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Label Clothes, Not People

This month we’re looking at the theme of identity on Print Collective. But what does ‘identity’ mean?

If you asked me what my identity is, my top three answers would probably be:

  1. My faith and relationship with God.
  2. The job I do (which I love!)
  3. Friend and family member

What would yours be?

There’s nothing too negative in that list, although it hasn’t always been this way. Not until this summer did God truly meet with me and help me to understood who I really am. Not my past failings, not the labels other people have imparted on me. But, who I am to Him.

According to social identity theory:

“Social identity is a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership.” *Source

Would you agree with this? What does identity mean to you?

Those who know me, know I love to spend time on Instagram. There is so much creativity going on out there, it’s all too easy to get sucked into spending way too much time scrolling through accounts than I originally intend!

On one of my meanderings on Instagram, I came across the following poem by @adventureswithanxiety, which I thought would be perfect to include in today’s devotion.

A long time ago I accidentally grew a big oak tree
With the words “there’s something wrong with me”
Marked in pretty swirls on its bark.

Its roots still grab my ankles
When I get close to that belief
Causing me to trip, on every random fallen leaf.

So now I’m writing new markings on that pesky old tree:
“You are wrong. I am worthy. I am free.”

It got me thinking: how many of us have accidentally planted a seedling about ourselves based on words, or beliefs, that aren’t God breathed and watered them with our anxiety, self-doubt, unhappiness, self-loathing, comparison with others, or unmet dreams and expectations?

For some people I know it can be hard, if not almost impossible, to place any great value on yourself. That words alone can mean very little and that like the swirls on an old oak tree, our value can be ingrained in our nature to the very core of who we identify ourselves to be. Beliefs that have grown with us over the years.

Going back to my own revelation, I had been praying through some difficulties for a while. But, my greatest breakthrough came one July afternoon this year devoted to being in God’s presence. I had decided to spend one Summer afternoon praying, scrolling through Christian accounts on Instagram, listening to Christian music and reading the bible.

It was at this time that my heart was opened for the first time to the truth of my identity – the value God places on you and I and who He created us to be. A massive weight was lifted off my shoulders. I want to share some of these truths with you today.

Do you know that:

Before we were even born, God knew us and set us apart?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1.5

That we’re so precious to God, the very hairs on our head are counted and known by Him?

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7.

We are God’s very own creation, created by the creator of the universe to do good works?

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

And lastly, the biggest wow moment:

The bible is full of passages that tell us who we are and how important we are to God.
I love that right from the beginning of the bible, in the book of Genesis, this tone is set:

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 1:27

I don’t know what labels have been placed on you over the years. What seedlings have been watered and tended, but are now fully grown and are weighing you down. But, I do know there is freedom in throwing them off and in knowing who we truly are. That in throwing off false labels we are set free to be who God created us to be.

Today, if the burden of your identity is weighing you down, I encourage you to sit with God. Lift up your history to him, your identity, the good, the bad, the messy, the hurt. Give it all to your creator and ask Him for insight into who you are and who He created you to be. I pray that as you do, you will be met with the truth of who you are and the value God places on you.



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