This post is by Lauren.
You know those annoying assignments you had to do every year in school where you were asked to summarize yourself in a poem or a collage? They were so cheesy. Why is every teacher obsessed with poorly drawn pictures of our siblings and hobbies? I think it’s because they wanted to help us figure out how we identify ourselves. Identity is a huge part of how we act, make decisions and perceive the world.
During a discussion with a friend recently, I realized that our identity is often the reason we all struggle with something when it comes to following Christ–whether you call yourself a Christian or not. Jesus teaches us to live a certain way. When we believe that our very makeup contradicts what Jesus says, we have to choose whether to reject Him in that area or to reevaluate how we identify ourselves.
In the Bible there was this guy named Moses. If you met him before the famous “ten plagues” event and asked him to tell you about himself, he might say something like this: “I was born a Jew, but raised an Egyptian and no longer identify with either one. Years ago, I messed up bad and I had to leave my home because of what I did. Now I’m living as a shepherd with the Midianites. I have a Midianite wife and a son named Gershom. I don’t like to talk much because I’m not too good at it. I was not given the gift of eloquence. Do I think God could use me to do something big? Not a chance.”
If you know Moses’ story, you may recall that God spoke to him through a burning bush and he eventually led the Israelites to freedom from Egypt. But if Moses had had his way, he would have kindly declined that offer and gone back to his simple life in Midian. In the book of Exodus, chapters 3 and 4, we can read the excuses Moses makes for why he is not the man for the job. After God gives him the play-by-play of what to do and what to say and shows him a couple of miracles to reassure him, Moses says to God, “I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)
I do this. I use my flaws as excuses not to follow God. I say I’m too quiet and sensitive to put myself out there, risk humiliation, speak the truth with confidence and love. I say that’s just how I am. There’s no changing it. God made me that way. I’m just not equipped to bring people to Christ. Sorry, God. No can do.
In the very next verse in Exodus 4, God says to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
So how should we identify ourselves? It is true that God made each of us. He calls us His children. That means that no matter what else you call yourself, you are a child of God first. Moses thought he was a murderer, a fraud, someone that neither Egyptian nor Jew could trust. But God said that Moses was His child and His servant. Maybe Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to him. But he had to trust God first. I need to do this daily. I feel unequipped for what God has asked of me. I have to put my identity in Him. I pray that you would know that you are a child of God and make your choices based on that identity.