By Stacie Gibson
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-5
I took some time one afternoon to research the Internet to find out what women are searching for to find the meaning and purpose in life. We live in a society that has a quest for meaning with the question “Who am I? So, in my internet search I found that women get their identity and find meaning in life through their success , education, careers, money, and status; whether they are married, single, divorced, widowed, their family, children, good health, fitness, body image, the good deeds they do, religion, ethnicity, and what region of the world they are from. I think Christian women can fall into the same trap by looking for their purpose in life elsewhere. They say with their lips that they are first and foremost a child of God, but their actions speak differently.
As some of you older ladies know there was a radical feminist movement in the 60’s and 70’s that revolutionized how women viewed themselves, their roles, how they viewed men, their families and how they functioned in the culture. They were seeking to find the meaning of life and find out just who they were. Well, I am here to tell you that this problem didn’t start in the 60’s. I do think it was intensified then, but the Colossian Christians were being confronted with that very thing: questions of their identity (who they were), where to set their minds, and how to change. Ladies, how we see ourselves shapes the way we think and where we go to seek out advice. Paul says that we are to seek the things above and set our minds on Christ because He is our life.
I wished I had known this as a new believer. When I first became a Christian and for a few years after, I found myself obsessed thinking that my highest calling in life was to be a mom. I felt sorry for the women that didn’t have kids or had the gift of singleness because they somehow must have “missed” their high calling in life. I thought this was OK because I was a new Christian and before Christ I was obsessed with getting drunk and partying. So, finding my identity in my kids sounded like a pretty good trade-off considering where I was before.
Now, I didn’t come up with this new identity on my own. I was getting it from other well-meaning women and Christian books that told me this was who I was. The topic of parenting and how to be a “good mom” is all I thought of. I read lots of parenting books, some good, some not so good. But that is all I read. After a while, I started to get discouraged because my home and kids did not line up with some of the authors and conference speakers that seemed to have it all together. I started to have a lot of guilt and condemnation that I was a failure and somehow I was missing the mark.
It wasn’t until a few years later while sitting at a conference under the teaching of Eileen Scipione that I was challenged to really think about who I was. That day, the Lord began to change my heart and I was confronted with the truth that I was first and foremost a child of God, created in His image. My purpose in life was to reflect God and to make Him known through my life.
This was very Good News for me! It was very freeing for me to hear because I wasn’t setting my mind on Christ. I was setting it on my other identity or my idol (which were my kids). God also opened my eyes to show me that I was neglecting my marriage and local church because all my time and energy went into my kids and their happiness. This is not to say that being a mom is not important, because it is a wonderful privilege and blessing from the Lord that should not be taken lightly. My husband and children are my first priority. However the more I found my identity in Christ, the more I began to find joy in my life. In return, the joy of the Lord trickled down into my marriage, children and others. All those ideas of being the “perfect parent” went out the window, thankfully!
Friends, please don’t find your life in:
- Your Marriage – That man that you married will let you down and will never fully satisfy you. I am very blessed with an amazing, godly husband. But if I am not careful, He will become someone I worship. If you find identity in marriage, you are going to be one angry, disappointed woman!
- Your kids – finding identity in your kids will cause you to be child-centered in your thinking and actions. What will happen to you when your “identity” leaves the home to pursue collage, marriage, or the military? I have personally watched marriages disintegrate because of this problem. People married for 25+ years suddenly divorce or are on the verge of it because they prioritized the kids rather than Christ (and their hubby!).
- Success in your job - God calls us to learn, work, and be productive by earning a living, but finding identity in your job will cause you to love your job so much that it will take you away from the Lord and your family.
Writer and speaker Paul Tripp says “Finding identity in Jesus leads to life. Finding identity in other things never leads to anything good.” If you are a believer, you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ. He is your life!