I find myself asking this question sometimes. I especially found myself asking this question back in November 2010. I was looking for work and my plans seemed to be crumbling around me. I had this idea of what my life was going to look like and what I was going to do. My plans were very neat and tidy. Almost quaint. But the reality didn’t match up to this image.
My problem was identity.
My identity was in Christ, but my flesh was battling with this.I would speak to myself. It would go something like this…
Flesh; “I know my identity is in Christ, but…”
Heart; “Why do you say ‘but?'”
Flesh; “But? Well because I’m not really doing anything!”
Heart; “Your identity isn’t in what you can do you div!”
Flesh; “yeah I know, but…”
Heart; “There you go with your but you big butt head. Wise up.”
You might think I have started to go a bit crazy but that’s a real battle between what I know is true and what I sometimes feel. My problem was (and is) that I saw my identity in my worth and in my situation. But my identity is in Jesus. And when that reality is understood and lived out more and more the gospel will shape my life more and more.
Take the example of Jesus. He knew his identity was no separate from that of the Father. That’s why he prayed and lived a life of complete dependence on his Father.
Jesus was connected to his Father through prayer. He would often retreat to spend time with the Father. John 5:19 says, ‘So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.”
Jesus later says in verse 30, “I can do nothing on my own.”
Paul Miller in his book ‘A Praying Life’ says this of Jesus’ identity and prayer life.
“Jesus defines himself only in relationship with his heavenly Father. Adam and Eve began their quest for self-identity after the Fall. Only after they acted independently of God did they have a sense of a separate self. Because Jesus has no separate sense of self, he has no identity crisis, no angst. Consequently, he doesn’t try to “find himself.” He knows himself only in relationship with his Father.”
And because we are united with Christ (Romans 6) that is our story. We have no need to “find ourselves.” We are joined with the living God through a real relationship.
There is a real link between our identity and our prayer life. Spend time realising that you are secure in Christ, and then you will start to enjoy Him more.