Don't be alarmed. I'm not having the Identity Crisis. I got over that years ago. After five years of trying to fit in with a certain group of people, marrying one of them and having a child with him, the reality of no longer knowing who I was and furthermore realizing I certainly wasn't being who God called me to be, slapped me in the face with a sting as painful as that of a jellyfish. It hurt me to the very core of my soul. Finding myself again was the hardest mountain I've ever climbed, especially with another soul (my daughter's) along for the journey. I still have a few more outcroppings to scale before I am where I truly want to be. The difference now is God is "on belay."
The Identity Crisis I'm speaking of is scattered throughout the body of Christ. For every four people you hug in church, at least one of them still doesn't know where they belong. They still haven't accepted the fullness of God's love. They still haven't grasped their purpose or the significance thereof, and what's worse, some of us other "body parts" have made them feel like they don't belong. Some of them - some of us - are still wounded, still hurting, or maybe simply still searching for where we belong in the Body of Christ.
If you need a reminder:
1 Corinthians 12:12-26 proclaims:
12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now I must ask, who are you in the body of Christ? Do you know? Are you the head? Do you contribute to the workings of the body? Are you the face - always smiling, always entertaining to make people feel welcome? Are you the mouth - singing in the choir, proclaiming and exhorting? Are you the hands - the doers, the people with the "helps?" There are many parts in the Body of Christ - the legs, the feet, the backbone, the eyes, the ears, maybe even the heart. What body part are you right now?
It's interesting to consider this question. I find myself being different parts at different times. I still believe my biggest role in my church is to be an encourager or cheerleader - that can be many different body parts, if you think about it. But I also have a role in the world, and that's interesting to contemplate as well.
You may be thinking, "Where are you going with this, Danielle?" Where am I going with this? Lately God has really been impressing this idea upon me. If we don't know who we are in the Body of Christ, then how can we ever take root and grow?
Furthermore, how can we grow others? When the scripture says, "22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another." I have to assert that most members of the Body of Christ have it completely backwards. We honor our leaders, bestowing all kinds of praise and graciousnesson them, and yet we forget to care for "the little guys," or the "least of these." I know way too many people who have left the church because they said to themselves, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body." Just as my hands must take care of my feet because they can't really rub lotion on themselves, the church must do a better job at taking care of all body parts.
As I said before, there are those of us who are still wounded, there are those of us who are still hurting and still searching. We need to know who we are. We need to know our purpose. We need to heal the wounds of our past to step into this purpose - to help root and ground those who are still searching.
I am reminded of the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Jesus spoke:
3 "Behold, the sower went out to sow; 4 and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. 8 And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear."
When a person knows not who they are, where they belong, what their purpose is and what they should do, they tend to be a seed or a spore that floats on the breeze and never takes root. This seed can be eaten by birds, scorched by the sun and overcome by thorns. I know, because I am one whose life story can attest to all three. But I can also give Glory to God for allowing me to finally find good soil and begin to yield a crop.
Who are you in the Body of Christ? If you don't know, truly give it some thought. Are you the arms always ready to hug? Are you the smile which always brightens someone's day? Are you a foot which serves as a foundation for others? What has God brought you through? How does this reveal your life's purpose?
Perhaps you can see those around you who are floundering to take root. Perhaps you are the mouth which has a word for them which will help them to finally stand in one place. Perhaps you are the hands to help secure them in the earth, the heart of love which can nurture them, or again, the eyes who can see, and help them to see who they are in the Body of Christ.
We must know who we are. We must know our purpose. We must know our strengths and be able to at least acknowledge our weaknesses if we are ever to truly advance the Kingdom of God. We must relinquish the fear which keeps us from facing our pasts and healing them. We must shrug off whatever it is which keeps us from carrying out our purpose.
God has been waiting for you.
I guarantee, someone else is waiting for you, too.