Identity

BY BETH SKANDERUP
Worship Team Choir Lead 

 Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked the question, “Who am I in Christ?” What is my true identity?

These are questions that whose answers form the basis to our understanding as God’s children.
 
Maybe you’ve also asked one of these questions before: Who am I? What’s my purpose? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with my life? We’ve all wondered it. Don’t feel like you’re alone or the only one who has questioned this. We have a world vying for our identity. Here is some of my story and walk to understanding that I AM A CHILD OF GOD! And as such have access to all He has promised for me.

One of the most important aspects of living out a successful and fulfilling life is knowing who you are, your identity. I was totally unaware for most of my life, that I had no idea who I was. When we immigrated to Canada, as a child of 10, I was mocked and teased severely. When riding the bus to school, my sister and I, were subjected to the loud telling of very crude poems, featuring us, proclaimed loudly by the high school students behind us. The only seat available on the bus was close to the back, so we were right in the middle of the older kids. One evening coming home from school, for no reason at all, the boy in the seat behind us bashed our heads together, so hard I literally saw stars. We wore over boots, boots you put on over your shoes to protect them. I would take them off before getting on bus and leave them at the end of the driveway. I hated Canada, I was so angry I thought I hated my parents for bringing me here. I didn’t fit in. At school, I remember hiding in the bathroom when the bell would ring and the teacher would have to come and find me and bring me back to class. In class, I asked for a rubber one day, as I had made a mistake on my paper, how was I to know that it’s called an eraser out here! The boot is the trunk, and so on! I was a little English girl in a totally foreign environment. Or who was I now? I didn’t really know.
 
As a teen, I was doing quite well academically. I didn’t have many friends and the ones I had were not the popular people. However, as I was good at math, chemistry etc, so I became the ‘smart’ student, every one of those popular people wanted me to help, or as I found out, do their homework for them. Finally, to avoid this problem, I ceased to work as hard and dropped my marks, so they were just average. So again, now who was I? A failed ‘smart’ student? 
The next major identity crisis came after I had been married for a few years and I was pregnant with, I believe it was our fourth child. It seemed to me, that I was Gerald’s wife, so and so’s mother, Leo’s daughter in law, but never was I Beth. One day I lost my cool! The phone rang, and they asked for Gerald, then I said he wasn’t in at the moment, and they answered, Oh you must be Gerald’s wife! I almost hung up on him, however, my manners prevailed and I finished the conversation politely before hanging up. When my poor husband came in, I exploded all over him! Why is it I am just ‘your wife’, or Leo’s daughter in law, or so and so’s mother? I HAVE A NAME! Well, he calmed me down, let me vent, and proceeded to affirm who I was. Didn’t impress me, at the moment.

Still, another crisis to go! My husband and I were down in the field, putting out bee boxes. We grew seed alfalfa and used leaf cutter bees. These bees required shelters, boxes for them to lay their larvae in and boxes to incubate in. We were removing full boxes from the shelters, these could weigh as much as 100pounds. I was on the back of the truck stacking them, and Gerald was pulling them from the shelters and throwing them on the truck. We were talking as we worked and drove between shelters, when all of a sudden I came up with, “I am not saved!” I had picked up book that was called, 10 Ways to Know Yu are Saved for Sure. If you are truly saved, it said, you will have a burning desire in your bosom to pray, you will have a burning desire in your bosom to read the Bible! I certainly didn’t have a burning desire in my bosom to pray all day, or read the Bible all day. I was convinced I was doomed! Well, at first my husband tried to reason with me and just assure me. Didn’t work! So, in exasperation, he grabbed me,
pushed me down and sat on me. This is what he said. DID YOU ASK JESUS TO BE YOUR SAVIOUR? Yes, I replied. DID YOU REPENT OF YOUR SINS AND ASK FORGIVENESS? Yes, I replied. DID YOU CONFESS HIM AS YOUR LORD? Yes I relied. DO YOU BELIEVE THE BIBLE TO BE TRUE? Yes I replied. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT JESUS WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN, DIED, ROSE AND IS COMING AGAIN? Yes I replied. THEN YOU ARE SAVED!

After this incident, I was confident of who I was, or at least I thought so. Until much later, when all of the kids had left home. I used to say, I will have no problem filling my time when the kids leave home, I won’t suffer the empty nest syndrome! Well, little did I know, how much I had built my identity around my family! In spite of my identity crises, I had based who I was on my children. I was so lonely, it was so quiet! I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone anymore. This remained with me for several years! I functioned, but still didn’t fully know who I was or what I was good at. I knew I was fairly good at raising kids, they all turned out pretty good! I knew I was a pretty fair wife (my husband said so anyways), I knew I was a good teacher, but all of a sudden, the only thing required of me was the wife part!

Let’s jump ahead a little. I was in the position of having to find a secular job. Almost all of my past work experience has been in the Church, our farm, and our business. I did however, have 4 jobs for short times that were not connected to the Church. And the experience in all but one of them was awful! I was fired from one, because they wanted someone with a degree, I had to quit another because I developed tennis elbow in both arms! After being demoted from the job I was hired to do in favor of someone who decided to come back after quitting. The other one, I taught myself as best I could from previous year’s records. Help from superiors was non-existent, and the girl who was in the office decided she didn’t like me and wouldn’t show me how to run things. To make a long story short, I was convinced I had nothing of value to offer the working world. I was a failure in the secular work world. I have struggled with this for a very long time: For me the prospect of a job carries fear of failure again. I found myself in a place where I needed a job again. I sent out resumes, I went out to businesses and got an interview for a cashier. I went to the interview, I hadn’t slept at all the night before, but I felt good! I thought the interview went really well and I probably had the job. When I ran back over what I had said, I figured out why I didn’t get it! I was asked why I wanted to work in this particular store. I replied, well apart from needing a job, I really liked the atmosphere, and the staff always seemed happy, helpful and polite. Then I added, I must confess, I don’t shop here! I told this to my sister, and she laughed! Then, she said, let’s pray about this job thing. This really got to me. Here, from the moment I was saved, I was the one praying for and encouraging my sister. I was the one who helped and offered words of wisdom! And here, now, it was my sister’s turn! I was seeing the fruit of years of prayer. She proceeded to tell me who I was in Jesus Christ! WOW!
 
I am still a little apprehensive when I go out to look for work, but I know who I am now. I am a child of the King. I am a new creation! I am special and unique! I have been given all I need for living this life, in Jesus. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, teacher and a friend. I am all of these things, but I am most of all a bought and paid for daughter of the Lord Most High. And as I keep on looking for a job, I am confident that He will prepare the way ahead for me. That He will bring the right job for me, the one that fits the gifts He has given me. Don’t get me wrong here, I still have moments when I waver in the face of obstacles, but by faith, I will keep on. 
So, for you, the most important thing to come to grips with, is that you are not what you do. Neither can you put yourself in a box by what you look like! As the world would tell us, unless you are a certain size etc., you will never make it, you are who God made you to be. You are a combination of incredible gifts and talents He has given to you. You have access to more than you can imagine through Jesus.

When we learn to stand on the simple truth, that our identity is in Christ, not in these other things, then we can move forward in our life adventure, with confidence and joy!
 
Here are some verses to help you solidify who you are. 
I AM ALWAYS... 
DEEPLY LOVED (Ephesians 3:17-18) 
BLESSED (Ephesians 1:3) 
A NEW CREATION (2 Corinthians 5:17) 
FORGIVEN (Acts 13:38-39) 
SPIRIT-FILLED (1 Corinthians 3:17) 
COMPLETE (Colossians 2:10) 
GOD’S MASTERPIECE (Ephesians 2:10) 
SET FREE (Romans 8:2) 
HOLY (Ephesians 1:4) 
GRACE-FILLED (Romans 5:17) 
RESCUED (1 Thessalonians 1:10) 
CHOSEN (1 Peter 2:9) 
ACCEPTED (Ephesians 1:6) 
AN AMBASSADOR (2 Corinthians 5:20) 
COVERED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS (2 Corinthians 5:21) 
REDEEMED (Colossians 1:14) 
HEALED (1 Peter 2:24) 
SAVED (Ephesians 2:5-6) 
A CHILD OF GOD (1 John 3:2) 
FREE FROM DARKNESS (Isaiah 61:1) 
BELOVED OF GOD (Romans 1:7) 
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH (Romans 5:1) 
ALIVE IN CHRIST (Romans 6:11) 
ADOPTED (Ephesians 1:5-6) 
MEMBER OF CHRIST’S BODY, THE CHURCH (Ephesians 5:29-30) 
HEIR OF GOD (Romans 8:16) 
FILLED WITH THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22) 
ROOTED IN LOVE (Ephesians 3:17) 
RECONCILED TO GOD (2 Corinthians 5:18) 
UNIQUELY GIFTED (1 Peter 4:10) 

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