By Cassie Downs,
Several years back, Dustin, my hubby, and I were out at dinner at one of our favorite local spots. We were just seated when a busboy approached us and began a conversation with Dustin. The conversation with this unknown busboy quickly became what seemed like a conversation between friends, as he and Dustin chatted for some time. This guy, deep in conversation, eventually seated himself at our table. After some time, and I mean some time, he said farewell and told Dustin how great it was to see him and scurried off to clean the next table. When he was a suitable distance away, I asked Dustin who the boy was. He looked at me and with a slight grin said, “I do not know!” We both lost it! We laughed till we nearly cried. Perhaps that boy was playing tricks and didn’t know us either? I can’t say for certain, but I think it may have been a classic case of mistaken identity!
This was me, a year and a half ago—mistaken in my identity.
Dustin and I had just stepped down from leadership in our church by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and I suddenly found myself lost. I had spent the last seven years in church leadership in some form or fashion, and suddenly I was without a job. If you had asked me prior to this if I tied my identity to what I do, I would have argued, no. My identity was in Christ alone. Truth is, I was wrong. I misplaced my identity. And at some point, ministry had become who I was, not what I did. And to make it worse, this stripping away, as I now call it, became the norm in my life. Everything I had spent years pouring into: building my social media platform, authorship, leadership… one by one, God called me away from them for a time. So here I am trying to find my identity after stepping away from church leadership and God goes ahead and strips away anything else that might tempt me to place my identity in. There goes my social platform as he asked me to walk away for a time. My book reach dropped as a result, threatening my authorship, or so it felt like. There went what felt like everything. Everything but the one thing I can truly find my identity and my worth in—Jesus.
When it felt as though my entire ministry life was crashing around me, His love for me remained. When I could not share with the world on social media, I shared with Jesus. When my authorship seemed threatened, He was writing treasures in my heart. And when I felt useless every Sunday at church, Jesus was teaching me how to be the church. I may have forgotten where my identity came from. He never did.
Your worth, your identity, is not tied to what you do, it’s tied to whose you are. If you are in Christ, you belong to Him. You are a child of the MOST high God and He is proud of you. You are not what you do, or even what you’ve done. You are HIS.
“For in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’”—Acts 17:28 CSB
God created us in His image. To bear, to put on, His likeness and His character. When we accept Jesus and come into a relationship with Him, God looks at us, but He sees His son. We take on His identity. When you are in Christ, you can rest knowing that you are enough, you are loved, and you are chosen not because of your own strength or ability, but because you belong to Jesus.
Cassie Downs is the author of Chasing Jesus and Unrivaled, both 60-day devotionals and founder of Everyday Jesus Ministry. Connect with her online at everyday-jesus.com. Cassie’s books are available locally and Amazon.com.