Finding Our Core Identities

This past weekend, I had the honor and privilege to speak at a retreat to a group of college student women about “identity.” It was work, especially getting ready to speak, but you know how avocational work (work that is outside the bounds of your day job) sometimes doesn’t even feel like work? Well, that was what this was like for me. Want to give me more avocational work like this? Click here.

I told the women on retreat that I’d recap some of my talk here on my blog. So here goes.

Our banner premise for the day went something like this:

God made each of us uniquely to know & love Him and to reach the world with His love as only we uniquely can. Therefore, with regard to our identity, God longs for us to partner with Him in the lifelong process of discovering and becoming all that He created us to be. (It is not something we can force on our own strength and insight, nor is it usually something He is willing to do entirely on His own – He’s like a good parent in that way.) This process involves God’s doing two mighty works in us: 1. rooting out the broken identities we’ve taken on 2. healing our broken identities and restoring or replacing them with true and good identities

WSU cru women's retreat
Some of the gals who were at the retreat

The first question we tackled was:

What is identity?

We agreed that on the surface we think of our core identities as being personal answers to questions like:

• Who are you?

• What is your life about?

• What is important to you?

But I suggested that our core identities are even deeper than that! And so I invited them to go deeper with me. I have had the most success finding my truest core identities (both broken and healed) when I’ve asked myself questions like:

• What, if I lost it, would send me into an emotional, psychological, spiritual tailspin?

• What do I sometimes obsess about? What keeps me up at night?

• What issues often foil my relationships?

• On what (besides basic needs — water, food, housing, Target basic tees) do I spend the majority of my money?

• What things make me angriest fastest?

• What things did/does my family say about me that have stuck with me through the years?

• What are my greatest strengths? How have those led to my most broken core identities?

These questions formed the basis for our partnership with God on which the rest of my talks built. Again, for those of you who were at the retreat: thank you for being so humble, gracious, and willing to listen to me share just a little bit of what God has been and is still doing deep down in my heart. I continue to pray for us – that we will partner with Him as He does His mighty work!