Do you remember Show-and-Tell? Other than field day, it was basically the apex of elementary life. I can still remember what I took to show off to my 2nd grade class on Show-and-Tell day. I brought a little glass figurine/doll that my grandma had given me that I thought was so special and unique. On Show-and-Tell day, I proudly carried myself with my head held high because I got to bring a little piece of home to school.
My four-year-old little girl recently received enough “paw points” at school to earn a spot at Show-and-Tell. Out of all of her toys and beloved things, she chose her favorite Christmas decoration- a personalized blue sleigh with a family of snowmen.
This little blue sleigh says “Harris Family” on the side with little personalized snow people figurines that sit inside the sleigh. There’s a mommy snow-woman that says “Ashton” across the hat, a daddy snowman that says “Chad” across the hat, and two little snowbabies that say “Priscilla” and “Silas” across the hats. Oh, and we can’t forget about our dog. There’s even a snowdog that says “Wesley” across the hat. This is our snow family. And my sweet little girl decided that this was the item that she wanted to take to school the most to show off to all of her friends and teachers.
Family Shapes Our Identity
Right now, my daughter sees everything through the lens of family. She makes families and plays family with everything she gets her little hands on- rocks on the ground, chicken nuggets on her plate, and every other thing she finds in sets of fours.
I’ve realized how important our family unit is to her. Family is her worldview. It’s shaped her identity and it’s where she finds security. Watching her grow and develop has shown me how essential strong family units are to our well-being. God created us to exist in family units, in community. He Himself is a community- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is in our community and family that we learn who we are and our identity is shaped.
Identity in Christ
In my own spiritual life, I’ve been on an identity journey. My family and I moved here to Baton Rouge about 9 months ago from our home in Chattanooga, TN. When we moved here, we felt like we lost a lot of things- a lot of our belongings (because we had a major downsize in living space), our families, our church community, our pet, and even our identities.
In the weeks that followed our relocation, we discovered that our identity had become rooted in what we did- in our ministry jobs and in our church community in Chattanooga. We had to rediscover our true identity in Christ and find security in Him. God gently affirmed that out true identity is not what we do or in our current assignment, but it’s who we are in our relationship to Christ.
While it’s been a painful process, I’m thankful that God has given us a “wilderness” season of learning who we are and whose we are at a deeper level. It’s completely changed how I think of myself and how I live my life.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be affirmed in His identity after His Father publicly declared His relationship with Him during His baptism. In this passage of the Bible (Matthew 3), all three parts of the trinity were present- one big, happy family.
Jesus was led into the wilderness before He began his public ministry because being firmly rooted in our true identity is absolutely essential to doing what God has called each of us to do. It’s not something that we can skip. If we don’t get this part right, we will operate from a place of need instead of a place of rest and abundance.
Because when we know who we are, and whose we are, we can truly rest in our identity.
The Fruit of Identity is Rest
While I would give anything to sleep in past 7:30 AM or take one long, luxurious uninterrupted nap, God gives rest that goes beyond our need for physical rest.
He gives us rest for our souls.
Rest is all about relationship. It’s about trust and about believing that God’s intentions for us are always good.
Leaning into my true identity in Christ has changed the way that I live. I play a lot of roles in my life, but none of them define me. That’s because there’s only one identity that can never be taken from me, and this is the one I hold as an anchor for my soul.
I’m a daughter of God. And when I see and process life through this lens, everything changes. When my identity in Christ shapes my worldview, I live from a place of abundance instead of need.
This kind of rest is a lifestyle. It’s living by the Spirit. It’s resisting the ways of our culture that say our identity is what we do or what we have.
This time of year always gets a little crazy, but I’m approaching the holiday season with fresh, new eyes. No matter what culture tells me I need or my kids need, or how my house should look, I’m resisting that narrative and resting in the truth that we already have everything we need. With this outlook, I think I will much more enjoy the days to come.