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What Culture Doesn't Tell You About Identity

I've gone up one — if not two — pant sizes since my wedding day in May 2016. If I'm being honest, I'm not entirely sure I would even be able to zip up my wedding dress if I tried it on right now. In fact, I went from not being able to fit into my clothes because they were falling off of me in the months leading up to our wedding (because of stress), to not being able to fit into my clothes because they don't fit over my hips a year later.

For most of my life, I've been the tall and skinny girl. At 5'11", my weight's never really caught up to my height. Until now.

My identity was — at least in part — wrapped up in my size. Diana Carter? She's that really tall and really skinny girl who runs a lot. So when part of that description changed, I had a hard time feeling like myself.

You see, the world likes to tell us that our identity is something we create; that life is like a choose-your-own-adventure novel when it comes to who we are, where we end up and what we deserve.

We live in a well-meaning society where phrases like, "Work hard and you'll succeed," or "Make good choices and you'll have a good life," are spoken over us since the day we're born. We are quick to identify ourselves as So-And-So's girlfriend or the youngest member of the Executive Committee — and we have a tendency to place more value on how cute we look in the tunic we got from the Nordstrom Sale than how deeply we're rooted in the truth of who God says we are.

Culture tells us that identities can change; that we can reinvent ourselves after breakups, setbacks or major moves across the country. But what culture forgets to tell us is this:

True identity is both fixed and absolute. True identity is not made, but deemed. True identity does not change.

We can be wives and friends and teachers and entrepreneurs, but none of those things are permanent.

We can be the anxious one or the funny one or the skinny one or the pretty one, but none of those things are lasting.

We can have wealth, health, influence and happiness, but none of those things carry eternal weight.

And all of those things? They can change overnight.

Relationship statuses change.

Jobs change.

Feelings change.

Bodies change.

Health changes.

Finances change.

It's all shifting sand. It's all at risk of being washed away as life's tides come in and out.

But as God's creation, we are loved by Him. Without reservation, without hesitation and without revocation, we are extravagantly loved by God. This is the only thing that will never ever change.

This is the truest thing about us. This is our real identity.

Yet continually, we (this girl included!) look for our worth in things and accolades and job titles and pant sizes. If I am honest? I misplace my identity multiple times a day — and if I'm not careful and if I wade in the detour too much — it can affect my attitude toward others and toward God.

I'll look in the mirror and all but curse the way my skin stretches over my bones. I'll question my beauty or my worth or my value based-off a bi-weekly weigh-in. I'll try on six pairs of shorts that definitely do not fit and I'll tear up as I fold them back into my drawer.

It makes sense doesn't it? The way we feel empty and disappointed when our misplaced identities change. When we put all of our eggs in a basket that was never meant to define us, we're quickly reminded of our need for Christ's resurrection to do the defining.

The solution is as straight-forward as it is hard to execute — let the position we have in Christ define us.

This means being content in who we are because of Whose we are. This means knowing that our size and weight and relationship status and job and health all may change — but our worth will never waver. This means establishing our value as a purchased daughter of the King and never forgetting the depths to which Jesus went just to give you that title.

Culture won't tell you that you're worth anything unless you make a name for yourself. But Jesus? He thinks you're to die for just the way you are.


Have you struggled with putting your identity in earthly things?

Where are some of the places you've misplaced your identity?

What are some practical ways you can practice living out your identity as a daughter of the King?

Love, peace and joy,


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