With the new year, I’ve noticed many of those around me establishing new resolutions. They come into the office with a smile on their face and an enthusiasm for their new initiative.
Although the cynical side of me knows it’s only a matter of time before the initiative will likely fall by the wayside – I understand this is just how we are as humans. We love to be inspired. We love to have something new to focus our lives around. Even if it is for a brief moment, this process gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
I have to admit that seeing so many others move forward with drive and enthusiasm has even caused me to step back a little and think to myself, “Who am I going to become this year?”.
I realize now more than ever that my identity is defined by things I didn’t necessarily select purposefully. For instance, if someone asked me about myself I would likely first describe what I do for a living, and that I live in Raleigh. Neither of these I intentionally set out to define me – and yet they are what I would answer with if someone asked.
I also find myself slightly jealous of the hobbies and unique activities some people do on a regular basis. I work with people who do improv comedy, run marathons, and even burlesque. These colorful additions make them unique, and have in a way shaped who they are.
So – who will I decide to be this year? What will define me?
I’m inspired by Paul. He started as a hater of Christianity, and then was given a new identity from God. He was given a new name. He completely changed directions. One minute he was killing Christians, the next minute and for the rest of his life he proclaimed Christ to Gentiles and Jews through encouragement and love.
What’s more – his change was not temporary. It was a beautiful progression. As he understood God more, he became more humbled. As he shared the gospel, he realized the specific calling God had for his life: to share the gospel with the Gentiles.
After comparing his life with the many times I’ve attempted to identify my own identity – I can clearly see that the only lasting identity is to be found in Christ.
In Christ – I have a clear calling. To love. To serve. To praise.
Praise God that he not only forgives me but doesn’t stop there. He gives me purpose. He promises an everlasting identity. Where I fall short – he picks up the slack. I am so thankful for a God that not only forgives but then gives me a path for the rest of my life. That is amazing grace. That is an amazing God.