I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard the phrase “let go and let God,” my whole life. When things get hard, when people have to make tough decisions, and when the world is just uncertain - let go and let God.
It’s a nice phrase. A great bumper sticker idea. Something you can put on a post-it note on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself to let go of the things that are keeping you from an intimate relationship with God. But you know what? Letting go is hard work.
Ask yourself some questions: When you look at your life, what do you see? What do you think people see when they see you? What do you really think about you?
The answers to these questions reveal your identity; rather, what your identity has become due to personal choices, personal problems in life, society, culture, or anything! Anything can be absorbed and made into your identity, but only if you let it.
I’ll give you two personal examples, and I’ll be totally vulnerable. 100% honest, total transparency. If I’m vulnerable with you, you have to be vulnerable with yourself. Pinky swear.
First, a positive influence: I have red hair. Now, being a redhead is not a bad sense of identity. But it is the first thing I see about myself, the first thing others see about me, and the only reason people can find me in a crowd. It’s red, curly, a little frizzy, it’s big, it’s everywhere…and it’s probably on your floor if I’ve ever visited you…sorry. But I have always had a sense of identity in being a redhead. This positive part of me, this piece of me that was designed by God, has brought it’s poison to the table in my life. I used to be embarrassed of my big hair. I used to hate how frizzy it was, how it came with freckles like a package deal, and I practically came out of the womb slathering on sunscreen. It’s not a bad thing to be a redhead, but I still found a way to take this beautiful creation of God’s and turn it into this thing I was embarrassed of. Now, after finding the right hair products for my hair to tame it and embracing the power of sunscreen, I love my red hair. I love my freckles. I love seeing it in the mirror, because it makes me “me.” God did that and I’m honored to wear a flame on my head.
Other positive influences that you may find your identity in? Clothes, exercise, jobs, sports teams, hobbies, or skills. All of these are good, positive things, but they can take a wrong turn if we let them define us. Vanity, pride, and division based on who roots for the Bears and who roots for the Eagles (I don’t know sports, sorry) all culminate from finding identity in good things.
Second, negative influences, which are unfortunately more common than the positive ones. *sigh*
When I was in high school, I dated a boy.
DUH DUH DUHHHHHH
100% vulnerability, here, I fell in love and I fell hard. So hard I got scuffed up on the pavement. It’s not a bad thing to fall in love. In fact, I encourage you to do it, because even through heartache, you learn about who you are. Falling in love is a BEAUTIFUL thing, also created by God. But there are things about “love” that God didn’t create.
Jealousy. Comparison. Pride. Greed. Lust. Anger.
I fell in love with a boy, and I got jealous, he became prideful, I became greedy for him, and he was lustful after me. It was a terrible concoction. It was a great relationship (y’know…before all the pride and jealousy and what not creeped in), but it had an expiration date. While we were dating, I was labeled by others, by my friends, as “his girlfriend.” I was no longer me; I was no longer a child of the One, True King; I was no longer a redhead. I was Batman’s Robin. Someone’s possession.
After we broke up, I lost that sense of identity in being “someone’s” anything. I was on my own. I had to assume a new identity. Like I said, hard work. I started to discover who I truly was. While I can’t say what will work best for you, these are the things I did to get to the real me.
1. I went running. I ran in the early mornings to not only run from the old me, but to run towards who I could become. I think it’s great to take up a new kind of exercise that challenges your body, but also motivates you. Plus, exercising produces endorphins!
2. I started eating better. This was like a package deal with the running, but it made me feel so much better to eat healthy. I was fueling my body with good things, investing into my health. I believe God gave us one body so that we treat it right. By eating healthy, we are honoring His creation. Eating healthy and exercising are forms of praise!
3. I wrote. I wrote down my thoughts, feelings, prayers, everything. I purged everything I felt so that I had physical evidence of what I was going through. I believe that speaking or writing your problems into existence makes them real. This is the hardest thing about finding your identity. When your problems become real, you are forced to face them. So, take your time. We all need to go at our own pace to see our problems as realities rather than only in our head. But it is a crucial part of letting go.
4.I prayed. I ugly-cried and prayed. No explanation necessary.
So, friend, I pray that when you are find your identity in things other than Christ, even when they’re good things, try one or all of these things. But most importantly give those identities over to God. He knows exactly what you were intended for and will fill your life with great joy and purpose!
When you are lost, let go of the fear of not knowing where you’re headed. When you’re scared, let go of the anguish in your heart. When you’re alone, let go and know that you’re definitely not. Life isn’t perfect. People lose jobs. People lose scholarships. People lose loved ones. People get sick. People make mistakes. People break hearts.
But the great thing about people is that they were all made by a very perfect God. He provides for us. He makes us new. He enhances upon our lives like no one else ever could. No identity is worth a life without Him. The only identity you need is found in Him.
You have to let go of the identities you cling to now, the ones you find comfort in, to make space for the one identity that really matters. You have to let go so that you can let God.
I’m LeAnne Kerr, but you can call me Lee! I love Jesus and I’m a writer of all sorts. I live in SATX and I do all things social media & content development for a tech company. I’m engaged to a lovely human, and we have a corgi mix pup! I freelance write, do calligraphy, I’m working on a book of poetry, and I love Easter egg colors! You can find me at @hello___its_lee