In a discipleship group I’m in we are learning about identity. Not what we say our identity is grounded in, but the identity we respond and live out of. Although I thought my identity was grounded in being a daughter of the King, it isn’t.
We discover the identity we live out of by paying close attention to emotions we repeatedly have toward others. Over the last several months I’ve noticed I often respond in anger and defensiveness. I’ve learned I don’t live out my identity in Christ, but the false belief I’m not good enough. Not smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough and seven or eight other not-enoughs (or maybe twelve. Or eighteen).
After realizing this over the course of several weeks I’ve been asking God to help me trust what He says about me. I’ve been asking Him to help me trust His perfect love and acceptance are enough. I’m asking God to help me live out of my identity as being good enough by His standards, regardless of what I or anyone else thinks of me.
As humbling as it was to realize this is the root of some of my defensiveness, anger and hyper-sensitivity to the opinion of others, I was excited to watch God’s slow work. It’s exhausting being a people pleaser. It’s hard work biting my husband’s head off when he simply asks a question or makes a suggestion. So, I’ve been asking God to help me trust His perfect love and acceptance and it’s been awesome.
The more I’ve been asking God to help me trust His perfect love and acceptance are enough the more He’s also shown me He perfectly loves and accepts everyone around me. As He shows me His deep love and acceptance for me regardless of how I look, what I know or don’t know, He’s also been reminding me he deeply loves my know-it-all friend, that condescending woman I can’t stand and even people who drive slow in the fast lane.
Brennan Manning says in The Ragamuffin Gospel, “How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car.”
As I learn to trust Christ’s perfect unconditional love and acceptance for me regardless of whether or not I feel I’m enough, God is helping me remember because everyone else is perfectly loved and accepted by Him too, I have no excuse. He’s teaching me I have a lot of double standards. He’s teaching me, because of his extravagant love for me, when I can love “normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day,” I will know I have begun to identify and live out of His perfect love and acceptance for me.