One of the fundamental questions we ask in life is: Who am I?
My simplistic answer to this question is this: My truest, purest, nonnegotiable identity is the beloved. And in spite of my checkered past, my fabulous flops, my painful history, my deepest flaws, my boneheaded screw-ups, and, yes, even beyond my own beliefs about myself, I am God’s beloved. This is my foundational identity and the foundational identity of every human being.
This is important because identity is the engine that drives the relationship not only with ourselves but also with God and others. If your identity is broken, your life is broken. If you define it incorrectly, you will carry that wrong definition into your story. If all you see are your limitations, you will miss out on the stunning possibilities God is creating in front of you.
When I am working with hurting people, probably the most tragic thing I witness is when they have accepted the lie that whatever ugly, can’t-talk-about-it, embarrassing thing has happened in their stories is beyond the grace of God. That his mercy doesn’t reach far enough. That his hand of grace is just beyond…
- the quiet addiction to painkillers;
- the shame of an unexpected divorce;
- someone’s sexuality and what it all means;
- the betrayal of a family member;
- the fear of growing old and being alone;
- a secret abortion and the sorrows of miscarriages;
- the depression, the sadness, and the eating disorder;
- the drinking and the bad choices;
- hidden regrets that you chose your career instead of your kids.
Yet God is reaching out in all these painful moments and whispers, Just reach back to me, my beloved! I am here. Please, I beg you. Just reach back.
As Brennan Manning said, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
What is your answer to the question “Who am I?” Can you see yourself as God’s beloved?
Author: Mike Foster