When I was younger, I used to wish I had a longer name. Three letters? It just did not seem like enough. You cannot even make a shortened-version nickname out of Joy. I envied those girls with names like Jessica or Jennifer, or especially Tiffany or Nichole, the names I believed to be more beautiful than any other on the planet.
I know it all seems a bit silly (and I like my name very much now, by the way). But still, I often find myself dissatisfied with that which identifies me. Or maybe I should say that which I believe identifies me. Do you know that feeling? Feeling like it all is not quite enough? That maybe if you had more or better, or if you could wear some other label – like “well-liked and popular” or maybe “wife and mother” - you’d be more satisfied with who you are?
I was thinking over this when I was asked to write the little paragraph about me on the “Meet the Authors” page of this blog. Which relationships, hobbies, interests sum me up? How do I define myself in just a few short sentences? Is there anything more to say than that, anyway? Just as I used to believe there were not quite enough letters in my name, I still often believe I don’t have quite enough stuff – whether it be a cooler address or a better wardrobe or a more refined palette - to give me a proper identity. Oh, and remember how I used to envy other girls’ prettier names? That has not quite stopped, either, although it is not about names anymore. But I still constantly compare most other aspects of my life to others’. And it is in those moments that I tend to find myself the least content with who I am.
But the truth is that I am looking to the wrong things to identify me. Things that were never meant to define me. Things that – even if they are good things – are transient and changing and can never give me a secure and fulfilling identity. The truth is that those things do not get to say who I am, anyway. God does. And here’s the bad news: without Christ, my identity is God’s enemy (Romans 5:10), a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
But here’s the good news: because of Jesus, I have been given a new identity. God now says I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His child (John 1:12-13), a member of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19), and a fellow heir with Christ (Romans 8:17). And that identity is sure and secure regardless of what I have or what I do or who I know. That identity is more than enough.
Do I still struggle to find my identity in Christ alone? Of course. But that’s a conversation for next time.
See y’all in the Round!