The world will size you up in an instant: Height, weight, body shape and size. Clothes, skin tone, job title, marital status.
You’re judged in the blink of an eye: gorgeous. Successful. Inspiring. Significant. Or maybe, instead: unimportant. Frumpy. Average. Meh.
We all may even be feeding this identity-monster via our efforts to construct and promote online versions of ourselves, Instagramming and Pinning our way toward a self-image we hope to project to the world.
But who are we . . . really? Beyond snap judgments, social-media profiles, and pasted-on labels, what’s at the core of who you really are—and why does it matter? In this issue of Today’s Christian Woman, we’re delving in to several key areas of identity and
examining what it means to find and embrace the woman God has designed us each to be.
- You’re more than a dating profile. The problem of equating identity with a social-media profile is exponentially magnified in the world of online dating where your date-ability is measured in an instant by potential suitors. In “Online Dating Isn’t for Me,” Ashly Stage explains why she “hated nearly every minute of online dating.” For Ashly, stepping away from the world of online dating profiles has helped her know and embrace her true self. If you’re single, whether you love online dating or hate it, how will you center yourself in Christ and be the real you?
- Your cultural background matters—to you and to the church. In our world still battling prejudice and ethnic tension, is the answer to be “colorblind” and seek to ignore race and culture? In “Racial Identity and the Church,” Austin Channing Brown investigates what it can look like for churches to acknowledge and celebrate cultural and ethnic differences rather than seeking to transcend them. “By digging into our racial identities,” she asserts, “we give ourselves the greatest chance for affirming our place in the imago dei.”
- Your work matters—but it’s not everything. Whether your calling is to an office, a lab, a factory, or to homemaking, your daily work matters. It’s a valid and important way you live out who God has designed you to be. So, asks Elizabeth Knox, what happens when you’re “Fired from Your Identity”? How can you hold tight to your sense of worth when part of your identity feels stripped away after losing a job? Elizabeth unpacks how you can navigate the pain of being let go and move forward with confidence and Christ-centered self-worth.
- The Enemy wants you confused and cowering. Embracing who you really are can be easier said than done. As Bianca Juarez Olthoff describes in “Spiritual Identity Theft,” she’s had countless women tell her, “But I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve completely lost myself and my identity.” And this, Bianca claims, is exactly where our Enemy wants us to be: unsure of who we really are. In her article, Bianca uncovers the spiritual battle behind our identity struggles, challenging us to live out who we truly are in Christ.
- The world needs you—the real you. “There is a true you God wants you to be,” affirm authors and pastors Adele Ahlberg Calhoun and Tracey Bianchi. “And that true you stands on the far side of fear, competition, and image.” In “Stop Performing and Just Be Yourself,” Adele and Tracey urge us to grip tightly to the reality that “God gives women agency, and power, and a call. We are designed by God to be a force for good in this world.” What does this mean for you? What is your calling? How will you live in this world as the true you?
Beyond snap judgments and online profiles, who you really are matters. It’s not easy to live out of a confident sense of selfworth centered in Christ. I struggle with it too—I battle the “identity thief” as much as the next woman! But there’s one sure way I’ve found to rest, to let go of all the superficialities and pressures, and to learn— again and again and again—to simply be who he’s made me to be. I discover who I am when I’m quiet before the I Am. There is both great mystery and deep soul-assurance in the identity of God himself: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). He calls us: “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10). You, too, can find who you are in the great I Am.
So we pray:
When I don’t know who I am, you are I Am.
When I am not enough, you are more than enough.
When who I am seems lost, in you I am found again.
You Are More than Enough
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