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.


Silencing the Bully In Your Head

“Mum” said the boy in the shower cubicle next to me at the beach, “this new boy at school said that he’s the best dancer in the whole wide world..” “Oh really” responds his mum. “Yeah and he said that I can’t even dance.” The mum continues to shower her son and they get out as I continue to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“Did that boy say that you can’t dance?” this mother continues in her British accent. Her young son responding positively. “Well then you need to tell him ‘thats what you think, it doesn’t mean that its true.”

There’s always going to be that bully at school, in the workplace, on social media… those people who get a kick out of making you feel less than you are. I was bullied a lot as a kid- for my colour, for my size, my looks and even my bottom lip #smh.

Too often we let the insides of our head get messed up when we would never allow it to happen on the outside. Let’s clean up the inside first!

But as an adult, I’ve found that the greatest bully I need to silence is the bully inside my head.

That voice that reiterates the insecurities that potentially were brought about because of those childhood incidences.

That message that tells me that I’m not worthy.

That negative thought that pops up when I am told something positive about myself.

That fear that rears its ugly head when faith is calling me to step out of the box.

Well, I’m about to start my own little Anti-Bullying campaign and I’m inviting you to join me!!!

Bullying is unacceptable in most schools, so why do we let it happen in our school of thought. We wouldn’t ever let our friends get bullied so why do we accept it for ourselves?? Its time we take back power from the bully in our mind and give ourselves a second chance at living our best life. So here are three things you can do to silence the bully..

  1. LET IT GO. “Let it go” was my personal challenge for 2019 way before the year began. See I have a tendency to hold onto things that I don’t need to hold onto. Grudges and points I need to make are a couple of things I find it hard to release. I can harp on at my kids about a mess they left in the kitchen for MUCH longer than I should.. and I hate it. Holding on to a thought that a bully put in your head is the same thing. Its like playing a game of tug of war and allowing that rope to connect you to your opposing team. We think that if we hold on, then we might have a chance of winning! But in letting go of the rope, we allow the other side to fall right down- Our arms are relieved and our team are still in tact. Letting go of the negative thoughts about ourselves will release us to be our real self. We will be able to see us for who we really are and not be tied to the thing that is trying to pull us across the line of insanity. Its just a game after all- the real battle is played when we are at our best and living our authentic self.
  2. LET IT GROW. Let the bully inside your head grow to the point in which it benefits you. How can it benefit you when its negative and demeaning? Well it works like a compass, pointing you back to a time in your life where you were hurt. When you get to the point where this problem is so big that you can’t deny the issue that it causes in your life, then you have the opportunity to use it for your betterment. In my book “Into the Garden”, I talk about how weeds are often an indicator of something that is deficient in the soil. We can allow weeds to grow in our heart when our hearts are deficient of certain nutrients. Nutrients like love and healthy attachments, boundaries and courage. When fear starts to bully you then maybe you need to increase your levels of courage. Go and surround yourself with people who encourage you! Place yourself in atmospheres where courage is given out! The church should be a good place to find the nutrients your heart needs.
  3. LET IT SHOW. Our weaknesses are an opportunity for Gods strength to become our own. David in the Old Testament had a real life bully- Saul! Saul was out to kill David and set up an army to watch over his house. In the middle of that David wrote a Psalm and began and ended that Poem by saying this:

You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭59:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We can rely on God to become our strength when we admit that we need His help. It’s about being vulnerable and humble and saying “I need you Jesus! I’m desperate for you.” And you know what He does- He dispels the lies that have been beating you up in your head. He comes in ever so kindly and reminds you of who you are, and of WHOSE you are.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When the bully in your head tries to keep you locked up in a dark room in your mind, remind it that God called you out of there. You are HIS special possession. He’s so in love with you and calls you His own. Meditate on the word of God, on His truth about you and surround yourself with people who remind you of those truths.

Soon you won’t even recognise the bully in your head when it comes knocking at the door again. Like the mum at the start said, you can say to the bully “that’s what you think, it doesn’t mean its true.”