Who are you? Have you ever found yourself asking this question? Or pondering an image of yourself that you have constructed over the years?
Due to recent events that have transpired in my life, this topic has been on my mind now more than ever. There’s nothing like losing “everything” — your job, friends and security — to force you to really mull on these things.
In the fall of last year, I made a trip to Nepal, under what I saw as a deep conviction from the Lord. In fact, the Lord had revealed to me in a vision that I would be going to many places. Whether this was literal or figurative, I am now not so sure. But one thing I do know is that my experiences overseas have forever changed my life.
When I came back near the end of the month, I knew I had to find a job. Thankfully, I had received a couple of freelance writing gigs, which had been sustaining me for some time. But they were also short-term and so I felt the unspoken urge to find something more steady and permanent.
Turns out though, this was more difficult than I expected. I kid you not, every single job I applied for (even minimal jobs that required little to no experience) turned me down. And the ones I thought I did have lined up fell through the cracks.
I found this to be especially frustrating because my mother was also struggling financially and I really wanted to support her. There were days my mother, sister and I would go without food in the fridge. Yet I was helpless to do anything and then I found myself wondering why this was happening. In fact, after coming home one day from another interview, I had a fit of anxiety. I kicked one foot in the air and swayed my hands, in an awkward windmill motion. “Lord, why can’t you just give me a job?!”
The sad truth is that I could not even see clearly enough to understand His promises. There had been soft, faint whispers in the back of my mind, but I had been drowning them out. Add to this disapproval from my family and friends, and I began to succumb to the pressure. It was also a very lonely time; I had many moments when I felt that no one cared about me.
Now, as I sat in a rather vulnerable moment in my life, I began to see and understand the significance of identity. Unemployed and low on funds, I could no longer live this out through my job nor my friends. I had to learn to reclaim my identity in Christ and thereby discover my true worth. It was at this point that things began to change. Previously I had been applying for jobs out of a survival mentality: I needed a job to make a living. But after this time with Christ, my mindset began to shift and I no longer began to operate out of desperation and fear.
In our society, career is so often linked to purpose. That’s why we invest so much time and effort in our professional lives and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But at the same time, when we act as if our whole livelihood depends on our jobs, we miss out on all the other beautiful things that Christ has in store for us. Believe it or not, it was actually during this dry season, that I began to rediscover some hidden interests and passions.
Also, because I was not working, I was able to use my free time to dedicate to my ministry. I don’t think there was ever a time in my life that I have been tested more, causing me to have to exercise more faith. Some days I cleaned out my bank account to put towards ministry or to help someone in need.
Faith…This is what Christ was calling me to have in all this. Faith in Him and not in any prospective job or person. After this all became clear, I had incredible focus and no longer applied for certain jobs, because I just knew that they were not for me. I would even turn down certain jobs, which sounds crazy, right? Still, there was something nudging at my heart every time I would see a prospective job or put an application through; I would hear a voice telling me yet again, Not this one.
Yes, I was still experiencing feelings of frustration. But despite this, the pieces were slowly coming together in my head. Fast forward to this present moment, and I am getting ready to start a new job, which is everything I prayed for. I kid you not. I asked God for something specifically, and He had presented it before me. I didn’t even apply for it.
(I don’t feel impressed to go into the details at this time, but if you want to hear a more personal account, feel free to give me a shout.)
“Some of us try to merge our identities in our jobs, family, friends, and material wealth. But what happens if one day, all that is taken away?”
I just say all this, to encourage you. God knows who you are and who He has created you to be. He has everything set in place for you, from your career, right down to the perfect mate.
But we have to live our lives in full understanding of our God-given identity because it plays a huge role in determining our future mission and destiny.
When Christ was on earth, His clear understanding of His mission and purpose was the reason why He was able to be such an effective witness (Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:1-5, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 61:1-4, Matthew 3:17, Matthew 12:18, Luke 19:10, Isaiah 42:1-4, Matthew 17:5, Matthew 20:18, 19, John 3:17). Many times He was even tested on this point (Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 13: 54-57, Matthew 12:23-30, Matthew 21:10, John 2:13-21).
One time, He asked His own disciples if they knew who He was. Not because He didn’t know, but He wanted to see if they did. Peter tells Him, which I believe was with great faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, Mark 8:29).
The reality is though not everyone will understand who you are and that’s okay. They don’t really need to. You are operating on God’s timetable and He has already revealed to you your value. So why look to others to confirm what has already been said?
Not understanding our identities can also greatly hinder us from the work God has perfectly fine-tuned for us. Some of us try to merge our identities in our jobs, family, friends, and material wealth. But what happens if one day, all that is taken away?
During my wilderness season, I was deeply immersed in the life and ministry of Job. Now here was a man who really knew what it was like to have everything taken away. But still, He was able to utter such powerful statements as: “…The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21); “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) and “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth…” (Job 19:25-27).
Next time, something comes like Satan to have you question your worth: “If you are…” (Matthew 4:3-9), fight Him by the Word of God. It’s not a matter of if, it’s When you start to believe this truth for yourself…You know you are worth more than gold in Christ (Hebrews 9:15, Matthew 10:29-31, Isaiah 13:12, Isaiah 43:4, 2 Corinthians 8:9).
This one was for you.
Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo
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