I recently returned from a trip. This trip really did make a deep impact on me.
It was not because I had so much fun, or got a good tan, but I learned a lot about me.
My learning was not about what kind of person I was. No, it was more about what kind of person I could be. Now remember, you are hearing this from someone who does live with victory in their own identity.
Before I get into this too much, let me tell you what I did.
I was invited by Compassion Canada, to visit my sponsor children in Mexico. I hope you know who Compassion Canada is. It’s the organization that works in various countries that are impacted by extreme poverty. The organization comes along side of churches around the world to give hope and resources to families to support their children. It appears like a child sponsor program, but it goes a million times past that.
Let me say as a side note. I have travelled a lot in my life. But I have never been on such a well organized trip as this. Thanks Compassion. You blew my mind.
What I want to share with you is this story.
I went with my translator to visit one family in their home. This was an honour. While this family was living in extreme financial poverty, and it was clear that there was no money to support a healthy life, it was not the financial issues that caught my attention.
While I talked with the mother, who did not have an ongoing income, she said something that really caught me. You should note, that her husband did not have a regular income either. Even though this woman would just strive each day to care for her family and make simple corn tortilla’s as 75% of their daily meal plan, what she said blew my mind. You see, even thought there was no job, even through there was no work place to go to, her struggle sounded exactly like mine.
She said through tears, “I just don’t have enough time to take care of my family.”
She had no job, she had no place to go. But she still felt that there was no time to take care of the ones she loves.
I couldn’t believe it. I had felt in the past that this was primarily a first world problem that we had gotten ourselves into with a lifestyle of excess. But no, she felt it too. I needed to process this.
What I Figured Out.
Let me share with you my working theory on this. I say “working” theory, because God has been adding to it since I returned.
While this woman lived in financial poverty, she also lived in a poverty that I had not understood before. Poverty of identity. She lacked the necessities to live in a secure understanding of her worth. She had no way to provide for her understanding of who she was because her identity was tied into other people, not her own design.
Don’t get me wrong, she was financially poor and she had to work extremely hard to help her family stay alive. But it dawned on me, that in every culture of the world, we can live with poverty of identity when we live far away from understanding who we are. In essence, we can’t provide sustainable health to be who we are.
This is where God steps in. He is the only one wealthy enough to help us to know who we are. He is the only one that can sponsor us, and help us not only to meet our daily needs for security, but He can give us hope to grow up to be who He created us to be.
We experience poverty of identity when we rely on others to define us. When we look to the world do define us, we will never receive what truly saves us. We will be left to live in extreme poverty of identity. Barely surviving, day to day. Poverty of identity can happen when we are alone. Others don’t define us, but they can affirm who God created us to be.
You see, God defines us, others affirm His design. But when we rely on the world to tell us our worth, it will run out of true resource to provide us with victory. When we get our identity from Jesus, He will define us in such a way that the world will actually want us to be more of who we are. This is what happened to me, and why I want to serve you.
So today, I want you to think about this. I want you to consider how you are living in poverty of identity. What daily habits are you doing that keep you extremely busy, but don’t allow you time to to understand who you are? For example, how much time do you think about what you look like each day. This can be the time when we put on a mask for others, pretending we are confident, but we actually are lacking confidence in who we are.
Today, I want you to write down 1 thing, yup, only 1 thing that you do that you hope will make other people like you. What is that 1 thing you do for others to show you value?
Then I want you to go to God with it. I want you to ask God how He sees you. Not how others see you, but how He sees you. Then, tomorrow, try to please Him, not others with that 1 thing. I know it can change your life. It can give you a bank full of resources to give you hope for a new life of victory in identity.