I·den·ti·ty – Noun – the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Sta·bil·i·ty – Noun – the state of being stable. synonyms: firmness, solidity, steadiness, secureness, strength, fastness, stoutness, sturdiness, security, safety.
According to the dictionary the word IDENTITY is a noun and is based on FACTS. A fact is something that is known and proven true. Some will say that our identity can be anything one wants it to be, but that defies the definition of identity. A cow can’t just decide they want to be a monkey and swing from the trees. Attempting to ‘be’ a monkey would reap a lifetime of defeat, not to mention bumps and bruises. An ant can’t decide they want to carry their young in a pouch like a kangaroo because they don’t have a pouch! Wish as you might, but a clock can’t just start operating like a car because they are wired completely different.
In order to fully be alive, we need to answer two questions – WHY was I created and then HOW was I created? My parenting is anchored in these truths about my children.
Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG) – “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) – “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations— that’s what I had in mind for you.”
Do you have faith in what God says about your child’s existence? Oh friends, this is the GOOD news! We aren’t here by chance or accident. He didn’t mess up the design, switch parts or make an error. We are purposely created with the utmost of care and intention. We are not manufactured at record speed; we are knit together by our Creator with a plan and purpose (the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists). We are ANCHORED when we understand that we were created by design for an incredible purpose. The world will tell you otherwise because they are without the hope, promise, and mindset of Christ. To know your identity is to also know that others haven’t yet discovered theirs. Discovering how we were created is not about reading a manual, but a glorious process of discovery with our Creator. This is one of the reasons why God put young vulnerable children in families and not as orphans. As parents, we get to blow on their areas of strength and empower them in their areas of weaknesses. We have the privilege of helping them unpack what is inside of them by God’s intentional design to impact those around them. The more this is discovered in childhood the easier adulthood will be because they already have a grid for who they are. You can’t operate successfully unless you know your original design and purpose. Establishing identity is a building block that is essential to building a strong foundation. If you don’t know who you are then it is going to be very hard to walk in the fullness of all that is inside of you with confidence and boldness. If you want your child to grow up bearing good fruit in their life, they must be first taught who they are. Our identity is who we ARE, and our destiny is what we are called to DO with our time on earth. Identity always comes before destiny because you have to know who you are before you can discover what you were created to do (and it is a loving Father not to move you into your calling before you have established your identity as His Son and Daughter). When a person doesn’t know who they are they become double-minded. Their mind tells them one thing and their heart tells them another. Each one cancels the other out rendering the person motionless. “I should”, “I shouldn’t”, “I am”, “I am not”, “I do”, “I don’t”… The cycle rages on in all areas of their life reducing their capacity to a cycle of unanswered mental questions. James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” God calls us to walk in confidence and assurance, not double mindedness.
Here’s the deal – if we, as parents, do not partner with our child’s Creator and help them discover who they were knit together to be, the world will. The two worlds are vastly different in views, purpose, and identity. More than ever the world is reaching children with a non-Biblical worldview which does not line up with God’s intention, plan, and purpose for your child. It is crucial that we shift from the parenting mindset of ‘shaping’ and ‘molding’ our children into something and learn how to partner, call forth and pull out what God has ALREADY created them to be. Paul was never meant to be a football player. Moses was never meant to be a worship leader. David wasn’t meant to be the president of a company. They changed the world because they discovered and then walked in who they were designed to be.
HeartWork – I want you to take out a sheet of paper and draw an outline of a body. Spend some time with your child’s Creator and ask Him to show you who He knit your child to be. How do they see the world? How does their brain work? What makes them come alive? What are their gifts, skills, and talents (even at a young age)? Allow Him to introduce you to the child He knit together.