If I knew then what I know now, life might look very different. I wrapped myself tightly in an identity based on performance. I could name a half a dozen names that I used to describe myself growing up–student, singer, babysitter, guitar player, sister, and daughter. What happens when the role you immerse yourself in is no longer viable? Does this negate who you are and lead to a loss of identity? Have you ever lost a sense of yourself?
As the third child in the family order, I had two older brothers to live up to. They proceeded me in everything and as much as I loved them I was not happy when the teachers would say “oh, are you a Gruber?” In the moment those words were spoken, a piece of who I was seemed to leave my body. It’s as if my brothers blazed the trail and now I needed to walk in their footsteps.
Parts of my identity returned in high school as I flourished in the all-girls setting. Now I was known for accomplishments that stood on their own and not the merit of my brothers. It felt good. I now stood in a place of belonging because of the things I was good at. What I didn’t know and wouldn’t know for years is that I am who I am because of God–no performance was necessary.
The Desire to Perform
The desire to perform and prove my worth was strong through college and beyond. I was not receiving a different message when I talked with friends or observed what the world said was important. Life continued on and I believed I was living in line with a good life. The bottom line was that I didn’t know any different.
I watch my grandson who is now fifteen months old and I realize I feed into this idea of performing. He is extremely observant and is getting so good at repeating what I am doing (clapping, animal sounds, playing hide and seek, reading some of the parts of a book, etc.). I praise him whenever he has done something new. It is a natural instinct as a parent or grandparent.
In many ways, I believe we are born with the desire to perform. The reactions we receive from those that love us feed into the place inside us that says we made someone happy. We strive to continue the actions, words, or activity that brings us the highest praise. Those early responses help to create a sense of who we are.
But what happens when the praise stops or the reactions to our performances diminish? If your identity is tied up in what you can do, have you lost a sense of yourself when you can no longer function in that capacity?
Lose Yourself to Find Yourself
God takes the innermost parts of who we are and molds and shapes them into a beautiful mess as part of the story of us. He never once requires us to prove ourselves before He whispers “You are mine.” I was in my fifties when the truth of what God says about me took root and I began to blossom.
Last week, I wrote about my journey of grace, and much of what I described then mirrors my evolution of identity as God’s daughter. The process has taken years but the destination is worth the wait.
When you live in a place of believing that you must prove yourself, you find it difficult to reach the point of “good enough” in your journey. You strive for the end goal only to find yourself never quite reaching the finish line.
When I learned that God brings us to the finish line first to equip us for the journey, everything I knew about striving and straining came to a halt. God shifts all we know about ourselves in a worldly sense and replaces it with “you are chosen and worthy” in the same breath. We are no longer slaves to doubt and fear (Romans 6:6-7), but we can all stand in the freedom of a life in which God created us “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
This week let’s stand in the truth that:
It’s not about deserving something. It’s about being loved, chosen, set apart, and desired since before we were born.
God is who He says He is and because of that we are His beloved not because of works but because of His Word.
We are not asked to prove ourselves or perform in a worldly sense because God is not of this world.
When we walk with God, He loves our mess, our joy, our struggles, and our successes.
Our story is important to God–from beginning to end.
We can be sure of who we are because God is who He says He is and our identity is secure in Him.
Today you can …
Take God’s promises and know they are true. Trust that your story is not over until God says it is over. Hope in the One who wrote the first word and the One who can’t wait to watch your story unfold until the final chapter is written.
God reassures us …
For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now he is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30, TPT).When you live in a place of believing that you must prove yourself, you find it difficult to reach the point of "good enough" in your journey. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet
I am praying you all have a wonderful week and when you have lost a sense of yourself you find God in your next breath.