Who am I? It’s an unspoken question we all struggle with from time to time in our minds, as we navigate the different circumstances and seasons in our lives. Just when we think we know who we are our situations change, relationships alter, and we realise yet again we have allowed people and things to identify who we are. But your identity is not in what you do or where you are, it is in ‘whose’ you are.
When I was single my identity was based around my career and relationships. Then I had a new badge of ‘wife’, then ‘mother’, but I had to realise I am not defined by a label. I had to embrace a journey that would remove comparisons and pressures, and find who God made me to be.
Do you remember the story of Jacob? His name literally meant ‘deceiver’. His pushy mother caused him to strive after his brother’s inheritence. Never content with where he was or who he was, he wore disguises, lied and eventually had to flee from his home. Jacob’s life can be a picture of our own identity struggles. I have met people who spend so much time dancing around to other people’s tunes, played for them by peers and families.
Jacob lived a life forcing things, and trying to be someone he was never called to be. But one day he separated from all other voices and realised “surely the presence of God is here and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16). Is that where you are living? So aware of others that you can’t hear the one who created you? He isn’t labelling you, he is loving you as you are, longing for you to find all the things he has placed in you. You don’t need to worry — you are his and all that he made you to be is still to be discovered.
I love how Jacob’s story unfolds. After his separation comes a life lesson. As he serves Laban who was a ‘deceiver’, he realises “this is not who I am, I do not fit this name I have been given’’, and he begins to build his own life his own way. He discovers he is a hard worker, a faithful servant, a loving husband, a reliable manager. He had always had this potential but under others’ labels he had never found out who he was made to be. One night as he is about to return to see his family, a wrestle takes place over a question God wants to ask him. God asks “What is your name?”, he answers “Jacob”, and God says “Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel; you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through” (Genesis 32:27–28). God renamed Jacob in accordance with his true identity.
So I urge you, my friend, to find your own identity. It is a journey we must all make to really find out who we are in him. Jacob gained a limp that day from his wrestle and this gave him his own unique walk. Maybe it is time for you to embrace your own wrestle; a wrestle that will remove all labels and rename you in accordance with your destiny. It may be uncomfortale but the unique walk it will give you is more than worth it.
Charlotte is an international speaker, best known for her practical and passionate application of God’s word. Her love for people is evident in her messages of life and purpose, which are rallying a generation to embrace the broken and become ambassadors of hope. Charlotte is a senior pastor at the Abundant Life Church, England, an author and the founder of the Cherish women’s conference. She is married to Steve and they have two children.
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