Guest post by Emily Donehoo
When I was a curious new Christian in my early twenties asking experienced Christians questions about life and faith that I struggled with, it seemed that their responses were always, “Ah. Well, you just need to find your identity in Christ.” And the conversation would end. No explanation. No directions on how to do that. No nuthin.
It was frustrating beyond belief. “What the ____ does that even mean?!” I wanted to scream, but I was a nice young Christian now, and nice young Christians don’t swear. And you’re supposed to know what all of that Christianese means because you said a prayer and now you’re saved, so just go find your identity in Christ now, sweetie. Mmmmkay? Buh-bye.
Years went by, and I heard it over and over again. “We’ve got to find our identity in Christ.” And I asked, “What does that even mean?” Over and over again. And no one could tell me. Sure they’d talk. They’d say the things that they heard somewhere, but no one explained it to me in a way that I understood. In fact, I’m pretty sure that they didn’t understand it either. My boyfriend at the time handed me a paper with a bunch of verses on it that I now think is awesome.
But at the time, I didn’t get it. Not even a skosh.
So I gave up trying to understand what this prevalent Christian phrase meant, and if it came up in conversation, I would just smile and nod and pretend, like so many of us do when we’re faced with something we don’t understand.
Then I became a mom, and the person I used to be was erased by hormones, Postpartum Depression, and a screaming, pooping, bundle of joy who only stopped crying if I allowed him to rip the nipples off of my chest. I had a colicky first-born, and the dreams of who I thought I was going to be– a great mom– got flushed down the toilet in the months that I turned into a monster who never slept and screamed obscenities into her pillow every night.
I wasn’t who I thought I would be. And I couldn’t even be who I used to be. I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t move forward. I couldn’t BE anyone or anything… I was… trapped. So trapped. So alone. So…desperate. If you asked me WHO I was, I would’ve said, “I don’t even know.”
Finally, we got the colicky baby into a routine, and he thrived. He began sleeping through the night, and I survived the baby years. I even had a couple more babies. But still, I was lost. All I had was the example of my own mother and other moms around me who I believed clearly had their poop in a group, and I didn’t even come close to measuring up.
It wasn’t until my oldest was in Kindergarten, and he walked out of Sunday School holding a piece of paper with an outline of a child that said, “God says: I am loved. I am brave. I am good. I am special. I am accepted. I am forgiven. I am the King’s Kid.” And it hit me. That’s what it means to “find your identity in Christ.” It means that I agree with and see myself as the person God says I am, and I disagree with the lies the world wants me to believe.
It means that when the world makes me feel alone, I remember that God says I am loved. When the world teaches me to be afraid, I know that God says I am brave. It means that when the world says I am not enough, I believe God when He says I am good. When the world tells me I am ordinary and have nothing original to write, God says I am special. When the women don’t invite me, and their actions tell me I don’t fit in, God says I am accepted. When I start to relive the horrible mistakes I made, God reminds me that I am forgiven. When I think I’m just a nobody, and I shouldn’t stand up for myself, God says I am the Child of the One True King.
Friend, if you find yourself in a place where you don’t know who you are, let God remind you.
You are loved. (Romans 8:37-39)
You are brave. (Psalm 31:24)
You are good. (Psalm 139:14)
You are special. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
You are accepted. (John 6:37)
You are forgiven. (Romans 5:8)
You are the King’s Kid. (2 Corinthians 6:18)
No one gets to mess with the King’s Kid, friend, and that includes those lies in your head.
Emily Donehoo is a wife and mother of three. She loves skiing, snuggles, tacos, and Jesus. You can read more of her writing at donehoo.blogspot.com .