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How to Be Brave With Your Identity

How to Be Brave With Your Identity

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

It was those perfect curls that got me. The minute I saw them my gut told me – oh, we do not like this woman. 

She was in her mid-20s, with the kind of big blonde perfect hair you see a lot of the time on Pinterest. She had to of been about a size 4 and my ankles hurt just looking at her high heels. The inner monologue in my mind was deafening and predictable.She’s so perfect. I don’t even want to listen to her. What could she possibly know about being like me. What kind of problems has this lady ever had?

As it turned out, lots. The story of her life was riveting. The obstacles she overcame were amazing. And in the midst of it all she shared about her deep struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and depression. On the stage, looking like that, admitting to the same dark secrets I carried around in my much less Pinterest-y package. 

Has that ever happened to you? Has there ever been a person that you thought surely had no problems, or at least not the kind of problems that you had, only to find out that you were totally wrong? I know this isn’t an isolated incident. In the age of Instagram we are constantly building people up in our minds, assuming that a life that photographs so well surely can’t be stained with the same kinds of issues staining up our own.

But that’s just not reality. Everybody’s life is full of stains – struggles, heart aches, battles that will never end this side of eternity.

I know that may sound bleak, but here’s where the opportunity is: the struggles and hardships in our lives me manifest in different ways, but the struggle itself is universal. We all deal with it in whatever packaging happens to apply to our specific case, but we deal with it nonetheless.

How does it make you feel when you hear someone you look up to share vulnerably about their struggles? 

Do you think differently of them? In a good way? Or is it a bad way? 

I would venture to bet that hearing someone you admire speak with vulnerability would lead to greater admiration, right? Why is that? Shouldn’t be the other way around?

I don’t think so. I think things are just as they should be, but despite experiencing it over and over we remain skeptical that that is the way it really is. Vulnerability leads to deeper connection, which leads to inspiration. We are inspired by people who share with us. We admire them before we know their struggles, but upon seeing their struggles laid bare the ways they have already inspired us becomes even more incredible.

No matter who you are, there is someone that looks up to you. There is someone who desires to be inspired by you. There is someone watching you. It might be a family member, a colleague, a student, or a mentee. Whoever it is, they desire to be inspired.

And whoever you are, wherever you are at in life, you can inspire them. 

One more time for the people in the back:

*Whoever you are, wherever you are at in life, YOU can inspire them.*

You can do that by being brave with your identity.

So what does it mean to be brave with your identity? 

It means to be:

1.) Aware of where you are at in your own identity (positive and negative)

*and*

2.) Actively seeking to bring that vision in line with God‘s vision for your identity. 

*and*

3.) Sharing your struggles in a real and appropriate way with people that you influence.

What does this look like practically?

Well, I’ve thought about that a lot.

I want you to think about a world full of moms, just like ours is, but in this world, moms are open about their struggles with identity in a healthy way with their daughters.

They say things like:

“I’m really struggling to embrace my true self-worth, but I need to. I go to God every day and ask Him to help bring my vision of myself in line with His vision of me.” 

Or 

“It’s really hard to see yourself the way God sees you. I still really struggle with that. But God really desires for us to see ourselves the same way he sees us and so I pray about that a lot. I want to be confident in who I am, because I am who God made me to be.”

And not just moms. Aunts. Siblings. Godmothers. Friends.

Just imagine that.

A generation of daughters raised up by women that struggle but don’t give up – who fight the negativity in their head and the culture with the truth of the Gospel.

A generation of mothers (biological and spiritual) that never back down from what might be the hardest everyday fight of their lives AND don’t pretend it’s a cake walk.

A society of women that refuse to accept the status quo – to dislike themselves or be numb and grasping at the thin air of vanity and one-ups-manship – and build their fortress on the only truth that will never crumble: Christ.

Excuse the informality, but holy crap. That’s a world I want to live in.

That’s the world I believe God wants for us too.

He loves us. That should mean so much to us, but I know how hard it is to let it sink in.

Do you desire a toxic headspace for someone you love?

NO! Never!

So why do we live like we’re alone in this? Like Christ loves us but our garbage mental state is our own mess to deal with?

No more, ladies. No more.

What being brave with your identity is NOT:

It’s not being brave with your identity to simply complain. 

It’s not being brave to be self-deprecating. 

It’s not brave to belittle yourself with the hope of fishing for a compliment. 

Those are the easy, slightly sleazy things to do. 

Being brave is owning the ground you stand on, no matter how undesirable it is, and yet living in hope that God will bring you into a future where you no longer live there. 

It’s brave to hope that you will heal. 

It’s brave to share the fact that you are open to healing before the healing has happened.

I think a lot of women think that their own internal struggles with their identity or just that – their own internal struggles. But God desires to turn even these internal, sometimes even silly seeming struggles into massive opportunities for him to move and for us to connect as a community of believers. 

It is a tremendous opportunity to come to him day after day in hope and trust that he will heal us. It is a tremendous opportunity to paint a hopeful future in our communities – talking together about what it is that we are seeking from the Father in our prayer. It gives us the chance to love each other as God loves us by affirming each other in our God-given identities – conversations we might not even realize need to be had without vulnerability and bravery on the part of those in our lives.

No matter who you are, and where are you were out in life, you can be brave today. You can choose to share with someone this journey that you are on – the dark place you are in and the beautiful road that you desire to walk down.

 I’ve met many women who simply hope to reach a place where they don’t care anymore. I think this is the total wrong approach. We live in a numbing culture – that’s what our culture tells us to do. 

Just numb it down. 

Our culture uses drugs, entertainment, alcohol and sex to numb, but we can be just as guilty of numbing as Christians when we don’t take our struggle to prayer and simply wish it would go away, or that our hearts could just shrink a little bit so we don’t feel it as much. It doesn’t hurt as much that way.

It’s so much braver to feel the pain. Acknowledge it, sit with it, and pray through it. Allow it to make us patient so that we intern can sit with others in pain. That’s when we grow. That’s where we let Christ love us.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

We are asking you to commit today – commit to being brave with your struggles with identity and not giving up on them. We are asking you to commit to walking this journey WITH Christ and not just near Him. Let us know that you are committed in the comments.

Three Ways to Nurture Kind Curiosity Towards Yourself

Three Ways to Nurture Kind Curiosity Towards Yourself

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

The other day I was storming around our house like a bull in a china shop. Everything the kids did annoyed me. I had so many internal quips going it was hard to even keep up with the string of negativity in my head. I was frustrated with the whole world. 

Finally I stopped, right in the middle of the living room, and, out loud, asked What is wrong? Why am I feeling like this?”

Stopping to ask this gave me the space to breath – the distance from my own internal rumblings to gauge the situation and realize I was letting stress from another area of my life color my interactions with my family. It wasn’t the people around me I was frustrated with, I was frustrated at the anxiety I felt about a situation I couldn’t control. And this realization and quiet gave me the opportunity to pray briefly for God’s help in letting go of my anxiety. From there, the day was better.

Curiousity helps us ask the hard questions.

Asking ourselves “What’s wrong?” might seem like an obvious question, but how often do we skip the obvious questions when dealing with ourselves? It’s hard to grow personally without these answers, and yet we don’t seek them out. It’s also hard to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord if we don’t even know what’s going on inside ourselves.

I have found that stopping to be curious about my own feelings has been a powerful tool in deepening my relationship with Christ, just like in the story above. When I am more clear on what I am feeling and why, I am better able to articulate to our Lord in prayer what it is that I am struggling with and what it is that I am seeking His help with. It’s not because He doesn’t know unless I tell Him, it’s because I don’t know unless I tell him. 

Without curiosity, I likely a.) wouldn’t have prayed at all in my agitated state or b.) prayed for everyone to leave me alone indefinitely, neither of which would have helped the situation. 

Here are three excellent ways to cultivate curiosity towards your own feelings – good and bad – and open new doors of connection with those around you and our Lord himself.

1. Stop and ask “What is going on here?” 

This is what I did in the living room that day, and I didn’t know the answer right away. But stopping to ask the question predisposed me to begin seeking an answer. I combed back over the day in my head, thinking of the things that of happened and how they had made me feel. Eventually I was able to pinpoint an event that had sent me off on my tirade. It was something small but it made me feel very anxious, and it sent me off on a path of frustration until I stopped the cycle by asking why.

2. Develop a writing habit. 

What this looks like in your own life is highly personal. Some people like to journal every morning, some every night, some irregularly whenever the fancy strikes them. But I think that it is deeply important to regularly translate words from our head through our hands in writing. Whether you write long hand or on a computer or laptop, the effort of putting words to the things swirling around your head can help you make connections and investigate your own feelings. You may want to treat journaling itself as a prayer, offering your thoughts to God as you think them and write them, or you may want to use journaling as an opportunity to get clear on what’s in your mind for yourself before taking some concentrated time with God to discuss what came up.

3. Talk to the people who know you best.

The people that love you the most typically are not the ones who are hardest on you, although I know there are exceptions. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably hardest on yourself. But, the people that know you and love you best may understand you more than you understand yourself sometimes. There have been many times when I haven’t been clear on the source of my own feelings when my husband has been able to help me gain clarity by pointing out patterns in my behavior that I am not even aware of myself. 

A loving outside perspective can be very valuable in recognizing the large broad stroke patterns we fall into, especially when they are played out over long periods of time that may be hard for us to observe all at once in ourselves. Having this conversation with someone that you love is also a wonderful opportunity to embrace vulnerability and choose hope and growth over comfort. 

The Gift of Self Awareness

Self-awareness, gained through curiousity, is an excellent tool in the fight against disordered self reliance. Disordered self reliance, unlike an appropriate amount of personal responsibility and desire to maintain oneself healthfully as a person, is based on the idea that we can save ourselves. This is just not the truth. 

Self awareness is valuable to combat this because when we truly become aware of our faults, feelings, and triggers our need for God becomes abundantly clear. These are the things that we hold humbly in our hands when we come to God in prayer, offering the worst of ourselves to him that loves our whole selves unconditionally. God wants us to give him our weakness because in doing so we truly surrender to him allowing his strength to shine through.

It can be a lovely thing to be weak. It is so countercultural, but embracing our weakness is one of the most beautiful paths to deeper relationship with God. For myself seeing my own brokenness with unclouded eyes has given me the opportunity to grow in freedom and love for God. Knowing my weakness allows me to feel free because the illusion that my strength should sustain me is gone. It is just clearly impossible. And that realization is a wonderful gift.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!


The Good Gardener: Conversations of Curiosity with God

The Good Gardener: Conversations of Curiosity with God

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

Over the last seven years of our marriage, my husband has become a true gardener. When we were engaged he made a new friend who began teaching him about flowers, trees, and planting gardens, and over the last seven years together my husband has grown more and more independent in his gardening ability. 

In front of our front porch there is a small brick patio with two chairs and a fire pit surrounded by a little semi circle brick wall and flower bed. 

This year the flower bed is perfect. 

My husband planned it meticulously mixing annuals and perennials, colors and heights to create a symphonic garden. The result is beautiful, the most lovely place in our yard to sit and read a book or watch our children draw on the driveway with chalk.

I like that despite the fact that English is such a prolific language we use the same word to talk about plants growing as we do to talk about people growing. I think that paralell can lead us to something valuable about how to think about our identity. 

Like I said, my husband arranged all the plants in that flower bed to work together in harmony – some are tall, some are short, some are just greenery and some are flowers. But they are all necessary to create the whole that executes his vision.

I believe that is the way it is with us as people too. We are each our own kind of plant – short or tall, flowering or evergreen. We are created to grow in a certain way into a certain kind.

And then of course in this analogy, the gardener is God. He plans us where he desires us to grow so that, in harmony with the other parts of the body of Christ, our fellow brothers and sisters, we may simultaneously bloom into a garden of the Gardeners design. 

It is specifically our differences that execute the vision.

So what does this have to do with our identity? Well, simply put, I think it means that we need to nurture the belief that we are indeed exactly the right kind of plant for exactly where we are planted. If we doubt where we are we are asking the wrong question. 

So often we doubt where we are and who we are, feeling out of place and either ill-suited for the mission or discouraged by the fact that our mission is not as large or flowery as someone else’s.

This is a struggle that we can invite Christ into. 

He is the good Gardener. He planted you with intention and intelligence. He crafted you into the kind of plant that you are, not by accident but by design. So when we doubt those very aspects of our placement is it not natural to seek the input of the one who put us there? 

When a child has a question, what do they do? They ask why. They seek the answer.

So why do we allow ourselves to be consumed with doubt and fretting when we could simply ask the one who planted us to help us see the logic of it all.

God will likely not send us a billboard with all the information spelled out for us. But I think it’s very likely that he will gently and consistently reveal the nature of our placement if we ask.

I think that this is an integral part of healing our identity – having these “Why” conversations with God from a place of curiosity and not anger. When we go to God while trusting his wisdom as the good gardener, our “Why?” becomes a hopeful question and not an accusation. The sub text is not “ What in the world were you thinking?“ but “Can you help me see what you were thinking?”

This subtle difference in approaching God opens the door of our heart to him in a powerful way. When we start from a place of trust, even when we don’t see the logic yet, we give God the freedom to speak to us in powerful ways because we are disposed to receiving it.

We also open ourselves to much greater peace and calm in the meantime, even if the answer hasn’t come yet. Operating from this place of right generosity with God soothes our very souls.

There is a place for you. And trusting in that, even when you can’t see it, is one of your most powerful tools to grow in relationship with the Creator, the Gardener, who made that place for you.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!


Asking for the Healing We Need in Our Identity

Asking for the Healing We Need in Our Identity

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

I’ll never forget this one sleepover in my childhood. It was a slumber party with a girl that I didn’t know well – a homeschool family that had been involved in a girls group with us a few times, but that was it. The girl was nice and her other friends were very kind and I felt welcome that is, until I really needed something. 

The details are fuzzy in my mind. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing on the treadmill, but whatever it was it probably was lacking in a fair amount of intelligence because I ended up flying off the back and getting a gash in my knee. No one saw my knee right after the accident and I rushed to the bathroom to tend to my wound myself. 

I pressed it as hard as I could with a wad of toilet paper to try and stop the bleeding and changed into longer clothes that covered it up. I was embarrassed that I was hurt. I was afraid of what my friend’s mother would say and that she would be disappointed in me, or even her own daughter, for my having gotten hurt in the first place.

I kept my banged up knee a secret all that night and into the next morning. My mom noticed it right away when she picked me up and my poor friend’s mother was absolutely horrified that she hadn’t done anything to bandage it up. As a mother myself now, I know how horrified I would be if the same situation unfolded in my house. But it wasn’t her fault – she didn’t even know about it. She couldn’t have helped me unless I asked her too.

I think we forget that it’s the same way with God. God really does hold our free will as sacred. He will not barrel into our lives and wrest control of them from us. But when I think back to that incident in my childhood, when I let the shame of even having been hurt keep me from seeking healing from the person that could’ve helped, I realize how often I still do that with God.

We sit on the street, cradling our broken hearts and bleeding wounds just inches away from the hospital. 

We are ashamed that we even need a hospital so we don’t go inside. 

Maybe we don’t even believe that they will let us in if we try. 

But regardless of the reason the result is the same: we tend our wounds as best we can on our own, which is not very well, and then we wonder why we never get better.

Chances are if you are struggling with a broken identity there is a wound somewhere that never got attention. Maybe you’ve been holding soggy toilet paper to it in an attempt to just make it stop bleeding for years. Maybe it’s even gotten infected and all the sudden your whole life is overrun with gangrenous ills. Maybe your left feeling like whole parts of yourself need to simply be amputated because the idea of actually healing seems too far-fetched to believe.

The reality is that Christ is our doctor and the church is his hospital. His heart is burning with the desire to make you well again, even to make you better than you’ve ever been before. He will offer all this to you and more, but He needs you to ask.

Hobble in to that hospital clutching your heart, clutching your wounds, doing whatever it takes to simply get inside the door. 

That’s all you have to do. Just bring yourself in. 

You don’t have to know how to heal yourself.

 You don’t have to be the one doing the healing. 

You just have to come in and let him.

Bring him the lies you’ve believed about yourself since childhood – that you were worthless, unlovable, a burden, a mistake, a scar on the face of humanity. 

Bring him the abuse, the doubts, the anxiety, the depression, bring it all to Him. 

Like any good doctor, he does not promise quick fixes or instant results. He does not peddle in snake oil. But he will serve you tirelessly on your path to healing. 

You will no longer be alone. 

You will be folded into his heart. There you can find hope and be strengthened, even if wounds remain. You will never, ever be worse off for seeking Christ and his healing.

Are you like me at that slumber party right now? Telling yourself it’s just a flesh wound and that if you focus on something else it’ll go away? 

I encourage you to seek the Healer. Bring him your wounds every day so that he can heal you, whether in mind, body, or spirit.

All you have to do is bring them to him.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

Is your identity a wound you carry with you? Have you invited Christ into healing it? Tell us your story in the comments. We’d love to sit with you where you are and minister to you.

The Gift of a Broken Identity

The Gift of a Broken Identity

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

A broken identity can actually be a gift. Sounds crazy right? Yet it’s true. Because, as the Bible tells us, in our weakness, God is strong.

I want you to take stock of all the things you believe about yourself right now. Not what you should believe, what you intellectually know from sermons and Bible reading and Sunday school songs, but what feels true right at this moment. If it makes you feel embarrassed – don’t be.

This is where you are starting from. This is what you have to work with right now.

And if what you have to work with is thoughts like “I’m worthless.“ or “I’m not beautiful.” or “No one loves me.” then that’s what it is.

Wishing, or just trying to gut it out and believe harder won’t help.

Do you know why? Because you are weak.

But you know what is crazy? That is a good thing.

If we were strong enough to fix ourselves by ourselves then we would be very tempted to do so, right? Everyone is all about self-help and self-improvement in our culture these days. And in theory – I’m on board with that. But, the danger is in feeling and thinking that we, on our own, in a vacuum, can bring about all these beautiful changes.

We can bring about beautiful change, but only in communion with God. And that’s why your weakness is a good thing.

Your broken identity is an incredible opportunity to go to God in vulnerability and allow him to be your strength.

Imagine yourself as a little girl. You don’t know how to make your own lunch, but you are desperately hungry. Your dad is in the next room.

What is more logical – two make a huge mess of the kitchen and burn yourself on the stove trying to make your own lunch or simply going to the next room and asking your Dad for help? This is a loving Dad. He will make lunch for you. He knows that you can’t make it for yourself.

It would be crazy to think that He would expect you to do so.

And yet this situation is the same: we are desperate and unable to provide for our own needs. So why do we act like we have to check off the boxes alone and bring our completed checklist to God when it comes to healing our identity?

You don’t have to get to a place where you have things figured out before you come to God. Admitting that you feel worthless right now doesn’t degrade God’s love for you. I think that might be what we fear – admitting our feelings of lack to God would be like saying that He isn’t enough for us. That’s not what we’re saying at all.

Being honest with God we are saying that our minds and hearts are out of sync. We know in our mind that God is love – that He loves us. But we don’t feel it in our hearts yet. And when the chasm between our head and our heart can feel uncrossable, God can build a bridge.

We are just asking for his help to build that bridge. He knows we don’t know how to do it. So just like the little girl hungry for lunch, when we ask God to build that bridge for us he is delighted to oblige.

So here’s how we heal:

We bare our souls before God.

We pray, pray, pray.

We use science.

Writing is a proven way to create stronger connections between the head and the heart. In writing both how we feel now and how we desire God to form us we can use the very skills God created in us as humans to cooperate with God in strengthening the connection between our head and our heart.

We begin again every day.

I strongly recommend making the truth and scripture verses a regular part of your every day life. You can use one of our lock screens on your phone (head to Instagram to grab them from our story highlight), you can set up a desktop background on your computer, and very soon we will have a whole collection coming out created specifically to fill your day with these truthful verses.

The more we see the truth the more it gets written in our heart. Think about how much we get inundated with lies – from TV, movies, magazines, tears, and the culture at large. We are getting slammed with those lies day in and day out. It’s no wonder that we’re struggling to cling to truth. We have to give it a fighting chance. We have to fill our lives with it.

We ask for help.

Go on this journey with sisters. Gather a small group of women from your church, school, or community to talk about identity. Talk about the lies that you believe about yourself and what you are trying to cooperate with God to believe. Affirm each other in who you are. Let friends and mentors have the opportunity to respond to the negative voices in your mind by vulnerably sharing your struggles with them. God desires to use us as his body presence in each others lives. Receiving affirmation from devout friends can remind us of how God sees us.

Broken identities can feel like wounds that won’t heal, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Not only can we heal, our journey of healing can lead us deeper with Christ, the true purpose of life on this Earth.

That sounds like a gift to me.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!


Trusting There’s a Place for You

Trusting There’s a Place for You

This post is part one of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

It was 2004, and it was my first day of high school. Fashions were questionable, track suits were in, and at least 3 trucker hats had already been confiscated from the lunchroom. And despite living in a small town and having just come up from the middle school with my entire class, it was lunchtime and I didn’t know where to sit. 

I’m 99% sure every single one of us has some version of the story. Doesn’t matter if it was the first day of elementary school, middle school, high school, college, or in the workplace, but there has been a time where each one of us has felt like there wasn’t an open seat for us. 

And that feeling is pretty much the worst.

So here’s an uncomfortable question: Do you feel like that in your everyday life? 

Do you ever feel like there’s nowhere that’s meant for you to sit, like there’s not a space at the table for you? Or, perhaps, even more disorienting, do you feel like you don’t belong at the table at all? Do you feel like you don’t have anything to offer even if you did get a chance to sit down?

I’ve felt this way many times throughout my life and honestly still do with more frequency than I really care to recall. And yet despite the commonality of this experience, I think we all still make believe that we are the only ones that feel this way. But when we hear someone, anyone, share that they feel the same, a connection springs to life, almost as if we’ve been tossed a life preserver and we feel like there is a ship out there somewhere that can haul us in. Really, truly, we stop feeling so alone. 

Do you believe there’s a place for you? That’s really what it comes down to.

It can be a hard question to look at there in black and white. 

Whenever I’m questioning whether I feel like I belong or not I love to read 1 Corinthians Chapter 12. In this letter Paul is talking about the spiritual gifts. I find it all comforting, but this verse is my favorite:

But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. – 1 Corinthians 12:18

It’s so matter of fact. It is… as He intended.

All the Puzzle Pieces

Have you ever done a huge puzzle? Every Christmas at my parent’s house they do 1000+ piece puzzles. It’s insanity. I am not a puzzle person, so I get overwhelmed just looking at the jumble when they first dump it out of the box.

Inevitably there is a face in there somewhere, or a light, or some other distinguishing characteristic that jumps out first. It’s the easiest two to recognize amongst all the other pieces, and placing them together is an easy quick win.

But then there’s still 998 more pieces to go.

And every piece, even that awkward bit of green that could go literally anywhere (Christmas puzzles literally have so many evergreens) has a spot that’s all it’s own. The puzzle will not be complete unless every piece, awkward little green and all, are nestled tightly into the grooves made for them.

That verse in 1 Corinthians makes me think of those puzzles because though God gives us different gifts, the puzzle is just as incomplete missing any one of us. It may seem like more fun to be a face piece or part of a lantern, but where does your eye go in a puzzle missing a piece?

The hole where the piece is missing.

Doesn’t matter where it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s part of the action or just the background.

The whole gets defined by its holes.

I firmly believe this is the way it is with the church as well. Every member is needed. Every member has a place, just as intentional as a puzzle piece, that they are called to fill.

So how do we live that?

1 Trust your puzzle piece spot is out there.

The NUMERO UNO theme of this series on Identity is that we have got to give God the benefit of the doubt for things we don’t see. That is trust. That is opening the door to radical relationship with Him.

Just because you don’t see your place right now, live like it’s out there. Make your default frame of mind an adventure with God and not a dreary march to nowhere when you don’t see the path. Start each day with the prayer

God, I have no idea what you’re doing. But I can’t wait to see what it is.”

… and avoid the mental litany of self deprecation…

“There’s no place for me. I don’t belong here. No one needs me.” (Umm, LIE.)

This thinking is 1.) a lie 2.) a copout 3.) the easy thing to do, and you’re better than that. It’s hard to trust. It’s hard to great each day with hope when you just keep feeling out of place. But it’s also brave. And you have it in you to be terribly brave. I know you do.

2. Expect it to take time.

Putting a puzzle together is a long process, and all the pieces sure as heck don’t get placed at the same time. In our family a 1000 piece puzzle might take a month and that’s a drop in the ocean compared to what we’re talking about here. Maybe we give God some grace in the timing of it all, shall we?

I know, it’s not easy. But what’s worth doing that is?

3. Rejoice and find hope when other people find their spot.

Competition just totally ruins the whole puzzle thing. Can you imagine puzzle pieces competing for a spot? Seriously, I want you to imagine little jealous bits of cardboard being fake and giving backhanded compliments trying to shove themselves into the wrong spot.

First of all, weird, second of all, probably painful, third of all, just why?

Our common mantra needs to be, “A Place for Everyone.” We need to actively desire for everyone to find their perfect spot, because frankly that’s an aspect of loving our own spot.

Instead of defaulting to jealousy, we need to default to praise. Any feelings of jealous need to get taken to Christ and given to Him to wrestle. Seriously, if you struggle with this, (umm, me, so this is preaching to myself) you need to accept God’s help with the jealousy. He doesn’t want that for you. He wants you to see the beauty of everyone being where they are as He intended.

Because that means you too.

This post is part of our ongoing series about identity – what your identity is, where it comes from, and how to let God be the one that shapes it, really. We are creating lots of amazing content to share with you free, and we’d hate for you to miss any of it so drop your email below and we will send you new resources as they come out!

Do you struggle with feeling like there’s a place for you? Tell us about your experience in the comments, or drop a request for prayers on this front for yourself or others around you.