I would love to share a bit of my story with you…
I was nervous to lead worship last week.
But it wasn’t the good, excited kind of nervous.
It was the nervous that happens when thoughts creep in like, “What if they decide I’m not good enough to come back and do it again? What if I choke up there? What if I sound bad? What if they think…?”
And these are not worship-leading thoughts.
And they bothered me. I knew I couldn’t lead worship like that, but I also knew singing to the Lord and inviting others to sing with me breathes life into my heart.
I couldn’t surrender to those thoughts, so I prayed.
And just like He promises, Jesus bent down low to my quiet plea and came near.
He whispered gently, quietly, the question I simply couldn’t ask myself.
Because at first, it was literally the scariest question I could face.
It was the question He used to unlock my heart and set it free.
“What if they do decide you’re not good enough, Beloved? What if you do mess up? What if you don’t sound your best? What if they never invite you back?
Who are you, then, Beloved?”
And I swallowed hard in the realization and My heart popped out of my chest and the house I’d built upon shifting sand was gone.
Where to put my house, my identity? Where to place it? MyLANTA, is there nowhere on this Earth safe enough, secure enough, to rest in who God made me to be?
No. Blessed truth, no.
May I share a bit of my story with you? It seems I’ve been in a sort of identity crisis for lots of (most of) my life until now.
I had a very comfortable childhood, a wonderful family with loving parents who are still together to this day.
I had an even more comfortable growing-up and teenage life, which Michael informs me is weird.
I loved high school. I found my place – my identity – and I built my house upon it.
I led worship at our FCA and at youth group. I was the guitar-playing, singing chick who loved Jesus and loved singing to Him and that was my identity.
I had awesome friends and they were my identity.
I was crowned homecoming queen, and that was my identity.
Needless to say, I was a pretty confident girl headed to college but whose confidence and identity was built upon a foundation of sand.
I joined a sorority. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t the only homecoming queen.
I was literally surrounded by homecoming queens.
The sand started to slip.
My grandfather passed away.
My loving family looked different to me now.
More sand slipped.
I tried out for the worship team of my campus ministry.
I didn’t make it.
I wasn’t a worship leader anymore.
The sand slipped.
Lots of friends headed a different direction than me.
I wasn’t in my friend bubble anymore.
And the sand was gone.
And all through college, my Jesus walked with me and picked up my broken pieces, but still I was so insecure and couldn’t figure out why.
Fast forward to post-college, and I became a teacher. My new identity. My new house to in which to rest my heart and yet it was built upon sand again.
It seemed pretty secure until I was told with the harsh words of misdirected anger that I simply wasn’t good enough, and was laid off.
I taught for a bit longer elsewhere, and then became a writer.
Relief, a new identity.
Positive feedback came with my first book, and my house upon sand seemed golden.
And then, I found a book so similar to mine that I had to put my project on its shelf and start from scratch.
My timeline of publishing books for children wasn’t panning out the way I had planned.
“What if I never publish a book? Who am I, God?”
This cry of my heart came to a head when I was asked to lead worship last week.
And then Jesus, upon His throne of mercy, stooped down to me in a pew as I prayed and cried and He whispered,
“You are mine. I am yours. You’re identity is Me.”
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19.
The eyes of my heart were opened in sudden seeing. Seeing freedom. Seeing the Rock on which to build my house of identity for the first time.
Jesus says, “I will never change. Therefore, who you are, my sheep, my heir, will never change. Rest in Me. It’s why I came, Beloved.”
And I cried with relief and the joy I cannot even describe, and I made this list.
It has become my freedom banner.
My identity is not…
a mess up, a worship leader, a good girl, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an author, a nanny, a teacher, a friend, a pretty girl, an ugly girl, an anxious girl, a control freak, a worryer, popular, unpopular, a right girl, a wrong girl, a discerning girl, a faithful girl, a musical girl, a successful girl, a lazy girl, a fired girl, a hired girl, a homecoming queen, an outcast.
My identity is…JESUS.
I. Am. His.
If you’ve ever felt insecure, (so that’s like, 100% of us, I’m assuming), I encourage you to make a freedom list of what your identity is not…ending with Who your identity is. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Blessings to you and forever security in Him,