• Lori Somerville

Today we are going to look at what forms our identity. There are so many different factors that make each one of us who we are. Here are just a few:

· Childhood. Whether we had a great childhood or not – we were molded in part by our past experiences. Parts of my childhood were wonderful & parts were truly awful. And whether I like it or not those experiences left a mark on me. I have done a lot of healing but honestly there is probably more to do. My experience has been that the more I heal from my past the more room I have to receive God’s words about who I am.

· God’s word. God tells us over and over again in the greatest love story ever told what HE thinks of us. What he did for us out of that love. But so often it seems the world is shouting so much louder………….

· Things we were told about ourselves (even those that weren’t true). My son had a speech delay when he was little and he stuttered. Most people couldn’t understand a word he tried to say & because he couldn’t express himself well he had a number of teacher who wrote him off as stupid. & he believed that. That lie followed him for years – he hated school. Homework was a battle field in our house. He had things he was really good at – football, video games, computers but regular school work wasn’t it for him. Then he started going to Essex Tech and football and found a different way of learning and he did really well and gained a ton of confidence. When he left after high school to attend Masters Commission in Maine he had to deal with the scars that those experiences had left on him. And once he had dealt with it my son started talking. That boy can talk your ear off today – but he’s got years of being silent to make up for because he believes the lie that no one wants to hear what stupid has to say. I’ve noticed something else when he’s preaching to the teens or praying out loud for someone…………there is no hint of a stutter in his speech at all.

· Expectations of others. Growing up I spent a lot of time and energy trying to be what I thought other people wanted me to be. It wasn’t who I was or even who I wanted to be but I took on those identities because I felt it was expected of me. And the result was that I ended up lost and broken and in desperate need of a savior who would love me just the way I am.

· Wrong expectations we place on ourselves (supermom, appearance etc). When Paul and I got married I had this idea in my head that to be the perfect wife you had to keep a “perfect” house and serve the “perfect meals” and do everything else perfectly. Well there was only one problem. I’m not perfect. But I almost drove myself crazy trying to be. Thank God I have a husband who would rather spend time with me than have an immaculate house. One of the few regrets I do have today – is that when my kids were really little I spent so much time cleaning when I could have spent more time playing with them and making messes.

· Expectations thrust on us by the world we live in. You can’t turn on a tv, move a mouse or open a magazine today without being confronted with the world’s idea of the perfect woman. I was watching something on tv the other day and it was showing the actors backstage getting their hair done and their make up on. They were quite ordinary looking. And those cute models………….they are so thin they don’t even look healthy. This idea of perfection is thrust at us from every direction and when we look in the mirror we can only find ourselves lacking, not measuring up, failing.

· Lies of the Enemy from birth. What lies are you believing? Maybe it’s the lie like my son believed – that he wasn’t a good student. Or maybe it’s the lies you were told as a child. For me – it was that my Dad wanted a son when I was born. Now that part was true. My Dad hoped for a son – you know the whole carry on the family name, work on cars, play baseball and basketball, hunt and fish with kind of thing. But what the Enemy did with that was to whisper in my ear my entire life that my Dad loved my brothers more than me. That was just not true and I didn’t really learn what a lie that was until it was almost too late. When my Dad got sick and was dying I experienced the depth of his love for me and recognized that lie for what it was. Now was my Dad perfect – nope. But he loved me the best he could with everything he had.

· This is not an exhaustive list. I’ve only shared a few. These may not be yours but don’t let that stop you from discovering and seeking healing from your own list.

God is inviting you to step out of all these things and be the you that he created....the you that he had in mind when he created you. Let's pursue that instead of the false ideas of who we should be or ought to be. YOU ARE ENOUGH IN EXACTLY THE CONDITION THAT YOU ARE IN. Live life to the fullest and just be you.

  • Lori Somerville

Ephesians 2:10 - 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Identity is defined as:

1. the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions

2. the condition of being oneself

3. Condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is; the qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing:

So why identity? I really believe that God wants to release us as men and women into the fullness that he has for each one of us and in order to do that we are going to have to wrestle our way through that super-annoying question – Who Am I?

If you are like me, your answer to that question likely changes depending on where you are: Work, Home, Church, Out with friends, At the grocery store. I am not saying we are different people at all those places but just look at all the different hats that we : employee, employer, wife, husband, father, mother, caregiver, partner, friend, mentor, mentee, member of God’s family and I’m sure you can think of a ton that I missed.

Why does it matter?

Since plunging into the subject of identity God has been pressing upon me just how important Identity is and what a heart-issue it is. God wants to get to the heart of the matter with each one of us & give us His words which convey His heart to describe ourselves. He wants to set us free from the lies that have kept us tethered to false ideas of who we are or who we should be.

What are the words he wants to give you to describe you? Do you know? Or are you longing to hear them?

God still seeks those whose heart is completely His.

Scripture tells us, 'The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9, NASB).

He’s already in your corner and no matter how scary this search for identity might seem he’s already in it.

Here are a few reasons why Identity matters:

1. We can’t or won’t step into the fullness of all that God has for us if we are not confident in our identity.

2. We will miss opportunities to be used by God and to impact the world around us.

3. He has designed a race that only you can run. If we don't get to the bottom of our identity issues we will never get on the track to walk out our destiny – the one that God planned for us.

4. HE WANTS TO USE YOU. There are lives HE wants to touch only through YOU. Imagine that for a minute. What faces are flashing in front of you?

5. God’s power is in us but if we don’t wrestle through our identity issues it’s like a half-charged battery – adequate but it could do so much more.

6. A life of regret. I don’t know about you but when I get to go home and see Jesus face to face I don’t want to be carrying any regret of the things I could have done, or of being the person I could have been.

Let's get serious about the business of setting ourselves free to become the man or woman of God that he planned for us to be.

What is stopping you?

  • Lori Somerville

In Matthew 8 there is a story about Jesus that struck me the other day. Jesus enters Peter's house and finds Peter's mother-in-law in bed with a fever. Jesus touches her hand and the fever leaves and she gets up and begins to serve Him. (See Matthew 8:14-17). The entire story is only 3 lines long but doesn't this paint a rather amazing picture of what our Christian walk should look like? Jesus touches us and we rise from our "sick beds" and begin to serve him.

The word service gets a bad rap in today's "me first" world. Yet even Jesus made it clear that his purpose in coming to earth was to serve others. Jesus modeled service for us. The Bible tells us that everywhere that Jesus went he served the people around him: he taught them, he fed them, he healed them, he cast out their demons, he encouraged them towards freedom. And then he carried out the greatest act of service of all – when he placed himself on the cross for my sins and yours.

Service is nothing more than love in work clothes.

The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is the greatest love story ever told. It’s the story of a God who created the world with us in mind. Who created a way out when sin entered the world causing us to be separated from him. Who has a plan to reunite us with him. Why? Because he loves us. He chose us. He longs for a relationship with us. Think about that. The God of the universe created the world with us in mind. The God of the universe sent his son to die for our sins. What greater service is there?

In a world that at times feels like it is commitment - phobic there has never been a better opportunity to let our service reflect our love for our families, our churches and our communities. The world we live in today is saturated with words...….everyone has an opinion and feels obligated to share it...….which is why the world needs us as Christians to become a people of less talk and more walk.

We don't need to shout our opinions louder than the next guy …. what the world needs is a demonstration of the love that God has for each person we encounter today...…..through our acts of service.

Matthew 20:25: Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We are called to become great servants. To let the love that God has poured out on us pour out of us into the people around us through our service.

Who are you called to serve today?