Recently, I attended a baby shower for my cousin’s daughter. As we gushed over every lovely gift she unwrapped, I’m sure we all imagined her baby dressed in each adorable outfit. Who will he look like? What personality will he have? Who will he grow up to be?
Identity – it’s something we grapple with throughout our lives. From the baby who first learns his name, to a child who grasps the concept of family belonging, to the teenager struggling to balance fitting in with the crowd and discovering her own individuality, to a busy mom placing her child’s needs ahead of her own, to the conscientious businesswoman striving to succeed, to the widow adjusting to life without her soul-mate, we all often ask, “Who am I, anyway?”
Moses asked this question when God told him to lead the people out of slavery. “Who am I,” Moses replied, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). I can imagine his thoughts, “Don’t you remember how badly I failed before, God? I’m now only an eighty-year-old shepherd! I have nothing left to give. I’m useless and unworthy.
Sound familiar? It rang true with me about six months ago and although I’m only in my early fifties, I was beginning to wonder whether God was going to use me again. I felt alone, confused, and lacked fulfillment. I repeatedly cried out to God, “Who am I now and what purpose do I have?”
Then He sent two wonderful, Spirit-filled women who whispered to me, “Kathy, it’s not what you do for God that identifies you. It’s knowing who you are in Christ and being who He intended you to be that matters most.” I’d been spending my whole life doing rewarding ministry for God and my identity had become rooted in it. Increasingly, I’ve been discovering afresh that when I am secure in the knowledge of who God created me to be and how I am amazingly blessed because I am His child, that what I do for Him is a natural outflow of this reality.
I find it comforting to note God’s response to Moses’ insecurity, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that I have sent you…” (Exodus 3:12) When you and I struggle with our insecurities and feel lost in our present circumstances, God is right there to remind us, “I am with you. I am your God. I am walking through this with you. I will never ask you to do anything for which I have not prepared you.”
This gave me courage two weeks ago to accept a new ministry challenge for this fall. It’s something I never envisioned for myself, but God has unique ways of shaping our heart’s desires to align with His. And do you know what? I’m not afraid. In fact, I’m getting excited! Now, that is truly a sign that God is at work in me!