Updated: Dec 9, 2019
Who am I? It’s a question that people of any religion and background constantly seek to answer, which is why personality tests like the Enneagram are so popular. As soon as a new personality test is developed, its popularity explodes and everybody is asking everybody else which number, letter, or animal they are.
Why is it then, that the first personality test we took wasn't enough to satisfying this insatiable need? It’s because personality types answer a different kind of question than what we’re all truly seeking.
Don't get me wrong- I love studying personality types and I think they do help us better relate to one another. Personality types give us insight as to how we interact with others.
Who we are is something altogether different than a Reformer or an Achiever. We keep searching for more because we feel there's something that's still missing- and it's unsettling.
There is a core identity that seems like it's just out of reach, although many aren't aware that's what they're really searching for in life.
We must first understand who we really are. You are a child of God. You were made perfectly; you are a mirror image, a carbon copy, a replica of God. Jesus came to this Earth, not to be an example of how to act, but to be an example of who we were made to be.
If that’s true, you may be thinking, why do I still mess up? The answer is that you haven’t fully understood and embraced your true identity. We can get close in this lifetime and it will be perfected in the next. (Philippians 1:6)
Many of us relate more to our Enneagram number than we do to being a mirror image of God and we relate more to being a sinner than a saint, yet throughout the New Testament, all believers are referred to as Saints. (Eph. 1:1, Phil. 1:1, 1 Corinth. 14:33, Eph. 2:19, Col. 1:26, and many more.)
In the midst of confusion, it always comes back to being a heart-matter. The condition of our heart stems from knowing our true identity. When we don’t understand and live as the person we were created to be, our heart experiences pain which turns into anger, fear, or indifference- all of the things that block us from loving others well, especially the difficult people. We try to be better by doing good things, hoping that God's grace will follow.
We often chase after our purpose thinking it will transform us, but God wants to transform our heart to prepare us for our purpose.
It's easy to believe that if we feed the hungry, give clothes to the poor, and give water to the thirsty, then we will eventually become a person with good character, one that God would happily accept into the kingdom.
Dina Sanichar was raised by wolves. Found by hunters, around the age of 6 years old, he was taken back to civilization where missionaries spent the next several years trying to rehabilitate Dina. Even after the boy was introduced to who is really was (a boy), his behavior still represented what he believed about himself- that he was a wolf. He may have been told he was human but he didn’t truly understand that truth and live in it, so he continued to scamper around on all fours, gnawed on bones, and only ate raw meat instead of cooked meat.
When we believe a lie about who we really are, we’ll continue to live in ways that reflect that lie. So the first order is not to do good works so our lives matter, or so we'll have an impact on the world, or even to be good enough for God to accept us because we already have all of those things. The first order is to really explore who God says we are and then work with God to understand that truth and live in it.
The Mirror Bible (Red Edition) discusses the difference between a perceived works-based salvation and the true salvation of grace in the commentary of 1 John 3:12.
"The quest to prove my I am-ness would now become my constant drive; instead of finding and celebrating me in fellowship with my Maker and my fellow human being, and also in my harmonious co-existence with paradise nature, I have to now strive for it in the fruit of my own efforts to become something I already am by design, perfect and esteemed."
Once we understand that we were already made to be exactly who we are supposed to be, we can begin to heal and align our heart with that truth. This will take time and intentional work with God to rehabilitate a heart that reflects a false identity.
Once our heart releases anger, fear, or indifference it has learned to hold onto, we will be able to love strangers, the poor, the hungry, the wounded, and the opposing political party. From that place, we’ll be living in our true identity and we'll be able to help those that Jesus said is the same as helping Him, not from a place of obligation in order to receive salvation but because that's just who we are. These kinds of works will easily flow from us because that's what love does. This is our true identity- a child of God who loves all people.
Applicable steps to better understanding your identity:
Read The New Testament Bible. The Mirror Bible version consistently speaks about our true identity in Christ.
Spend quiet time with God each day and ask Him who you are to Him. Just listen. He may give you an impression, a feeling, an image, or even a word.
Jesus said that we were designed to love God and love all people. Any thought, word, or action that does not come from a place of genuine love stems from a false sense of identity. You are love.
How do you practice living in your true identity? Is there a different kind of identity that you find yourself taking on instead? Tell me all about it in the comments section!
You won't want to miss next week, Sifted and Shaken: the Day My Husband Survived a Heart Attack and What it Taught Him at Own Your Victory!