We all accumulate identities throughout our life. Some come from our families, some come from our classmates, our professors & teachers, or even our friends. Others come from pressures we put upon ourselves, or even from pop culture or idols that we have never even met before. We all have a long laundry list of identities, some positive & uplifting, & others totally degrading & negative. The fact is, whether we think we’ve put things behind us or not, or whether we even agree with the things that are whispered at us, each whisper becomes an identity that gets tossed into a bowl full of other identities that, pieced together, all become part of one main identity – how we define ourselves. They shape the way we think, the way we act, the way we pursue others, the way we make decisions, & even the way we view God. & most commonly, each identity shapes the way we HIDE.
Now, the very principal of hiding lends itself to fear. One would not be hiding if one was not fearful of something. Take Adam & Eve in the Garden for example:
When they heard the sound of GOD strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from GOD. GOD called to the Man: “Where are you?” He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” (Genesis 3:8-10 MSG)
They hid because they were scared. They were scared to experience God’s reaction to their sin. They were scared to face the one they had sinned against. They were scared to find out the reality of how they were now viewed by God – the identity He was now going to give them.
Don’t we do this? We hide because we are scared, & we hide from God for the same reasons as Adam & Eve did. We are scared to face Him after some decision we made that we know was not in obedience to Him. We are scared to experience God’s reaction to our sin. We hide from Him because we fear that new identity that He has for us. & it’s the same with our friends & family. We hide from our friends because we are scared they won’t be friends with us after they find out what we did.. who we really are.. or at least who we really think we are, anyway. We hide from our families because we know our parents will punish us or our sister won’t want to hang out anymore or because we know we will let them down & we just really wanted to make them proud of us..
We hide because we are scared. We fear rejection, abandonment, pity, loneliness, being unloved. We fear any of our past experiences happening again. Those experiences that already added to the way we view ourselves, whether positive or negative. We put them behind us; we don’t want to go back there again! & so in response to our fear, we hide. These identities that have followed us around for years cause us to fear, hide, & live in such a way that diminishes all that God has made us to be. We hide our true selves from everyone, even Him.
We let our identities & our fears become our idols. We let them become what shapes our every decision. They either keep us in our shells or push us out into the unknown. They direct our steps; they guide us on our journey. We lean on them in hard times & in times of success. We find every answer we need by looking to our fears & identities for explanation. The positive ones become comforting. The negative ones become motivation to be better. They all become shackles around our ankles.
We can’t follow God wholeheartedly if our heart is being defined by all the identities we’ve been carrying around for years!
We forget that God is in control of our lives. He already has a wonderful plan for us – one that is far greater than we can ever imagine for ourselves. & God even has His own identity for us – one that isn’t based on anything besides His love for us & this amazing plan He has designed. God’s identity is the one that is True about us, & only His. It is an identity that we will come to understand only after we first become UNDEFINED. I hope you’ll continue to journey with me to get there.