Today, I want these six words to sink deep into your heart.
Your experience does not Define who you are.
Your experience -- the sum of events happening to you at this very moment -- is only a part of your story.
Sure, your experience may shape the chapters, ebbs, flows, and cliffhangers of your life's story; but it will never define how your story is going to end.
Millennials are experiencing so many emotional roller coasters today. When you look at what's going on in the world, you will notice something very strange --- young people everywhere are chasing trends.
If it's a hashtag, it's worth following. If it's the newest meme, then it's worth doing. So much noise and too many visuals. So much to follow with so little time. F.O.M.O (the fear of missing out) is real. And in the middle of the noise, we often forget our true identities. We mix up the 'going through' with the 'who we are,' and in the end, we can't differentiate the two.
So what can you do to make sure your experiences don't define your identity?
As parents to three little warriors, my husband and I have had to make several choices about what identities we want our children to focus on. What we want our home culture to be, whom we want our kids to grow up with, what we want them to learn, and what we want them to recognize as their superpowers. I've had to turn my face away from the noise and look inwardly to define "us."
I want my children to know who they are and be confident about this knowledge right from the very beginning. No matter where they go or who they're with, I want them to reflect who they truly are on the inside.
So back to you, how can you make sure that what you're going through right now does not define who you are?
Well, I'm excited to say that just as I was writing this today, the Holy Spirit gave me a very easy way to remember what to do the next time you're faced with an identity crisis. He dropped this acronym in my spirit -- "KRAVE," and I love it! KRAVE (with a K)...because inside every one of us, we desperately crave to be who we were created to be!
1. KNOW (K)Know what God has said about you. Have you ever felt an "Aha" moment? That feeling you get when you suddenly learn something new that you didn't know all your life? Perhaps, you may leave here with some 'Aha' moments about who you truly are:
a. You are unique -- "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." - Psalm 139:14
b. You are the light of the world -- "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." - Matthew 5:14
b. In Christ, you are no longer a sinner -- "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." - Psalm 103:12
Ignorance is not bliss. The earlier you realize who God created you to be, the faster you'll start living your best life. It will no longer be about hashtags or trends, it would be about pursuing your legacy and finding your stamp amidst the noise.
2. REMEMBER (R)Remember what God has said about you. When rough times come, you have to remember the storms you've faced in your past and how you got out alive. You have to remember your testimonies.
I'm currently teaching my kids memory work in Math. When they need to solve real-life math problems, I don't want them to spend time counting their fingers for simple math additions or multiplications. They need to simply know that 2 + 3 is equal to 5. In the same way, when your circumstance seeks to define you, you need to quickly remember that God is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End...and it's not over till He says it's over.
3. ASK (A)Ask questions. I think we need to create healthy communities where we can feel safe to ask questions, no matter what kinds of questions they are.
Life is an endless school. I feel sorry for people who think questions are not welcome in the church. What is the church there for if we can't bare our hearts? What are our minds for if we can't question what we see around the world? When we judge people for their questions, we become hypocrites.
Look at Job...he was greatly afflicted and he questioned God (respectfully), and God answered him out of the whirlwind. May God visit you in moments when you're bold enough to face Him. I believe those moments of questioning will only make us more intimate with Him, and will only make our faith stronger.
4. VERIFY (V)Verify your answers. Not everything around you is a "sign." Stop looking for signs in the wrong places. If it does not align with the Word of God or the character or nature of Your Father, then it's not the answer you're looking for. The Bible talks about the Bereans in the Bible. They were only interested in acting on a decision if it was God's decision, so they always went back to double-check.
5. EXAMPLE (E)Be an Example. Leaders are rare. Followers are many. If you want to live your whole life following everything someone else does, you can only be a copy of that person at best. Sure, you can observe examples from other leaders (I have people I look up to and admire), but ultimately, you have to use their examples to carve out your legacy. Yes, you can stay at the feet of others drinking milk for a while, that's the only way for a baby to grow. But one day, you have to spread your wings and FLY.
SO TELL ME, WILL YOU LET YOUR EXPERIENCE DEFINE YOU OR WILL YOU CARVE OUT YOUR DEFINITION?
Photo 1 by Nick Owuor (astro.nic.visuals) on Unsplash
Photo 2 by Sai De Silva on Unsplash