One of the greatest misunderstandings of the Christian life is our identity. This is THE VERY misunderstanding, confusion, frustration, whathaveyou… that the enemy wants within us! So, when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior and Lord, we have confessed of our sinful nature, and receive the greatest gift of all time-God's grace through the death and resurrection of Christ! We are now not under the law or chained by sin, we are now under grace. That's it. That is all. It really is that simple.
Our identity is fully seen through the eyes of our Father and Lord. The way He sees us and the way He loves us is our very identity. However, this idea competes with labels we carry like: spouse, parent, friend, athlete, student, co-worker, teacher, minister, coach, son or daughter, neighbor, and countless more. We wear so many of these titles every single day and we often stress over the shuffle between them. For instance, the root of most of my personal stress comes not from the tasks expected of me as a wife, mother or teacher, but more from the shuffle between them and trying my very best to be the best version of each label or title.
An identity crisis occurs, then, when one of our "titles" finds conflict or failure. This is something I've heard many times before, and was reminded of it like three times this week. That's just it-its constant. This struggle to fulfill each label, to be the best of each title is not only stressful (sheesh) but also puts us in position of crisis as a terrible punishment for failure! Let me be more specific…
As a Wife: When my husband's needs are not met
As a Mom: When my child acts out in disobedience, or shows a bad attitude
As a Teacher: When my students are unmotivated and/or simply don't learn something
As a Neighbor: When I'm too tired to say hello
As a Daughter: When I don't offer regular updates and ask my parents about their own lives
As a Friend: Listening well and offering encouragement
Now. Realizing I could go on and on, I shall not. Also, let's be clear… each of these struggles occur every day, and sometimes multiple times a day. (We've heard of a mid-life crisis, I have mid-day crisis over and over!) So when we think of our full list of daily potential failures, we are in a severe identity crisis. Surely we cannot win, and we "suck at life"… exactly what the enemy wants from us.
Therefore, the only constant in our lives which is always trustworthy, always reliable, and always faithful is the righteousness we have in God through Christ Jesus. This righteousness (or right standing with God) is not earned. We cannot be "being righteous" instead, we ARE righteous. Once we have become Christians according to scripture, we are no more righteous now than the day we get to heaven. It's impossible to become more or less righteous. Either we are or we aren't. This gives us hope and frees us from any identity conflict from having to become a crisis!