My Identity: Learning What’s Left of Me

In the writing world, publishers seek a bio written by the author, for the author. As I have ventured to get some work published on the web, I learned about this seemingly small requirement and realized how enormous it would actually be. ‘What is it about myself that the reader would like to know?’ ‘Just who am I anyway?’

I mean, that sounds silly, right? But I realized that I’ve grossly placed my identity in others or in my successes. Let me explain. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a fur-mama. I am a speech-language pathologist. I am a stay-at-home parent. I am a volunteer group leader for the MOPS program.

The list seems legitimately good to share. I guess people want to know these things that make me credible to their wondering mind. But I still felt rather invisible. Without these people or things, what’s left of me?

I look to the Bible and find there’s no shortage of names to describe who Jesus is. “And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT). “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25). “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35). “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
(Matthew 1:23).

What’s more, though, is two descriptions which left me perplexed. The first was first spoken of Jesus by John the Baptist, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the next by Jesus Himself, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,” (John 10:14). As I pondered these two extremities, I kept inquiring, “How could it be that Jesus is both the Sheep and the Shepherd?”.

After some time had passed by, it soon became a realization by way of the Holy Spirit, just what this meant for Jesus’ character. The Lamb of God is, Jesus, the Son of Man. The Good Shepherd is, Jesus, the Son of God.

When Jesus came to earth, He was both fully God and fully man. Why? Because He was the perfect, and only, Person who could fulfill the payment for my sins, your sins, and the sins of all mankind, for all of time. He came as a person to identify with us people. However, He has always been the Son of God who leads and guides His people in Spirit and in truth.

We are promised that anyone who belongs to the Lord is described as sheep. “Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalms 100:3). And when Jesus was sentenced to death on the cross, as Son of Man, he identified with us as such- “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6‭-‬7). And with that, a deeper level of intimate love for my Savior takes place. He truly does know and understand how to identify with me and anything I’ve ever been through. Which is why it is so important that I know and understand why I must identify with Him.

Likewise, since He is fully God He is also named Shepherd. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (Psalms 23:1‭-‬3). And since we are made image bearers of Jesus Christ while living here on this earth (2 Corinthians 3:18), we have the amazing privilege of shepherding others to Him!

In John 21, we witness Jesus appearing to some of the disciples since He had risen from the dead, and before He had ascended into heaven. We read, “After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” (John 21:15‭-‬17). And out of this same love for our Savior, we are asked to feed and take care of His sheep. This is done by sharing the word of God (the Bible), which is food for the soul, and by loving God’s people as we love Him (1 John 4:7).

As God is so good to develop who I am in Him, I no longer need to wonder. To Him, I’m both a sheep and a shepherd-amongst many other identifying characteristics. I may feel invisible in a physical sense, but spiritually speaking I am very much seen. And while it’s okay to share my quick blurb of who I am in light of other people or things (Wife, Mommy, Therapist, Leader), what’s more is sharing who I am in light of the Lord. He is mine. And I am His. (Song of Solomon 2:16). Which is the greatest part of what’s left of me.

Freedom to Believe: Reviewing a Case on Trial

I have quite the confession to make. I have been living a lie. At first, I was stopped in my tracks. I did a double take. I even raised an eyebrow.

My heart was pressed with the question, “Do you love yourself?”. Immediately, I thought, “How silly. Of course I love myself.”. But then the question persisted. And I realized my answer was actually a resounding, “NO!”.

I love God and love others well. So, it appeared that I had loved myself. But even I was fooled.

I’ve long carried around fake ID’s that made it appear as if I loved myself. Those ID’s were labeled ‘Perfectionist’ and ‘Controller’. I thought that being lovable could only be acheived by striving for perfectionism in ‘doing’ . I believed that if I could just control situations, outcomes, and even other people, then I would have value and be enough.

Except every single day- actually, all day long- I was beating myself with these lies. Because I could never achieve those expectations I placed upon myself. I was a failure at being a perfectionist. I was a failure at being in control. Therefore, I constantly told myself, “I am a failure.”

Even more, I blamed everyone else for those unmet expectations. ‘If only you could see how hard I’ve worked to make this as (close to) perfect as I could. If only you would just listen to my advice and follow what I know is best.’ I was infuriated with those people on the reciprocating end of my relationships. ‘If they don’t value my efforts, they must not love me’. Therefore, ‘How can I even love me?’.

I have spent many days crying from the hurt and anger. Until I finally chose to pay close attention to the right insight. I had to stop interrogating everyone else and myself.

I finally got it in my mind that perfectionism and control are not expected from God. Therefore, I should never place those false expectations upon myself. I had to bring those fake ID’s under the interrogating lamp. I had to look into the mirror to see the real enemy looking back at me.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.- 2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV

I didn’t love myself. So, how could God truly love me? I didn’t fully believe. I was an unbelieving believer. Except, there is no such thing. Either I was going to believe or I was not.


I decided I was going to believe. And in order to do that I had to review the case of the real criminal who was already put on trial long ago:

  • Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made…- Genesis 3:1 ESV
  • The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”- Job 1:7 ESV
  • …your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.- 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…- John 10:10 ESV

Next, I reviewed the Word (Truth) that has come forth from Jesus:

  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.- John 14:27 ESV
  •  …I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.- John 10:10 ESV
  • I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.- John 14:6 ESV
  • As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.- John 15:9‭, ‬11 ESV

I have chosen to believe (in full) Jesus’ words and works on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The case has been closed. Through His sacrifice, He made salvation and freedom possible. I have an Attorney, Jurer, and Judge through the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus, and God Almighty. Yes, the entire rest of the courtroom is on my side (Romans 8:31-39). In fact, those people on the reciprocating end of my relationships are not against me. And I do not even have to be against myself.

I no longer have to be held hostage to those condemning fake ID’s of ‘Perfectionist’ and ‘Controller’. In fact, I “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we [I] take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.- (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). They have been exposed and disposed of. I thank God that Christ gave me a new ID when I accepted Him into my life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.- 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV.

I choose to believe. I choose to live free as a new creation. I choose to love God, love others and love myself. In that order; yet all at once.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.- Galatians 2:20‭-‬21 ESV



When I was middle school aged, I had a reputation for being the good girl. There were kids from my own class trying to bully me into cursing, partying, or being promiscuous. When I did not oblige to their prompts I was labeled, “Miss Goody Two Shoes”. Indeed, I was proud of having been taught good morals, the importance in valuing myself, and striving to be set apart from the crowd.

However, given more time, this label eventually wore me down. I began to care all too much about what others thought of me. I wanted to fit in the crowd, and my lifestyle took some drastic changes. Upon entering college, those very same behaviors that I stood against became my new persona. I hid my good morals, no longer valued myself, and became a part of the crowd.

In retrospect, I can see how I explored having both the good girl and bad girl reputation. From experience, I realize the hurt that comes from either label- because I allowed it. Even though they were completely different experiences, I felt a sense of embarrassment, shame, and pride from both sides.

Since I know what this hurt feels like, how could I possibly give a label regarding someone else’s reputation? Oh, yes, I have been guilty of this. If someone’s lifestyle hasn’t resembled mine, or doesn’t align with the way I view things then I have been quick to judge. Once I begin to utter words about any individual to another person, I have created a portrayal of their reputation.

I see, now, how there are two sides to someone’s reputation. The one side that we work so hard to portray for ourselves by our lifestyle. And, the other side portrayed by someone else’s words about our lifestyle.


Jesus, knew this all too well. When he walked this earth, he spoke and lived out the gospel. Based upon his ministry, he had a good reputation:

 ..Jesus.. asked his disciples,“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”- Matthew 16:13&16

And by this same ministry, he had a bad reputation:

..he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law.– Matthew 16:21

But, he never allowed those labels to define who he was. They didn’t make or break his identity. He lived to fulfill prophecy, to please his Father, to share the gospel with the world, to be love toward all mankind- just to name a few. Therefore, it is to my benefit to never allow labels to make or break me; whether good or bad. I am to strive to live like Jesus. And, that work will truly portray who I really am- a beloved, grace-given child of the One, true God.

But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.- 1 John 2:5&6 

Yes, I want to have a good reputation. But, the labels others place on me are no longer of importance. I know who I am in Christ. And I strive to live by his morals, seek insight of how he values me, and answer to his calling that sets me apart.

Almighty Father, I ask forgiveness for those times when I have placed a label upon someone else. Help me to ‘stop passing judgment on another that I may not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way’ of another (Romans 14:13). I also ask that You help me to forgive others who have hurt me with their labels. I pray Your blessings pour over those ‘who have cursed me’, and I pray for ‘those who have mistreated me’ that they truly be brought to Your salvation (Luke 6:28). I realize now, that I do not need the words of others, good or bad, to fulfill a sense of satisfaction in me. It is Your unfailing love that truly satisfies (Psalms 90:14). Lord, help me to ‘remain faithful to Your teachings’. For it is ‘by Your truth that I am set free’ (John 8:31&32). I praise You, Father, for Your promise and faithfulness ‘to teach, correct, and train me in righteousness’ (2 Timothy 3:16). In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen. 

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.”- Proverbs 3:3-4 (NLT)

My Identity: from Crisis to Clarity

For what seems like too long, I’ve struggled with my identity. Who am I, really? Other than my given name, I have titles that include; daughter, sister, niece, aunt, wife, mother, speech pathologist, homemaker, and blogger. But, all of these are not the total essence of who I am.

In philosophy, essence is described as, “a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is”. For instance, take a completely designed canvas. The first property is a blank canvas. Next, comes the artist’s conceptualized design. In order to bring the design into existence, the artist must, then, gather all the appropriate materials. The artist proceeds in creating the design. There may be some roadblocks, typically involving trial and error. However, all of these things must take place. This is the essence of the completely designed canvas. Without which, it would just be a blank canvas.

The essence of my identity is much like this. When I was a newborn, I began as a blank canvas. Never encountering, never experiencing, never enduring. With growth, I began to make observations and form concepts. I would plan things that I would have wanted to try. I would have avoided those things that I was discouraged by. And, yes, there have been roadblocks, typically involving taking and making mistakes. However, all of these things had to take place. All of these characterize who I am; without which, my identity would not exist.

I have spent much time encountering, experiencing, and enduring; both good and bad. This ‘group of properties’ have dealt me my fair share of roadblocks- otherwise known as hardships and responsibilities. I’ve learned some lessons from ‘the school of hard knocks‘. And any time I’ve tried to face these obstacles in my own strength, by my own ideals, and with my own efforts I was setting myself up to fail.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”- 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)

I am what I am- the essence of my identity- has been only made possible by the grace of God.


So profound. I can prove this to be true by my own life’s examples. Whenever hardships and responsibilities have come my way, I’ve acted selfish. I’ve proclaimed, “This isn’t fair!”, “Why me?”, “I don’t want to do it!”, or “This is going to hurt too much.”.

Oh, but, grace. God’s good will, loving-kindness and favor has gifted me with His strength, increased my faith, and nudged me to exercise His virtues. His grace gives me the ability to not take and make those same mistakes over-and-over again.

I’ve encountered, experienced, and endured hardships. But, because of the grace of God, I have increased hopeful expectations, perseverance, and a vigorous disposition.

I’ve encountered, experienced, and endured responsibilities. But, because of the grace of God, I have gained more maturity, determination, and leadership skills.

Indeed, all of these ‘properties’ contribute to the essence of my identity. Yes, it is my actions and reactions that propel me to encounter, experience, and endure obstacles. However, beyond my mere efforts that fail me is the ever-present power of God’s grace working in me. And, He promises to continue giving grace- in order that I can overcome my failures- until my life’s canvas is made complete, and I will be able to receive his eternal salvation.

Heavenly Father, I confess to You that, at times, I have been selfish. I ask for Your forgiveness. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atonement for my sins. I thank You that because of Jesus, You bestow Your grace upon me. I ask and gratefully receive Your power that makes me capable to not make the same mistakes again. It is in YOUR name that I pray. Amen. 

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”- Acts 20:24 (NLT)