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WHY Identity is important to Understand in the midst of a Pandemic…

  1. Why is identity important?

When the world goes through a pandemic that affects the economy, the culture and family life, our whole inner world will shake and in the shaking, our external validations of how we achieve approval and success may be shaken. Inherently at the heart of every human being the question arises: Am I GOOD ENOUGH?

Am I really good enough when I am faced with challenges that I have never had to face before?

Understanding your identity and the value you have, is essential to answering this question.

See, who I AM is NOT inherent upon what I DO.

I could lie here all day, every day and I would still be ME. I could completely self-isolate, distance myself physically and emotionally from any other human being and not stay connected in any way, shape or form… but if someone came along and shot me dead, they would still be accountable for murder. EVEN IF, I didn’t have one person come to my funeral, or grieve my loss– just because I have inherent value as a human being, the person that killed me would be held responsible for the crime of taking away my life- because I am valuable.

Why am I valuable? I am valuable and I have an identity because I was made by a Creator God who designed me so thoughtfully, that my very existence on this planet warrants my worth.

My ABILITIES and how I use them, on the other hand, are my RESPONSE to the environment into which I am placed. They are my responsibilities.

So imagine that in one of the hands I am holding up is your identity and in the other hand are your responsibilities 🙂

My ability to learn, to play, to relate, to observe, to listen, to create, to explore, to develop, to risk, to love, to believe- these are all hinged upon the choices I make in response to the opportunities around me. Whether or not I use my abilities for the benefit of others, the betterment of myself or the detriment of either one, is up to me. I have been given free will and I really get to decide the outcome of my own destiny.

Life is all about choices. It is estimated that we make, on average, 35,000 choices a day. Each choice has a consequence and each consequence has an affect on layers of platforms.

The problem comes when our decisions start to attach themselves to our identity. It’s so easy for our lives to be consumed by the things that have value in the society in which we live. For some societies, that’s education, for others it’s external beauty and fashion and trends, for others it’s social status or castes, for others it’s marital status, some offspring, others careers, material accumulation, real estate portfolio, stock market investments, emotional intelligence… the list could go on.

Whatever our society, or community or even close family place value on, often gets embedded into the idealism of what value we place on ourselves.

We think, if I have enough money, then I’m good enough. If I have an hour glass figure, I’m good enough. If I have the nicest car or the highest level of education, or the best marriage or the dream career, then I. Am. Good. Enough.

But all of these things are additions. When you were made as you and born into the world, your Creator made a statement.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good..”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:27, 31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God didn’t say anything was very good up until that point. Every day He had spoken something new into existence but when He completes the process with a woman, He emphasises how good it all is. It’s good enough for Him to sit back and rest. He didn’t go on the next day trying to adapt or perfect what He had created the day before, so we have to assume it was good enough. And if it was good enough for God, it- humanity- YOU are Good Enough!

In that whole process, God created seasons and in different seasons of life, knowing your identity is about knowing that you are still the same. And the you that makes you you, is the you that God loves. His love for you is not conditional on what you do. The problem with attaching our identity to the things we do, is that in every season of life, we are often called to do different things. Different seasons demand different settings. Like the settings on your phone which are interchangeable for whatever environment you are in (flight mode or silent mode, having wifi on when you can pick it up or using data when you’re out and about), so are the settings in our life interchangeable as our environment changes.

Different seasons in life also affect the way we make choices. We can make choices as a child that would be so different to how we made them as an adult. There are a myriad of things that contribute to the way in which we make our choices. From family of origin dysfunction to hormonal changes, to sleep deprivation to dietary intake to mental wellness or social pressure or financial situation or spiritual misconceptions or deceptions… all of these external factors can play a major role in the choices we make- that’s why it’s so important to distinguish your identity- your being, from your choices- your doing.

In the next session I’ll talk about some of the consequences of meshing these two together.

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Waiting with Ambiguity: When what you thought was right, turns out to be wrong…or was it??

ambiguity/ambɪˈɡjuːɪti

The quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness.

synonyms:ambivalence, equivocation;

“I just want to know, was I right or wrong?”

“You just need to learn to hold ambiguity.” Replied my counsellor.

I was confused about this whole two year journey I had been on where I had assumed I knew what the outcome was going to be and convinced myself (despite obvious evidence that was contrary to what I believed) that it was going to play out the way I had envisioned it in my head. So safe and secure was this little dream in my head that I had built a case and circumstantial evidence that defended my case down to the most minuscule detail. Little room had I given, to the possibility that I was “wrong”.

To be honest, I didn’t even know what that meant to “hold ambiguity” and I didn’t know how to do it, but I could tell from her body language that it was going to be something that this stubborn heart was going to find it hard to do. So I took up her challenge and became a student of this learned art. Held in suspense around a situation that made no sense to me, I had to learn to be okay with the not knowing. It messed with my head and challenged my ideals…and Lord knows, I have high ideals. Yet I was forced to release my attachment to a desired outcome and undergo a huge awakening. So in the process, I wrote a poem:

Its not easy to hold ambivalence
And to burn in deep suspense
But when fear starts to accuse you
Jesus comes to your defence
For ambiguity, it beckons
For a solid sense of trust
But the unknown is still known
By the God who fashioned us
And in His wisdom and His Grace
He left the known beyond our reach
So that in the waiting seasons
New lessons He could teach

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Hebrews 6:12

When you are waiting for a promise, a measure of patience needs to be added to your faith. Patience, while it is a fruit of the spirit, is not one that is produced easily- you can’t be lazy about it. Patience means you actually have to do the work to keep you from rushing ahead of what God is going to give you in His time. Patience means that you have to live in the limbo between the vision and the fulfilment of the vision and in that space, your character will be tested. In that space, you can find your old default settings and addictions tempting you to soothe the pain in the wait. To give our minds and our hearts permissions to be suspended in this air, with no tangible reality in which to cling, allows freedom for our eyes to be fixed on, and our souls to be anchored in Jesus. His way of escape is found in running to Him when we’re tempted to numb our pain in superficial ways. Waiting is inevitable but patience is a choice.

To give our minds and our hearts permission to be suspended in thin air, with no tangible reality in which to cling, allows freedom for our eyes to be fixed on, and our souls to be anchored in Jesus.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:19)

As human beings, we have an innate desire for power and control. Its built within the hardwiring of our brain so that, at its maximum potential, it is utilised to operate our spiritual inheritance for self-control. However, when we can’t control our circumstances and are left in the waiting season of our lives, there are three things to remember:

  1. Know Yourself. What motivates you to want to know and activate what you desire? Take a SWOT analysis of yourself and decipher whether or not your motivations are healthy or stem from a history of fear and trauma. What are your strengths? If you’re like me and your strengths are about knowing the vision and strategising a way to work it out, then this ambiguity thing will mess with your head. But Jesus knew this even when He was leaving His disciples in a confused state when they thought He was going to take over the Roman Empire and set them free. When things didn’t turn out the way they had envisioned and He came back FROM THE DEAD, some of them still doubted!! But He said to them in Acts 1:7 “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Ouch! God has the final authority on all things, and even when we don’t understand, we have to remember that He knows all. Be kind to yourself in the process, and breathe in the spaces where anxiety tries to dictate your season of ambiguity.
  2. Know Your season. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Waiting is just a season. Not knowing, is just a season. So while you’re waiting for one thing, look around to what the delay of that thing is making way for. Utilise this season to maximise your next. If you’re waiting for that life partner to join you on your journey (ie. your single and are waiting for the right person), do the things that you wouldn’t be able to do when you are married. Once you’re married, you don’t get a break from it! If you’re waiting to be a parent- there isn’t a holiday break from parenting- it’s a constant responsibility that you have to carry, yet it too, takes on different seasons. Embrace the season you are in and capitalise on it. Do the thing that will make you a better candidate for the next season. If you’re believing for a promised position at your job, go and do some professional development courses; if you’re wanting to travel the world, get your health up to a standard that will facilitate the travelling life; if you’re believing for the child you’re waiting to come out of addiction, get involved with others who are helping people who are working in that field so that you know how to handle your child when they are going through recovery.
  3. Know Your God. He is patiently working on your behalf. He loves you and wants the best for you. He’s not working against you in this season but working all things together for you. He’s a good Father watching you navigate the road you are on. He watches you like a daddy watches his child try to start walking. He sees your heart to explore your options and test out the waters of your life. He doesn’t cringe at your decisions but more likely smiles down and watches you correct yourself in the process. He’s not the god of the right and wrong. He’s the God of Light and Love. Darkness is His enemy, and our enemy, NOT being wrong as wrong is subjective. Anything that we don’t understand, He is able to turn around. My mum recently bought a journal and she shared a quote on it that perfectly fits this situation: When we have a situation we feel is “wrong” we can “Give it to God and let God make it right.” He is a God full of grace and mercy and He ” works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. Romans 8:28. He loves our faith and is pleased by it, even if the result we were expecting was not as we had planned.

Give it to God and let God make it right – Joyce Meyer

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My faith… — Image from @worshipgifs

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