It is easy to get caught up in our identity. Your career might be your identity. Maybe your identity is caught in your relationships. Maybe your likes on social media define who you are in this world. It could be the sports team you cheer for. What is your identity?
I worked in the juvenile justice system for over 20 years. That is how people knew me. When parents were having trouble with their children, they would reach out to me. I would speak at different conferences about juvenile justice. That was one of my identities. Then when I got sick again and had to retire early, that identity was gone. It was strange when people would ask me what I did for a living and I had no answer.
My identity also consisted of being a long-distance runner. I would talk and breathe running. People would always ask me about my running. They would send me articles about running. People would ask my advice about running shoes and training for running marathons. I loved being a runner. Then I got sick again and I was no longer able to run. There went another piece of my identity.
My health journey has also become my identity. Heck, one of my pastors even gave me a cool nickname “The Man Who Refuses to Die.” That is some kind of identity. The first question I usually get from people is “How are you feeling?” My health issues are what a lot of people see. Believe me, I am very thankful for all of the concern and prayers. But lately God has been challenging me on this identity. Let me explain.
The past few weeks, God has been revealing that I have allowed my health issues to define me. I have made the choice to be identified as a patient. It was a sobering realization, but one I needed to hear. God has been revealing how this mindset has kept me from seeing the healing He wants to be part of my new identity. God has not withheld His healing from me. I have just been so caught up in my health issues, I could not see it. So, the past few weeks God has been changing my mindset. God is breaking me of the “Sick Guy” identity. He is walking me through a new journey of healing and thriving in life. I have no idea where this journey will lead me, but I am excited to be on this beautiful healing journey.
God continues to remind me that my most important identity is in Him. I am a child of God. That is the only identity that truly matters at the end of the day. It is one that I am choosing to embrace with all I am. ~OC