I’m saying goodbye to the role of being a cheer coach. If you know me, you know that cheerleading has been a big part of my life for a long time. Saying goodbye is bittersweet. But as I step away, I can’t help but think back to my days of when I was a cheerleader, and my identity.
You see, back in high school, I was way too guilty of placing my identity in cheerleading. I wasn’t your stereotypical cheerleader by any means, but still, I wrapped up much of who I was in being under the Friday night lights and hitting the mat on Saturdays. In college, the Lord began to reveal this identity crisis to me, and He’s been working on me ever since.
I think it’s easy to look back on our teen years and see our identity crisis, but now that I’m an adult, I’m learning that the identity struggle isn’t just for teenagers. We can misplace our identity too when we believe that what we do is who we are. But that’s just not true, nor is it wise.
If what we do is who we are, then what happens when what we do changes? What happens when God calls us to something else? What happens when that season of life ends?
There are many things that we can place our identities in- motherhood, singleness, wife, career woman, stay at home mom, athlete, student, etc. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, so what’s so wrong with placing our identity in them? Ultimately, the problem is that these things are fleeting, and that when we place our identity in these things, we’re idolizing them above the only one who deserves our identities- Christ.
Let’s walk through some of these examples… While I will always be my boys’ mom, they won’t always need like they do now. If I place everything that I am into motherhood, my world will be rocked when they go to college. If you’re identity is in your relationship status, whether single or married, then you’re putting your hope in something that will fail you. If I look to my husband to satisfy and love me in a way that only Christ can, I’m going to be disappointed every time. As wonderful as he is, he’s a sinner just like I am, and only Christ can complete me, not him. If you place your identity in your career, what happens if you lose your job? If I place my identity into being a SAHM, what happens on those days where I lose it and my house is a wreck? I’ll probably go to bed full of Mom-guilt and condemnation; neither of which is from the Lord. Ask the athletes who have experienced career-ending injuries; I’m sure that they would tell you to love your sport and to work hard at it, but to also know that there’s more to life. And to the one who is placing their identity in their good grades, what happens when you are no longer a student? Or when you experience failure? Will you still feel valuable?
Friends, if you are in Christ, then the only identity you should truly have is this- Jesus Follower.
Being a Jesus Follower is the only identity that will never change and will never fail you. Once you are in Christ, you are always in Christ. You are His forever. This identity brings freedom, not pressure. This identity brings life, not the stresses of this world. This identity brings peace, because we rest in the One who has overcome the world.
Because this is what being a Jesus Follower means… It means that when the Father looks at you, He sees you clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. So, when you have an off day, repent (if needed), but know that the Father has cast your sin as far as the east is from the west. It also means that you’re adopted and you have all of the benefits of being a child of the King. So, when one of your earthly roles has failed you, we have the freedom and ability to run to our Great High Priest, and He’s there waiting with open arms. Being a Jesus Follower also means that you’re loved more than you know by the God who created everything.
And then, being a Jesus Follower gives us purpose in all of our other earthly roles, and it puts them in their proper place. Because you’re a Jesus Follower, you should want to do whatever He has called you to well, whether that be sweeping floors or being a CEO, because you know that you’re ultimately working for the Lord, not for men. Because you’re a Jesus follower, you’ll also know that there’s just as much worth and value in being single as there is in being married. When your identity is in Christ, you’re not looking to the right or the left, comparing your call to someone else’s, because your eyes are on the One doing the calling. You trust Him and know that all callings are for the good of the Kingdom. You’re a Jesus Follower, so you know that He sees you as valuable and dearly loved, whether you’ve spent your day in meetings or whether you’ve spent your day explaining to your toddler why the sky is blue.
There’s so many pressures and opinions out there about what you should do, or not do, and what age you should do it at, etc. Stop letting the world dictate who you are and let Christ dictate who you are. Whether you’re a mom, waiting to be a mom, single, the “new girl” in a workplace, or running the company, none of that is really who you are. You are a daughter of the King. You are saved. You are dearly loved. You are a Jesus Follower.
So with that, let’s close with these words from Paul, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called to” (Ephesians 4:1, ESV).
Walk worthy today, friends, proudly bearing and resting in the identity that Christ has called you to- His.