Prior to my work at The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center in Omaha, I was employed for over 20 years in the optical industry. As a woman in a male–dominated industry, I quickly learned not to show any vulnerability as it would be interpreted as a weakness. In an environment where strength, efficiency and productivity were highly valued, I learned to keep any display of weakness in check.
After spending over two decades in the corporate world, it was a challenge to turn from my productivity–centered mindset toward a more open, vulnerable and transparent way of being with the people I serve at the Kroc Center. In the early weeks and months of my ministry, I was unsure how to navigate this new terrain. I struggled to share the more vulnerable parts of my own story. I was not in a habit of getting “personal,” and at times I felt uncomfortable. Over time, what helped me most with personal and ministry growth was to embrace my vulnerability. Because the truth is that my identity is not in how others perceive me, but in who I am in Christ.
If we choose to measure ourselves against the worldly views, we will be insecure, indecisive and experience lack of direction. If we see ourselves in this way, we will never reach the full potential of who God desires us to be. Firmly rooting our identity in Christ alone not only solidifies our purpose and simplifies our lives, we are now freed to fully live as our truest God-created selves.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new” (2 Cor. 5:17, The Passion Translation). As we enfold ourselves in Christ, we are transformed into someone completely new. We separate from the old patterns, structures and rules, and we live fully and freely into our new, true identity as God’s servant. This fresh identity gives us a new future and a new purpose for our life in Christ.
God’s deepest desire is that we will uncover and embrace our identity in Him. After all, this is why we were created. For it is in Him and only in Him, that are able to discover our true identity and purpose. I know how easy it is to lose sight of this new identity in Christ. Our culture promotes a very different value system and tempts us with its many enticements of advertising and messaging. But the truth is, if we are not seeking “daily” to discover and uncover our identity in Christ, then we may find ourselves seeking our value and worth elsewhere, which always leads to a dead-end.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world,” John cautions us. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15, ESV).
It is in the knowing who we truly are that will determine how we choose to live the rest of our days in God’s kingdom here on Earth. Knowing our identity is in Christ, however, does not guarantee life without challenges or a life free of suffering. In fact, the Bible confirms the opposite is true. John reminds us, “In the world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33, ESV). But we can rest in the confidence that just as Jesus’ suffering was not wasted, neither will our suffering be wasted. I have found that when we suffer, our worldly perspective shifts to an eternal perspective, for “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28, ESV), including our pain.
My 20 plus years in the corporate world, allowed me to learn some essential skills that I still use every day in my ministry at the Kroc Center. But I am most grateful to God for showing me that I don’t have to bury or hide the parts of myself that society might deem as weak. Sharing my vulnerability has only made me a more accessible, approachable ministry leader, allowing me to help others in a deeper way. Together we can embrace a fuller, truer version of ourselves as we gain our identity in Him.
For when we are deeply rooted in Christ, when we are confident that we are all in, we have freedom to live more fully into who He created us to be.
Knowing whose we are, allows us to know who we are.