What is Identity?
1. The individual characteristics by which a person is recognized.
2. The condition of being oneself and not another.
3. The state of remaining the same, as under varying aspects or conditions.
So there you have it. Your identity must know WHO it is, that it is YOU and not another, and must remain itself in any situation.
Adapt: Make something suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly.
I, by nature, am an adapter. To some extent, all of us are born with the ability to adapt. In nature, it's necessary for survival - and in our social environments, it's necessary for peace. If we're in a healthy environment, adaptation isn't that harmful. But some of us have childhoods that force us to take on the nature of an extreme adapter in order to avoid conflict. And all of us are living in a world that wants to force us to adapt to it, and ultimately, to re-define our identity.
When we don't know our God-given identity in the first place, identity changes go unnoticed, or just seem reasonable.
And when YOU don't know who God made YOU to look like, to be, and to act, you'll chase alternate identities for the sake of being at peace & avoiding conflict with the world around you.
Identity Crisis: Confusion of goals and priorities. Personal internal conflict that involves confusion about one's role & a sense of loss of continuity to one's personality.
The last four days I've been in Los Angeles. Prior to that, I've been traveling the country in a car, living out of a duffle bag for 4 months, wearing the same pair of shoes every single day, and barely doing my hair and makeup. I've been staying with simple people, learning to live on a non-existant budget, and I've gone shopping twice in 6 months.
Recently, my life has been flooded with girls and women who don't know who they are anymore, who have been destroyed by our sex-saturated culture, whose boyfriends are addicted to porn, and who are stuck in jobs, relationships, and emotional messes that they hate.
96 hours in LA, and my heart ACHED. The city you live in and the television you watch are selling you sex, money & a lifestyle you won't ever get. I'm used to that. But here in LA, it's on steroids. Even billboards for bail bonds are dripping in sex and half dressed women with bodies I'll never have. I didn't realize what I'd become numb to until I saw it in its extreme.
Every billboard seemed to scream at me, "You will never be sexy enough, you will never attractive enough, you will never have enough money - I will sell you this lifestyle if it's the last thing I do." It's convincing, but what Hollywood doesn't know is that I'm driving home to my inbox full of women who have been destroyed by the lifestyle that those billboards and reality TV shows have been selling.
And I cannot bear it's weight.
I'm not buying into it, but my heart is pulled to the very thing that threatens its life.
So I called Christen almost in tears, and asked her to help me sort out my heart.
"It's conviction. You see the lie, and your heart is sensitive to it. You've always been sensitive to this. Pay attention to it. Don't ever cope with conviction. Don't ever quiet it. Don't ever tell yourself to learn to deal with it because the entire city is, or your friends are. Don't judge those who have bought into it, but don't adapt to them either."
What is coping? What is acting on conviction? How do you stay and keep your heart from hurting?
"Everywhere you go, you MUST acknowledge what is there. And then you ask yourself, 'Who is Lauren, and who is she here?' "
Identity crisis. The Lauren that LA is trying to sell me is one who should have miraculously found a way to hit the gym every day while traveling across the country, and who should have put more money for clothes into her budget. The Lauren that LA is trying to sell me is one that makes her work to death for the money. It tells me that no matter what my identity is in Christ, all men will always choose a sexy woman's body over my heart. The world tells me that my character and love and intelligence and sweetness and heart will never match up to the larger than life woman who drips sex 24/7, a hundred feet above traffic.
Traffic composed of men and women who have traded their God-given identities for the sake of avoiding conflict with the world around them.
Traffic composed of girls who wake up hating their skin, their faces, their hair, their stomach, and their legs - and go to bed every night thinking about it.
I know, because I've been there. And these last 5 months have been some of the only months of my life that I haven't found disappointment in the mirror every single morning. But it came back this week. And to cope, I want new makeup, better fitting jeans, some heels that show off my legs, and have had no problem skipping meals.
96 hours of competition, and it's more than my heart can bear. Partially because I cannot win on those terms, but primarily because it's too painful for my heart to let go of who God has told me I am. I can feel something grasping and grabbing wildly for my heart. And I don't want to give it over.
I want to do something we women never do, and brag on myself: I LOVE WHO GOD MADE ME.
I LOVE my identity. The one God gave me.
I love that I always want to stand up for the defenseless.
I love that I see beautiful things in everything.
I love that I have flaws, because it makes me love the man who loves me in spite of them EVEN MORE.
I love that I get more excited over reading the book of Luke than any pop culture magazine.
I love that I want to hug everyone.
I love that I am beautiful to God.
I love that I see my friends as family.
I love that my heart rips open when I see girls in pain.
I love that all my mistakes are paid for by Grace.
I love that some days I know exactly what I'm doing & other days I haven't a clue.
I love so many things about myself.
I adore the Name that God has given me.
And when the world asks me to adapt - to change, modify, or take on other versions of myself in order to avoid conflict or to be accepted, I will now always ask myself:
Who is Lauren? And who does SHE want to be HERE?
Isaiah 43:1-7 might be the greatest part of the Bible when it comes to your identity: "Do not fear, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned. For I am the Lord your God - your Savior; I give all of creation for your ransom."
The word for "name" is not talking about your first, middle & last name. It's the word for your core. Your heart. Your soul. The deepest part of you that makes you unique. What makes up you. He has called you by THAT. And when you, the you that God created you as, walk through life - you will be untouchable. Because he has handed over the entire world for the sake of ransoming and redeeming the real you, for Himself. And he will fight for that you.