“Your identity is your most valuable possession.” – The Incredibles
Did I really just quote a kid movie?! Why, yes, yes I did. Yet the above statement conveys such a deep spiritual truth. Think about it for a moment; envision all you “possess” on this earth (I put “possess” in quotes since the true possessor of all things is God). Do you own a home or live in an apartment? Are you reading this post on a computer, tablet, or phone? Do you have food in the fridge? Do you eat that food at a table, or maybe in the living room while watching shows on your television? Are you a parent? Do you have pets? Just how many Bibles do you have laying around your house waiting to be read?
Yes–shelter, food, electronics, family, all the books and toys we may have scattered around our homes–each of these earthly “possessions” is indeed important and valuable in its own way. My kids are extremely valuable to me. My husband is extremely valuable to me. The computer which I am using to type this post is valuable to me. And I could go on and on about the value of my Bible.
Nevertheless, when all is stripped away, if all were to be taken away, who I am is indeed my most valuable possession. No one can take me away from me unless I allow them to do so. Who I am is precious to me and even more precious to God. After all, knowing who we are enables us to be who God designed us to be.
In his letter to the church, James encourages his readers to seek wisdom from God, “who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Yet he doesn’t just stop there; he reminds his readers of an important truth: “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-7). James compares the one who doubts to a wave driven and tossed by the wind. So think about it. If our most valuable possession is our identity–who God created us to be–and we doubt it–if we doubt who God created us to be–then we are like a wave of the sea. We are unstable and double-minded. We will be pushed, pulled, torn down, and knocked over with every breath of adversity. How can we stand firm, walk with confidence, and withstand the wiles of the devil if we doubt our own identity?
We can’t. We won’t.
We need to know who we are to be who we are.
Before the foundation of the world, God knew me. He knew you, too. He fashioned each of us within our mother’s womb with care and diligence (Psalm 139:13-16). And God doesn’t make mistakes. Ever. Each of us is a treasure to God; He is the One who gives us our identity. He gave me my identity. He gave you yours. Yet what is awesome is the SAME God gave each of us UNIQUE identities. No two people are exactly alike in every way; even identical twins are not identical in every way. We as individuals are as distinct as snowflakes. Sure, from far away, an outsider may only see a sea of white. But get up close, and you’ll see many unique individuals ready to be molded into something beautiful.
For most of my life I admit I have been a people pleaser, which has led me to do whatever I feel would best please people. My identity was wrapped up in what others thought of me. Even though people should not define me, I allowed them to do so. Yet several months ago I realized by spending my energies pleasing people, I had given away my most precious possession; I had given away my identity. So when God allowed my world to be turned upside down and everything on which I had placed my identity was stripped away, I crumbled. I really literally crumbled to the ground on the side of our street and didn’t want to get up.
But praise be to God I did get up. I got up and I got help. And in getting help, I reclaimed me. I allowed God to rebuild the Katie He designed me to be. First and foremost, I allowed God to remind me I am His child (“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” — John 1:12-13). I am valuable because of who God is, and nothing I could ever do, say, or think will ever change my value in God’s eyes. God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).
Then, in addition to reminding me of my spiritual identity, God reminded me that each of us is “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We are all children, but we are not all the same. Each of us has a place and a part specifically designed for us to live out on this earth. So in learning who I am and who I am not, I also learned to be okay with both. Am I an extrovert who does well speaking in public? In the words of my 4 year old son, “No way hosay!” But I am an introvert who likes to write. And I am a social introvert who does well in small group settings. I may not have lots of friends, but I am faithful to the few I have. Am I a problem solver? Not really, but if you tell me what I need to do to solve a problem, I will do it with diligence. Can I sing? Nope. But I can play the flute. Can I be all things to all people? Not even all things to some people. And if I try to, I will lose me in the process.
I am an introvert who does not have nor will ever have all the answers. And that is okay. Because God created me just the way He wanted me to be. Who I am is precious. And who you are is precious as well.
So who are you? You are God’s child. You are God’s treasure. And God has chosen you to be you for such a time as this.
So be you. Value you. For in so doing, you glorify the One who made you.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderful made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:14