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I Am...

Who am I? The age-old question. We ask ourselves this abstract inquiry all the time, even if we don't realize it.

When we mess up on a project, lash out at a loved one, fail in some miserable way, we think to ourselves, who am I? Or maybe more accurately, who have I become? Or, we could look at identity from a collective standpoint; as we look at the turmoil of our world, we may stand, mouths agape, and wonder who are we?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, if you can't already tell.

I've realized that there are three general pathways of identity formation: being defined by societal categorization, the opinions of others, or our own opinions.

Does that sound pretty accurate to you?

From a societal standpoint, because I'm an introverted only child, I'm supposed to be socially awkward, clueless, and spoiled. Think about all of the spoiled rich kids portrayed in movies and shows.

Now, what about others? What they say about me could be a range. General acquaintances would probably note my friendliness and gentleness. My extraverted extended family would pick up on my smart but quiet demeanor. Close friends, parents, and boyfriend would undoubtedly have a lot more to say (mostly good things, I hope).

Which brings us to our third option: ourselves. I'll be honest, I can be very hard on myself. Almost automatically, I'd start characterizing myself as selfish and anxious and a coward and cruel and a mess and all of these other horrid things. Because I'm not perfect.

I'm a sinner, I'm very flawed, and my own pride condemns me for being less than. But because I have Jesus, I also know that, although all of those things can be true about me, His transformative Truth prevails.

So let me propose another pathway of identity and worth--let me propose Jesus.

And what does Jesus say about us? Well, it's not about who we are, as much as it’s about who He is:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Friends, we are His little seedlings. He waters and nourishes us with His holy Word, holy Truth. In fact, our Lord is our Living Water (John 4:10-14). Only when we are rooted and nourished by Him, can we truly grow.

It's pretty hard to grow when your life and worth is constantly shaken by fleeting opinions, and that’s exactly how it is with the other three ways.

Societal expectations change. Peoples’ opinions of us already vary greatly based on relational type, and they'll continue to ebb and flow.

But what’s most fleeting, most pendulum-swinging is our own view of ourselves. We are cocky and proud one minute, self-deprecating and pitying the next. My thoughts and emotions exhaust me, so imagine if I trusted them to shape my worth!

Friends, we need His unwavering Truth because He is the only one who can keep us grounded. We need our Vine, our root-grower, our Living Water. He defines us by His love.

So, who are we, then? Who are you?

Are you still depending on fleeting opinions, or are you rooting yourself in the One who made you and knows you fully… and loves you anyway?

You are a sinner, just like me. But you can be saved by grace. You are a creation of God; the question is, do you want to become a Child of God too?


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