We wrap ourselves in many things to be known by other people.
Imagine that you watch me pick up a maroon scarf, and drape it around my neck. Let’s say it represents my relationships with people (such as sister, wife, and friend).
Then, I cover my shoulders in a grey scarf for my abilities – my talents, training, and all the things I’m known for being good at.
Next comes a blue scarf wrapped around my waist. It represents the positions I hold, with words that communicate the roles I’m known for.
By now it’s getting difficult to keep these scarves all wrapped around me!
Then I work hard to add a cozy striped scarf which represents my possessions, or anything I feel ownership of.
The scarves wrapped around me are so awkward now that I can’t even walk!
We’re all drawn to create identity for ourselves from our relationships, abilities, positions, and possessions. Identity is simply who we know ourselves to be, and it typically grows in the context of relationships. We each have things we’ve clasped on to, to try to know ourselves or be known by others.
These are things we can see and easily experience the benefits of. They are good in and of themselves. But they are gifts from God to be used and enjoyed, rather than deriving our identity from them.
Instead we’re invited to discover our identity in Christ. When we don’t find our identity in him, we leave ourselves vulnerable to finding our identity in our relationships, abilities, positions, and possessions.
Paul the Apostle shared something similar from his life. Before following Jesus, his identity was wrapped up in his cultural heritage, training, religious morality, and experiences (Philippians 3:3-6).
But when he began to follow Jesus and was called to ministry, his identity radically changed.
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phil. 3:7, ESV
Knowing Jesus was more important than anything else in Paul’s life. It put everything else he’d ever wanted in perspective!
One scarf can be cozy and make a nice addition to an outfit. But wrapping up in a bunch of them would keep us from moving freely.
We don’t have to be hindered by awkward scarves wrapped around us. When we know our true identity in Christ, we are free to be the person we were created to be.
We are free from struggling to appear a certain way. From caring what people think. From being shattered when we lose these things. We are free to live a life that is motivated by love for others, which flows out of the love we receive from Christ.
We remove the awkward scarves, and instead “Put On Love! ” (We’ll talk about this more in the next post.)
What scarves do you wrap around yourself? How do you want to appear to others?
Make time to connect with Jesus on a daily basis. What will your plan be? Try reading one of he gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. As you read, ask: Who is Jesus? Who am I? What does he ask me to do? Doing this can create space in your life to connect with Jesus so that this relationship forms your identity.
Does this topic of identity catch at your soul? If so, I’d love to hear from you! I am a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. I help people live and love well out of their strengths and their relationship with Christ. I’d like to encourage you in your journey! Simply write me a note.