This week I was sharing with the LW youth about Identity. Because we are in this series on Sundays, we wanted to run that series in youth group as well. As I was preparing my message along with a visual for the youth to do, I was reminded by Holy Spirit about my teenage years and how my identity was formed so often by my experiences and things people said, more than what my Heavenly Father was speaking over my life. Can any of you relate?
Growing up in a Christian home, you would think I would have known a lot more about what God says and live that out, but that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t that I wasn’t being taught about God’s truth, I just didn’t know the difference between lies and truth when it came to my identity. Also, it is much easier to believe the lie that to stand in the truth at times.
How Lies Over Our Identity Are Formed
I shared with the youth about an experience I had when I was in the 5th or 6th grade that shaped what I thought about my identity for many years after. I was on a softball team in my little hometown, playing with girls I grew up with. I was picked to play on a team that had won the championship game every year for 6 years prior. I didn’t get picked because I was good, it was just how things got sorted out. We played all season and I worked really hard at my batting and catching, but to be honest, both were still not really good. We came to the final game, the championship game, the one game that our team had worked all season to get and all the pressure ended up on my shoulders. We were down by one, bases loaded, two outs, and I was up to bat. I remember asking my coach if someone else could go in for me, but she said no and told me I could do it. What was she thinking? Strike one. Strike two. Foul ball. And then it happened. Strike 3. We lost the game at that moment and I was devastated.
After the game, some of the older girls were not very happy with me and told me I should find another sport. They were probably right – but maybe they didn’t need to say that. How does this come around to identity? Growing up, moments like these were the ones when the enemy could get in there and start to plant lies. Because of the way I was feeling, those lies started to sound true and I started to align with them, like any other normal person would do. You aren’t good enough. You are not accepted. You are not liked. The list kept going.
When Lies Become Our Filter
How many of us, no matter what age we are, are still living under some of those lies that started many years ago? What happens is those lies become the filter of how we see ourselves, how we see others, how we respond to situations, and how we will or will not move forward into areas of our life. The feeling of not being good enough or not accepted always kept me from really entering into relationships with others. It was especially hard with other girls because it was the girls on my team that hurt me the most with their words. Those lies and beliefs I had about myself and my identity went with me into my 20’s and 30’s, holding me back from so many opportunities and probably a lot of very good relationships.
When it comes to our identity, the only one that truly has the power to speak that over us is our Heavenly Father, who created each one of us in His own image. He is the one that we need to be turning to and to ask, “What do you say about me?”
Breaking the Weight of These Lies
In order to really know what our identity is, the first step we need to take is to ask ourselves, what lies am I believing and aligning with. When we had the youth do this the other night, they went for it. It was amazing! They spent some time being honest and real with their hearts. This is something I think all of us could benefit from. After they wrote down the lie, they began to ask the Lord two questions, “What is the opposite of this lie?” and “What do you say about me?”
My hope and prayer is that we can follow in the youth’s footsteps and do the same thing. So many of us are living under the weight of these lies that began more years ago than we ever want to count. You may not even know it is a lie because it has been true to you for so long. As we spend time with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to us any lies that we believe about our identity, He will show us.
During this identity series, I pray that our hearts will be awakened to the voice of the Lord and that only He would be the one speaking identity over us. I pray that we would be so aware of lies that are trying to grip our hearts and minds and instead of partnering with them, we would turn to the Lord for His truth in that moment.
It is not too late to walk in freedom and truth, we just have some steps to take! I’m in, are you?!