By Kathryn Featherstone
How do other people know who you are? How do you know who you are?
We are all wrapped up in many things, things that give us our identity and things that show other people who we are.
Imagine this: I wrap myself in scarves, each one representing the identity I want others to see. I pick up a blue scarf and drape it around my neck. Let’s say it represents my relationships. I’m a sister, a wife, and a friend.
Then, I cover my shoulders in a green scarf. This represents my abilities - my talents, training, and all the things people know I’m good at doing.
Next comes a maroon scarf wrapped around my waist. It represents the position I hold. This is the role I’m known for - my job, my social status.
It’s getting difficult to keep these scarves all wrapped around me!
Then, I twist and turn, trying to add a grey scarf representing possessions. This is anything I feel ownership over.
The scarves wrapped around me are so awkward and constricting - I can’t even walk!
We’re easily tempted to create our identity with these things. Even as ministry workers, it’s a challenge to avoid getting tangled up! The only way to free ourselves is to keep our identity firmly grounded in Christ.
For those of us in ministry, we need to intentionally care for our souls and connect with Jesus regularly. When we neglect this, possibly because we’re so busy with ministry responsibilities, we leave ourselves more vulnerable to seeking our identity in our relationships, abilities, position, and possessions.
The apostle Paul shared something similar from his life. Before following Jesus, his identity was wrapped up in his cultural heritage, training, religious morality, and experiences (Philippians 3:3–6). But when he began to follow Jesus and was called to ministry, his identity radically changed:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:7–8 ESV).
Paul was very busy with ministry, but he was clear that his relationship with Jesus was the source of his identity.
The most vibrant ministry flows out of our intimate walk with Jesus. We don’t have to be hindered by awkward scarves wrapped around us! When we know our true identity in Christ, we are free to be the person God created. We are free from the struggle to appear a certain way. We are free to live out ministry that is motivated by a love for others, which flows out of love we receive from Christ.
How will you care for your soul and connect with Jesus on a daily basis? Before the new year begins, brainstorm a plan that will create space in your life to connect with Jesus so that this relationship grounds your identity. Write down your plan, and to keep you encouraged, write down five ways your ministry will benefit from this.
What scarves do you wrap around yourself? How do you want your identity to appear to others?
Come back next week to read more about identity in the blog “Put on Love.”
Kathryn Featherstone is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a board-certified Christian Life Coach. Get to know her more at livealifeoflove.org.
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