In my last post I shared how much I’m learning about identity. Turns out, all the mistakes I’ve made looking back, whether they were “little” or “big,” all come down to this. A wrong view of myself will be played out in wrong actions and attitudes every time.
The struggle for identity is very real for all of us. Whether we’re searching for meaning in our work, in our relationships, in our children, in our accomplishments, we’re all looking to hit bedrock somewhere. We all want to find something unshakable, that can tell us how to walk the dark and uncertain moments of our daily life. We have a strong desire to be noticed, to be valued, to belong. To be loved.
One of the biggest problems I’ve found about identity, however, is how often can settle down to me.
Take, for example, the two big camps on identity. One group appeals to the person who has low self-esteem–who thinks, “Who am I? God could never love me.” In response to this, we have a whole flood of books and articles trying to convince people that “God is crazy about you.” They emphasize being made in God’s image, constantly on his mind, and looked down upon in adoring love. I fully believe that God loves his people purely and passionately. But hear me out.
The other camp tries to speak to those who may have too high a view of themselves. They need to be “taken down a notch”–reminded of their need for humility before a holy and high God. We don’t see as many books and articles written on this one, but they’re still out there. The reminder of our sin and constantly, daily need for God’s grace is designed to help us realize that, as the Bible teaches, we are frail and made of dust.
Both of these truths are taught in Scripture, and can certainly be supported by many Biblical accounts. What I am trying communicate here is simply that we do God a great injustice by simply stopping there.
The main goal of the Bible is not for us to think better, or worse about ourselves. The main goal of the Bible is not even for us to understand ourselves rightly. The main goal of the Bible is for us to understand God rightly. A right view of God will inevitably lead into a right view of humanity, including ourselves. But neither self-confidence nor humility should ever be the goal. Our aim should always be Him.
When we truly know who it is that we worship, when we understand the incredible love of a God who chose us to be his Beloved, we can’t help but move past our own insecurities. When we can completely trust the heart of a God who sacrificed his Son to bring us redemption, we can also trust that he means what he says about you and me.
Instead of trying to teach our children a proper amount of self-confidence, maybe we should be teaching them how to have God-confidence. How to be so secure in their status as the child of the great King, they’ll hold their heads high even through bullying and hurt. How to be so sure that God loves them, they can smile with compassion instead of fighting for importance.
Identity and worship. At first glance, they don’t seem to go together, but their threads are woven tightly together.
Will you choose to worship yourself today, and constantly be on the defensive?
Or will you choose to worship the one who holds the whole of the universe in the palm of His hands, who has the very hairs on your head numbered, and lean into this incredible Love that will never let you go?