Anxiety, especially now, can make us question our identity. It can be induced by stress and manifested in exhaustion. We do what we can to cover it – but does our outward appearance match our inward truth? A tough question to ask ourselves, but the fruit in our lives answers for us daily. What happens when we keep coming up against the ‘norm’ that is around us and old habits and mindsets within us? When we seem to be trapped, pushing against doors that just will not open, yet through whose windows we see an abundant land where people live free and real? To unlock these doors we need a key and that key is our true identity in Christ.
We know that our true identity in Christ is as sons and daughters of God. Picture this identity as a key which gives us profound authority to unlock traps. These traps are keeping us from a vibrant relationship with God. This key is so simple, but the traps seem very real to us and their doors look so impenetrable. The old enemies of our past history, tradition and various faulty belief systems loom before our eyes, interfering with the truth. The difference between the traps that hold us back, and the truth, is that the truth is good news. This good news is meant to direct our lives. Jesus came to open the way to abundant life. I found I needed to connect with this truth, as the fruit of my life was stress, exhaustion and anxiety.
In this process, I discovered five particular life-stealing traps and how to unlock them with five life-changing biblical truths about who I am in Christ. In so doing, my true identity began to release my freedom. I was learning to use the ‘identity key’.
Coming to truly understand what our inheritance as a child of God entails, and why we are the way we are, sounds simple but in reality, takes time and conscious effort. At first, for example, I found it counter-intuitive to use the simple method of stepping back from a difficult situation, into Christ. I liked to ‘sort’ the situation, but over time I have learned to let go and step back to hear God for His solution first. As He is the creator of all solutions, this has worked well!
A rather more serious issue I had was with performance. This mindset trap eventually led me to complete exhaustion. Two key factors formed my mindset. Firstly, a constant necessity to ‘always be ready’. As an army child and then army wife, the grand total of house moves in the first fifty years of my life was thirty, none of them my family home until the final one. Secondly, I was taught to always be aware of what needed doing; a great gift but also a significant habit to break in order to rest fully. ‘Oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ were clear signs of my performance mindset and people-pleasing. The underlying fear became a persistent taskmaster. To break out of the ‘oughtery’ of my thinking, I had to face tough choices in the light of my true identity, and carry them through.
In developing our relationship with God, we can get to know who God really is, and start to see who He says we are. His truth must be allowed to permeate our hearts, because not all of us have grown up fully understanding the true value God puts upon each one of us. Freedom and living in the truth start to become reality in our lives as we search the Scriptures for ourselves. To really break through we need to know which traps we are dealing with. Then, we can then unlock them with spiritual truths and fully claim the inheritance waiting for us.
On my journey I have come to understand how uniquely our true identity in Christ is expressed in each of us, and the individuality of the traps that hold us captive. Grasping this is essential to realising our full potential and unique role in the body of Christ. Who doesn’t want a unique role! We need to develop a backbone, supported by a strong core, one that withstands the forces that come against us, not crumbling beneath the pressure.
The five life-stealing mindsets I discovered hindered me from establishing a secure and more consistent, vibrant relationship with God. They each need to be replaced by a biblical truth. These, I encourage you to consider. The first, performance, is a recognised hindrance to peace. Its root is a deep lack of the sense of being accepted for who we are. The second, punishment, is in direct conflict to godly discipline. Mainly rooted in the need to uphold an institution, or our reputation, it damages, whereas godly discipline builds up character. This mindset traps us in fear. Duty, the third, is replaced by love, letting our heart be motivated to serve in everything that we do. Fourthly religion, when it becomes tradition, works to prove our worth, and the dry bones of structure, saps all grace from the gospel. The gift of grace overcomes a religious mindset. Finally, unbelief is a mindset that keeps us travelling round and round the roundabout, forever making decisions and then changing them. Not quite believing that God has given direction, or spoken. Faith, its replacement, acts consistently and firmly. In fact, we live by faith. These particular traps are prevalent amongst people both outside and inside the Church.
I moved to a place of abundance and opportunity and a secure, consistent, relationship with God. I decided to share my insights in my book, The Identity Key. I have described the effects of the traps and what happens when we apply the truth. Through my vulnerable and relevant stories, my testimony points to God’s grace and redemption. Reflection, activation and questions enable my readers to examine their own journey and identity in Christ. I would love you to look it up.
This is the second book in a series called Equipping Unexpected Warriors. The Posture Principle (Book 1), a meditative book,draws the readers to fix their attention on who God is, through twelve biblical principles laid out as vertebrae in a spine. The third and final book in the series will be called Freedom. In it, I will continue the analogy of vertebrae that extends throughout the series, describing how our true identity makes way for our calling in life. Each book can also stand alone.
15th November 2020