Josh Hossler | 03/02/2020
I think everyone struggles with identity at some level. Who am I? Who am I created to be? What is my significance and purpose?
These are huge questions, and I believe God has wired us to seek the answers for these. Identity is one of the fundamental questions of life. It’s so important because once we know who we are, we seem to know how to live. Our actions flow out of our identity. That’s why when we don’t know who we are, we struggle to find meaning, purpose, and direction.
This past year, I read James Cleary’s book Atomic Habits. In it, he makes the same argument. He says most goal setting doesn’t work because we haven’t addressed the identity question first. He says…
In early 2019, I took some of his advice, coupled it with my Christian faith, and wrote out a few identity statements about myself as a pastor. It can be easy to get discouraged and see who you’re not instead of who you are. I wanted to drill down and cement what God says about me in my heart and mind.
Some of these statements I wrote are already true, some are not (or not to the degree I want them to be). What happens though is as we tell ourselves a story about who we are, that story begins to take shape in our lives. We tend to live up to (or down to) the narrative we’re telling ourselves (or allowing others to tell us) about who we are.
We live in a time and culture where there’s a lot of “noise” and many “voices” trying to tell us who we are and who we are not. “I can’t _________.” “I’m not_____________.” I know I’m not alone in this. These messages may be coming from people, thoughts, past experiences, and even fears about the future. Whatever they are and wherever they’re coming from they are real, but they do not have the last word. Just because I hear them does not mean they are true.
I believe its essential for us to find our identity in a different source than the cocopahny of voices and noises all around us. I believe our identity needs to come from God. I believe the Maker knows why we were made.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
So, I have been declaring several statements over my life as a way of reclaiming part of my identity as a pastor, expressing the hope I have in the work He is doing in and through me. I actually have these posted on a whiteboard in my office as a daily reminder.
I would challenge you to do the same thing…
Here are the eight “I Am” statements I’m declaring as part of my identity and allowing, by God’s grace, for them to shape me.
What I have found is that as I’ve been focusing on these over this past year, making them consistent prayers in my life, I have seen God help them become more a reality in my life. This is who I am! I’m claiming my identity in Christ, and watching my life shaped and molded to that identity. This in turn affects how I live and what I do.
I want to challenge you to do the same thing in some area of your life and watch what God does.
“I am a wife who…” “I am a dad who…” “I am a student who…” I think as you begin to drill down on the question “who am I” and especially the question “who does God say that I am”, you will begin to become the kind of person God made you to be.
What about you? Who are you? No, who are you REALLY? Who does GOD say you are? Who do you declare by FAITH you are? What are your I AM statements?
Josh Hossler | Lead PastorJosh is the founding and Lead Pastor of Evident Church. He is passionate about helping people find their purpose and follow Jesus. Josh enjoys his family, preaching, leadership, writing, and is also is an adjunct professor of philosophy at Rochester University in Rochester Hills, MI. He and his wife Raelyn, have three daughters, AvaRae, AdaLyn, and AnaBel.
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