Written by: Tanya Glanzman
The world has identified a condition coined as Imposter Syndrome. It’s basically when an individual struggles to believe that they are deserving of the role they fill or the way they are viewed by others. Despite education, achievements, experience or skills, those that struggle with this condition cannot internalize their identity to the degree that they ever settle into it. There resides within them a fear or paranoia that they will eventually be found by others to be unworthy of the role, title or position that they currently hold.
The “answer,” it seems according to psychology experts, is that these individuals learn to stop being a perfectionist and begin to focus on their concrete expertise and accomplishments.
As I contemplated writing on Identity this week, this syndrome came to mind. I thought gracious, who hasn’t, at some point, struggled with Imposter Syndrome as a child of God? Which of us hasn’t looked at the evidence of our choices, our thought life, our fruit if you will, and felt that we were not worthy of the calling to which we have been called.
Our answer is different from that which Psychology today offers, thank goodness. We don’t settle into our identity as a Daughter of the King by focusing more upon our achievements, or our greatness. The evidence would always be against us. We would always fall short. There is nothing we could ever DO that would deem us worthy to be chosen as His.
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
You see, beautiful Daughter, you were CHOSEN.
It brings my remembrance to a Facebook post I viewed recently about a little girl that was taken into an animal shelter. The parents were allowing her to choose the four legged creature that would become the next and newest member of their family. The little girl, perhaps 3 or 4 years old, walked by the cages of the potential adoptees. She was drawn to and stood face to face with a puppy that was well-beyond its puppy years. She was stinky, cowering and missing clumps of fur due to lack of care. The little girl looked through the bars of the cage and just kept saying “Mommy, puppy needs help.” When they took the dog outside to the “getting to know you” area, initially, it shrunk back. Not used to being loved on or played with, it took some time for her to understand that she was with a safe person who had chosen her. Despite her age, her stinkiness or her frail appearance, this one was the one that had been chosen.
The post fast-forwarded later in time. Admittedly, tears sprang forth as I viewed the current life and position of this chosen one. It was clear that the once unloved was now loved deeply. She was cherished and treasured and cared for. Not because of anything she had done. It was in her most humble and vulnerable state that she had been chosen. In this case, her role and position had been determined solely by the one who chose.
Isn’t it funny how God will speak to your heart in the most unconventional ways?
And so are we daughters of God. In our most humble and vulnerable state, we were chosen by The Chooser.
1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
We love Him because He first loved us.
And now, our identity has been firmly established not because of how great we are, what we have done or do or how perfect we can be, but only because of the kindness, grace and mercy of The One who chose to call us His own. In our stinkiest and most unlovely state He chose you, He chose me and He decided that He would love us as His very own.
Ultimately, our identity in Christ is not and has never been about us at all.
And so, cherished one, the next time the enemy of your soul works to get your eyes focused on all of the reasons you are not worthy to be a Child of God, you can delight in agreeing with him. You, and I, are not worthy outside of Christ. We could never do or be enough to deserve the love He has lavished upon us.
When we struggle with Imposter Syndrome as a Daughter of the King, here’s our answer from the truth of God’s Word.
John 1:12 (ESV)
But to all that did receive Him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Jesus. He is our answer. The only answer that we can ever give regarding why we are not imposters in our identity as a Daughter of the King. It’s not based on us. It’s based on Him. Always has been, always will be.
Pray with me….
Father, thank you for being my chooser. Thank you for allowing me to be your daughter. Thank you that there is nothing I could ever do or that could be done to me that can change this. Thank you that no matter what anyone else thinks or feels about me, my identity as your daughter, your chosen treasure, your precious one, has been determined and is not able to be changed. For this, I am grateful. When I am tempted Father to focus on those things which cause me to feel unworthy, I ask that you re-focus them upon Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Written By : Olivia Caldwell
“She wanted Jesus above all else, even above serving Him.”
Late last night before bed, I opened up The Jesus Book. I was simply hungry to know more of Jesus. I think part of me wanted to know about Him, rightfully so, but another part of me seemed to not expect to be so directly confronted by one sentence.
For a book that aims to make Jesus known and for the reader to love Him more, I should not have been surprised that things in the way of loving Him would need to be torn down.
I love to serve. I really do. I love the parts of my life where I have been given the opportunity to serve. In its purest form, all service is compelled by Love and done as unto the Lord.
This story of Mary and Martha, though.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Jesus was right there in the room and Martha was serving Him.
Doesn't it seem right to serve the King when He enters your home? “Is there anything that you want, Lord? What do you need? I will do it!”
What kind of King only desires one thing? What kind of King prefers a sitting at his feet over being served?
Jesus says there is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary discovered it. And it would never be taken from her.
We were created to love and be loved. We were created to know and to be known.
Sometimes it's easier to do, to serve. Sometimes we are so convinced that we need to be doing something to show that we love Him. Sometimes we are convinced that we need to do something in order to be worth something. Sometimes we are deceived or fearful. I think sometimes we avoid sitting at His feet because we are afraid.
It is hard to sit. To be still. It is hard to cease doing. But if you really think about it, it should not be difficult to do so. If we believe that Jesus is the source of everything, our worth, our salvation, our time, that he is our treasure and our reward, and if we believe that He is everything, then it should be easy to stop and to rest in that.
If we are up and doing, it can feel more significant. We can feel more productive, like we have more worth.
We think that Jesus needs us to be up and doing, but He doesn't need us at all. He simply desires one thing, calls one thing worth being concerned about.
It's not too good to be true. It is counter intuitive, but it is true. It feels like not enough but Jesus says it is of the utmost importance.
Yes, we have been commissioned. Yes, we have a call. Yes, there are works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. But first. But first. We are to discover for ourselves that one thing worth being concerned about. Then, just like Mary, it will not be taken from us.
Lord Jesus, we stop here and now and simply rest at your feet. Lord, help us to love you. Help us to know you. Help us to adore you. Help us to want you above all else. Above all else, Lord, we long to desire you. Oh, let this be true, that one thing we desire, Lord, and only this we seek: that we may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of our lives, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple (Psalm 27:4). Lord, all that we are is found in you. All of our worth, all that you call us and have created us to be is found in you. Teach us as we sit at your feet. Teach us to live a life from your feet. Teach us to live from your rest. Teach us to live as your daughters, as your created and beloved ones. Show us to truly walk in your freedom, purchased at the highest price. Let us not squander this gift, Lord. Let all of our days be lived in light of the cross. Thank you, Jesus. It is in your precious name that we pray, amen.
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
I'm about to say something that is probably going to bother you, but hang tight...
It has become a fad for people, most commonly millennials, to label themselves as suffering from a mental illness e.g. anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, etc. Can I just say this...if you have not been officially diagnosed by a mental health professional (i.e. a DOCTOR), you most definitely should not attribute any of those labels to yourself. I do not care how sure you are that you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder or that you are clinically depressed. If you believe you are suffering from a mental illness, please, for your wellbeing, go see a mental health professional and begin treatment, let your church family surround you in prayer and support, find a healthy hobby, stay connected to other people, take all your burdens to God as often as you feel their weight. Don't go this alone. Don't wait for things to calm down. Don't talk yourself out of it. Don't think for even one moment that you don't need help. But labeling yourself without a diagnosis only belittles those who are suffering horrific pain and increases some of the stigmas surrounding mental illness.
I have had several diagnoses over the past decade concerning my mental health. Initially, I was diagnosed as having Generalized Anxiety Disorder and severe Panic Attacks. A few years later, we added Major Depressive Disorder to the list along with Insomnia. A few months following that, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was also on my diagnosis sheet. After seeing my doctor and therapist a couple of times a week for several months and changing medication after medication trying to find something to help ease the pain of these mental illnesses, we made a sobering discovery. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't anxious. I didn't suffer from PTSD. I was Bipolar.
I. WAS. BIPOLAR.
Let me just tell you, coming to grips with that label was one of the scariest things I have been through in my life. If I accepted the label "bipolar", what would that say about me? What would that say about my faith? The story behind this journey and diagnosis is for another time, but tonight, I just want to share with you a truth God revealed through this time that altered my world and the course of my life.
Our words become worlds.
I came to know that truth in some very painful ways, but I'm a better woman for it. Proverbs 18 tells us that our words have the power of life and death in them, James 3 tells us that our words determine the course of our lives and if not carefully guarded, it can start a fire that will burn our world to ash around us.
Unfortunately, for a time in my life, I let the term "bipolar" become the focus of all my thought life and conversations with myself and a select few. It consumed me. I was speaking death over myself day and night. Because of my agreement with the enemy that I would never find balance, I would never feel free again, I would never find peace, I burned my world to the ground. I was on the brink of losing everything good in my life. The words of hopelessness I had spoken over my life had become the world in which I was living. The atmosphere inside me had become the atmosphere around me.
Whether it is because of a very real diagnosis or the trend of a generation, we make mental illness our friend. We invite it to come to hang out with us day and night. We give it much more attention than we give the God who heals. We agree with our lack, so much so that I would dare say we revel in our lack. We wear it as a badge of honor instead of embracing the truth that we were not made to be broken. We were not created to carry a design flaw. Brokenness entered the world through agreement with Satan in the Garden of Eden. Why are we still agreeing with him?
I have been diagnosed as Bipolar. It is a mental illness I live with, but it does not define who I am. You won't hear me talking all over Facebook about the anxiety it produces, posting article after article about the debilitating depression or funny memes about the insanity of a full-blown manic episode. Why is that? Because I do NOT agree with that destiny in my life. Yes, it's so important to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness, but it is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT to introduce hurting people to a healing God! It is so much more important to inject HOPE into a hopeless diagnosis.
I agree with the destiny God himself laid out for me before time began. I agree with the HEALER who promises by his wounds I will be healed physically and spiritually. I agree with the God who created me for HOPE and FUTURE. I believe that death and sickness have no place in Heaven and I am a citizen of Heaven! I am a child of the Most High God. I don't have the time or the right to agree with the enemy that I am doomed to suffer, that I will always fear social situations, that answering the phone will always be a nightmare to me, that I will never overcome crippling depression, that I will always fear losing control during mania. And let me testify...those things used to rule me, but after years of work with the Lord and SO MUCH HEALING, those things aren't the facts of my life anymore! I can answer a phone without anxiety, I'm comfortable in most social situations, and depression doesn't have a firm grip on me anymore. I could go on and on about how God has healed me and delivered me from emotional and mental suffering. Am I still Bipolar? Yes. But it doesn't define me or rule my life anymore.
MY GOD IS BIGGER THAN THAT DIAGNOSIS. Yes, He has allowed me to walk this portion of my journey, and perhaps the rest of my journey on this side of Heaven, with a diagnosis, but HE provides my stability and HE provides my hope. Instead of focusing and glorifying the pain I've carried, I will focus on and glorify the One who takes my pain and bears my burdens. He can and will heal our sickness. He can and will bring strength to our weakness.
So friends, can we stop labeling ourselves "ANXIOUS PERSON" and instead take on the label God ascribes? Can we quit making our sickness more important than the Healer? Can we quit drawing attention to ourselves and our sufferings and instead draw all eyes toward Heaven to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine? Can we quit letting anything other that God tell us who we are?
Let's put our faith to the test and start agreeing with God. I WILL NOT live a life defined by anxiety and fear. I WILL NOT live a life defined by depression. I WILL NOT live a life defined by a diagnosis. No matter how true it may be, the TRUTH is my God supplies all my needs. His resources are endless and He has and will move Heaven and earth for me.
If the things we say have life and death in them, I'm going to start speaking some life into my circumstances. If the words we say can burn our worlds to the ground or alter the path of our lives, I'm going to set my eyes right on Jesus, not my problems, and start agreeing with what He says about who I am. So, sister, are you with me?
Written by: Angie Reese
Identity is one of those things that we build almost without thinking. It starts when we are young and our parents pour into us with positive praise and encouragement. At least I hope that is your story. Some people don’t get much of that positive praise. They either get no feedback or negative feedback. And sometimes we get a little of all of it. So when all of this gets jumbled up inside our heads, we somehow decide “this is me” and “this is not me”. If you’re like me, somehow you have let some of that negative feedback influence you a little too much. So how do we rebuild that positive? We look to God and see what He says about us! The perfect place to do this is in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. These two chapters are full of wonderful things we can latch onto as part of our identity.
“He predestined us for adoption…”
Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of adopting a child or knowing someone who has, there is a terribly special kind of love involved. One that amazes me. I have a friend who has adopted two little girls and the love she has for those two is beautiful. I have a cousin who is adopted and the love the family shows her is also amazing. The love that God has for us as adopted sons and daughters is powerful and special. Let that begin the building of your identity.
“In him we were also chosen…”
Not only adopted, but also chosen! Out of all the beautiful things that God has created on this earth we are CHOSEN. That just feels good. To be chosen is to be wanted. Isn’t that a basic need we all crave? Someone wants us. God wants us.
Eph 1: 13b
“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”
When I read this I see a physical mark - like a special birthmark - that we have. A badge maybe that we can show people and say “Look! I am special! God gave this to me!” And all the things we know about the power of the Holy Spirit. Wow. Please notice that this special mark comes when we become believers in Him. It’s something we get when we decide that we want our identity to become intertwined with God. What other amazing gifts do we get when we believe and build our identity in God and Christ?
“Made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.”
We have been made alive and received grace. Alive - have you ever met someone that wasn’t in this category and they still just walked around? Being alive in Christ should give us a vigor and pep that helps us define ourselves.
Grace is an amazing gift for our broken lives. It is like the glue that holds it all together. Without it we would have to work so hard to be and do all the things we were “supposed to” in order to receive salvation. Instead, it is a free gift we can never earn, we just accept. And I do hope that you have chosen to accept it!
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,”
I have the privilege of being able to travel to Brazil in the summer and participate in mission work. My husband and I have some wonderful friends that we consider family down there, but even as often as we have gone and as much as we are loved, we are still foreigners. There is nothing so refreshing as getting off that plane after days of hearing a language not your own and suddenly you are back on American soil. Home. Not a stranger anymore. A citizen. And even more sweet is when I have been gone for so long and I walk into my own home. My household (usually the kiddos and in-laws who have been watching them) welcomes me with an acceptance and love that no other place offers. This is another thing we have in Christ. When we are God’s people we have a place to belong. A foundation to build upon. A refuge when we forget who we are.
I know identity goes far beyond and far deeper than what I have talked about here, but this is a good place to start. As daughters of the King of kings we have so many wonderful parts to our identity. If nothing else tells you how special and loved you are, Christ died for you. Even if you haven’t accepted Him, he died for you. He waits for you to clothe yourself in Him so He can build your identity on these beautiful things. Adoption, being chosen, receiving the Holy Spirit, Grace, and a home.
Lord, thank you for giving us the gifts you have given us. Please help us to base our identity in you and these things instead of the negative that we have heard from the enemy and his followers of the world. Guide us in reading your word and listening to your voice as we build ourselves into the daughters you want us to be.
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