Do you compare yourself to others? Do you worry what others think or say about you? Have you let the opinions of others dictate who you have become?
In this video called Name by Rob Bell, he addresses this idea that we are constantly striving to be someone other than ourselves…
Do you define yourself by the things you own, who you hope to be, or who you have been?
What "names" would you put on the shirts of your life? What gets in the way of removing those names from your identity?
FALSE IDENTITY EQUATIONS
Your identity can be viewed as a mathematical equation of A + B = C.
Because of free will, you are given the opportunity to fill in the equation however you choose. You can choose to fill in the equation with lies from this world or with the truth of God.
If you are finding your identity in an eating disorder, you are allowing the lies of this world to determine your identity. Here are some false identity equations that you may connect with…
- the correct look + the right form = true beauty
- appearance + admiration = belonging
- respect + approval = fitting in
- performance + accomplishment = significance
- status + recognition = safety and security
- identification with the right group + standing = protection and acceptance
What is your false identity equation? _______________ + ________________ = _____________________
If you are living with an identity that is not found in Jesus Christ, know that you don't need to live this way any longer. God is able, ready, and willing to break apart any identity equation that you have constructed and give you a brand new one.
OUT WITH THE OLD… IN WITH THE NEW
There are layers to any identity that you choose to adopt.
If you are finding your identity in an eating disorder, the deepest layer underneath would reveal a hurt or wound. As that wound festered, it filled your mind with lies and feelings of emotional distress.
If you have discovered an identity in Christ, your wounds have been healed, your mind has been renewed by God's truth and there are feelings of emotional peace.
Let's take a deeper look into these "layers" of identity…
Let's consider a girl, age 9, a normal height and weight, who was told by a classmate that she is "fat."
From the perspective of an identity in the world: This girl was wounded by her classmates words. These harsh words caused a brokenness to her soul. As a result, this girl began to believe that she, in fact, was fat. Believing that she is fat is a lie. She is not overweight, but now believes that she is because of the wound caused by another. The lie that she is fat continues to distort her mind until she is consumed with worry. She worries all day long, every day about the calories she is consuming and what others think of her appearance. She is living in emotional turmoil, never at peace in her own mind. She then realizes that she is caught in the grips of an eating disorder. She is obsessed with losing weight, all because of a single wound that was left untreated.
From the perspective of an identity in Christ: This girl was wounded by her classmates words. Rather than allowing the wound to fester into further brokenness, she takes the hurt to God so that He can bring healing to it. God begins revealing the truth to her, which renews her mind. Rather than being consumed with worry, she experiences emotional peace. She can be secure with who she is because she knows what God says about her. She is living an empowered life, knowing that the truth, not a lie, defines her.
TRUE IDENTITY EQUATION
You can fill in the A + B = C with many different options, yet none of them will bring you wholeness and meaning. There is only one identity equation that works to bring meaning to your life…
YOU + CHRIST = WHOLENESS AND MEANING
Your identity comes from being a child of God. You are united with Christ through your adoption into his family. Ephesians 1:5 says, "God decided in advance to ADOPT US into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." God has chosen you to be a member of his family. He longs for you to experience an identity that only He can give you as a part of the family.
God reveals that He is in the business of changing identity all the way back in the time of the Israelites. God shows his power to change identity in the passage of Isaiah 62:1-5. God was silent from the people of Israel for a time, but in this passage he is speaking to them once again. He speaks words of hope; that HE will no longer be silent towards them, but instead is choosing to change their name. Through the early chapters of Isaiah, the people of Israel were desolate and forsaken. When God states that he wants to change their name, he is saying that he wants to change their identity from a broken, forsaken people to a people of hope. He wants to bring about change. Israel's new name becomes, "My delight is in her." At the end of the passage it says that God rejoices over Israel just as a groom rejoices over his bride.
BECCA BARLOW'S TESTIMONY OF A CHANGED LIFE
In this YouTube clip, Becca Barlow shares how God used Isaiah 62:1-5 to change her identity,
Just as God changed the name of Israel from broken to beloved, he too wants to change your name. When you release the lies in your mind and embrace God's truth, your life can be changed. God doesn't want to leave you the way you are. Through God's amazing power, you can be transformed into a new creation.
What is your changed life story? How has God been taking you from broken to redeemed? How are you finding your identity in Christ?
PRACTICAL STEPS TO RELEASE IDENTITY IN ED