For this week’s Monday Minute, Liz shares with us her experience as God helped her flourish in her identity beyond the uniform.
Find Your Identity Beyond the Uniform
by Liz Giertz
When I got out of the Army, exchanging my Active Duty ID card for a “dependent” card was traumatic.
Being a Soldier had defined my existence for over two decades. From the time I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to go to West Point and serve my country. That desire motivated me to take hard classes, make good grades, seek leadership roles, excel at sports, participate in extracurricular activities, and stay out of trouble (for the most part). Once I put on the uniform I did what good Soldiers do. And I was rewarded for it.
But when I took off the uniform, I had no idea who I was anymore. Even though I was already a mother and a wife, I struggled to find my new identity out of uniform. It is a dangerous thing to try to determine our own identity, because too often what we identify with becomes an idol for us.
What I didn’t understand then was, just because I had carried an active duty military ID card, Soldier wasn’t really my identity. It was just something I did.
The Labels We Wear
The world likes to label us and tell us that what we do is who we are.
Stay at Home Mom.
Insert your label here…
The problem is that those labels we wear, those cards we carry, the things we do, could all be gone tomorrow. Basing our identities on what we do is like building on a foundation of sand—tenuous and temporary. The truth is our identity is eternal and it was determined by our Creator before we were even conceived.
Who we think we are has a lot of power over what we do.
In order to flourish in life, we have to know who we are. One of my favorite stories in the Bible highlights this concept.
David, who God had anointed as the next King of Israel, was on the run from Saul, the current king. David and his men had been providing protection for a rich man’s property and asked to be allowed to participate in a feast. The rich man foolishly refused. And for lack of a better term, it was as if David forgot who God had said he was.
David hastily plans an attack on the man’s property, his people, even his life as revenge for this apparent slight. But the rich man’s wife, Abigail, gathers some supplies and runs out to meet David and his men. She apologizes for her husband’s poor behavior and proceeds to remind David of who he was. She tells him he doesn’t want the guilt of this blood on his hands when he becomes king and begs him to back off. David relents, the rich man dies anyway, and Abigail becomes David’s queen.
Remembering who he was had the power to change David’s behavior. (1 Samuel 25)
We find our identity beyond the uniform in who God says we are.
When we believe we are new creations in Christ, we begin to say and do things that reflect that identity. When we believe we are children of God, we trust him at his Word and depend on him for provision. When we believe we are temples of the Holy Spirit, we begin to treat our bodies accordingly. When we believe we are holy and set apart, we act that way. When we believe God has loved and forgiven us, we love and forgive others. When we believe we are made in God’s image, we look for ways to be more like him. When we believe we are citizens of an eternal kingdom, we begin to set our minds on things that will outlive us.
But if we put what we do before who we are and we fall short, we question our identities.
So, to flourish by faith, we must find our identity beyond the uniform or any other labels the world places on us. We must find our identity in the eternal.
How to Find Your Identity and Flourish by Faith
- Remember who God says you are. God is the one who made each of us and he gets to decide our identities. We must constantly remind ourselves of this fact so that we can focus on transforming into his image instead of conforming to the world’s standards.
- Work from your identity, not to form it. We think we have to work for our worth, but we are already valuable because God paid for us in his Son Jesus’ blood. Knowing who we are enables us to derive more pleasure from what we do and minimizes the pain when we can’t do it anymore.
- Find your Abigail. Surround yourself with people, or even one close friend, who will remind you of who you are and then be humble enough to accept their redirection.
Instead of finding our identities in what we do, we must allow our identity in Christ drive what we do.
Military women, in or out of uniform, flourish by faith when they find their identity in Christ.
Dear Lord, help us to tear down any idols we have created from what we do. Teach us to find security in the identity you have given us so that we may flourish by faith. Amen.
Verses to Ponder:
But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17 ESV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.