those who were not trustworthy, but God gave me a heart to trust Him and discern how to be loyal to those who can be trusted.
• Forgiving: taken advantage of by those who hurt me, but God gave me a forgiving heart and the ability to create healthy boundaries.
This should make us angry! To think that God gave us a precious gift and the enemy of our soul twisted, manipulated, and used it against us and others is outrageous! To make matters worse, the enemy made us believe the lie—the lie that is now attached to our gift. The lie that causes us to doubt ourselves. The lie that keeps us in isolation. The lie that creates a divide in our relationship with God and others.
Although the enemy has tried to use our gifting against us, used it to separate us from true relationship with God, he did not destroy it. He cannot destroy it. Do you know why? Because it is a core piece of our identity. Without question, we are made in the image of God. Therefore, the unique areas of gifting that shape our core identity are of God. In many ways, our DNA—the very core of our existence—is super-charged with the essence of God. While our environment, experiences, and behaviors influence our gifting, they cannot destroy our core identity that God intentionally put in us for His good and His glory. It can’t happen.
So, why does it feel like the enemy of our soul destroyed our gifting? When we look for our true identity, why does it feel shameful, embarrassing, and hopeless? Why do we try so hard to create a fake identity, a facade that others will accept and love? Why do we work so hard to cover and hide our core identity?
“Our greatest area of woundedness is our greatest area of giftedness.
God gave us an amazing area of gifting, unique to us, and intended for God’s glory. At some point, something happened, something deep in our core that caused us to believe that our gift was bad—not only is our gift bad, but we are bad. The shame of this experience created a catastrophic response that yielded years of self-destructive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that continue to hold us hostage. The enemy has done everything in his power—steal, kill, and destroy156—to stomp the life out of our gifting, but we cannot continue to be the victim of his assault. We need to fight back. We need to discover who we are at our core. We need to become our identity
Once we recognize that our core identity comes from Christ, we need to figure out what this means. This process takes time. We need to be intentional about spending time with God and in His Word so we can hear what He is saying to us. We need to give the Holy Spirit opportunity to speak truth into our life, to revitalize—bring back to life—our identity. Our core beliefs are attached to our identity and gifting, but they have been distorted by the enemy. It’s time to let the truth set us free.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” JOHN 8:31-32 ESV
As we spend time with God, through prayer and reading His Word, we not only gain a greater understanding of who He is, we also gain a greater understanding of our identity in Him. If we allow it, God will speak to us so clearly and so specifically that it cannot be denied.
I have a heart for children. This was especially evident when my husband and I started talking about adoption. We were both in our mid-50s, with two grown daughters and grandchildren. It seemed an unlikely path for a couple our age, but we felt confident in what God was calling us to do. I am the oldest of four children with one brother, a half-brother, and a half-sister. Although we had different dads, we were very close. I was very protective of my
Although it wasn’t revealed until after I was married, I was sexually abused by my stepfather for many years. At one point, I told my mother about the abuse, thinking she would protect me, but that didn’t happen. My mother confronted my stepfather and made some threats, but she was not about to stand up for me, especially if it meant experiencing another failed marriage. I felt responsible for the abuse and suffered in silence, but I also carried the burden of protecting my siblings from any form of abuse.
For many years, I struggled with identity issues. On one hand, I felt used, betrayed, exploited, unloved, and worthless. On the other hand, there was something in me that felt courageous, honorable, and brave. I wrestled with these conflicting feelings for years and couldn’t make sense of what it meant.
I had a relationship with the Lord but didn’t feel like God spoke to me in any specific way. A few months ago, I tried something new as part of my weekly Bible study. All the women in the group decided to start reading one psalm per day, meditating on that scripture passage throughout the day. I sought the Lord and grew in my love relationship with him. Although I didn’t feel that God spoke to me in any profound way, I was diligent in reading through the psalms, enjoying my time with the Lord.
Then it happened. On day 82, while reading Psalm 82, God spoke to me. It was as though the words became energized as they jumped off the page:
Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. PSALM 82:3-4
In the moment, my body felt warm as an indescribable peace covered me from head to toe. As tears fell from my eyes, I heard God’s voice. I heard what He was saying.
“You are brave and strong. You protect and shield the innocent. You are resilient, defending the weak, giving grace to those in need. The fatherless will be safe in your arms.”
This experience with God was invigorating. I knew it meant something, but not sure what to do next. Within a couple weeks, a missionary couple was visiting my church. They spoke about a specific need in the region they served where many children, mostly little girls, were abandoned. If not adopted by loving families, many would end up on the streets or sold into human trafficking.
As I listened to their plea, I knew exactly what God was asking me to do. These words echoed in my spirit, “The fatherless will be safe in your arms.” Despite my past abuse, God was going to use me to rescue and protect these little girls. I was going to give them a home where they would be safe.
When our core beliefs do not align with our identity in Christ, it creates an internal struggle that we need to process. If our core beliefs keep us in isolation—unable to recognize God’s voice in our life—we will miss out on experiencing God. We will miss out on what God is trying to do in us and through us.
In many ways, our view of God shapes the way we live, the decisions we make, and even what we think about ourselves. The more we strive to create relationship with God, the easier it becomes to create relationship with others.
Complete the FASTER Scale, Group Check-in, Self-Care lesson, Thoughts/Feelings
Awareness Log, and Change & Growth Analysis in your Unraveled: Weekly Tools before
the next group meeting.