“The best thing you can be in Christ is yourself.”
This was the advice I got from a 77-year-old woman, which is one of the best things she’s ever said to me. Its one of the key facets we have in this new life as a Christian: Identity. I struggled with that for a while during my walk with Christ and it took for me to hit rock bottom in who I wasn’t, to gradually find out and embrace who I was.
For more than half my life I lived it “unknown”. Unknowing of myself, what I liked, what I hated, what I had a heart for and most definitely what my purpose in life was. I didn’t know who I was because I didn’t have a relationship with the One who created me. Lost is an understatement; I was truly living life aimlessly. Trying my best, but aimless nonetheless.
Everything I liked was a product of what everyone else was in to. If my friends loved this music or tv show, I did too. If my boyfriend loved this sports team or hobby, so did I. I even claimed my favorite color as purple up until I was an adult, just because everyone else loved it! (By the way, its pink, hence the website) Life unidentified is hard. I get it, I was that and if you are reading this and relate, know that there is purpose and identity reserved specifically for you. Waiting for you to discover it like the true gold you are. However, I would be remissed to tell you that you can find that in anyway other than Jesus. That’s where it is… and that’s where it will always be.
13 For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well.… (Psalm 139:13)
I noticed that even after the fact that I was following Christ, that it was still natural to want to confine or adapt to what I saw around me or what I admired in my favorite spiritual leaders. I even noticed the pressure as well. If you’re not focused on pursuing your purpose in Jesus it’s very possible that you might look around and see the sureness of identity in others and imitate that. I had to, and still have to make a conscious decision to not be a carbon copy of what is already made. In the way I pray, write, dress, act and even how I live life, I have to be careful to stay true to who I am in Christ. To know what I’m called to and what I’m not called to. I’m not meant to be clone of any kind, but to be fearfully and wonderfully made.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Ever since I left a lifestyle of adapting to what everyone around me was and grew into who Jessica was becoming it inspired me when I saw others do the same. Others who are unashamed of their faith and completely and authentically who they were made to be, and how they are supposed to be. Their uniqueness grabs your attention, but it doesn’t draw you to themselves, but the main purpose. This is what believers do, and I like call it this the Flo Jo effect.
The Flo Jo Effect
I found myself really inspired by the USA Olympic Track star, Flo Jo. Not because of the big internet craze of Beyoncé dressing like her for Halloween, I always thought Flo Jo’s individuality was cool, different, and authentically her. She was the fastest female track star in her time and to this day still holds the world record for the 100 m and 200 m she set back in 1988. When you saw her compete you definitely noticed her gift but also how she stood out from the rest. Flo Jo was confident. Her 6 inch painted nails, long hair and custom designed track suits let us all know she was no ordinary woman. It wasn’t a “look at me” type of thing but her just being herself. It is my belief that this didn’t happen by chance, but because she knew who she was, what she carried inside and that effected the way she stood out among others on the track.
These are three tips we can learn from her as a metaphor for embracing our Identity in Christ:
Be diligent in your gifts- Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. Excellence doesn’t mean perfection, but giving it your best shot, every single time.
Be Yourself- The body of Christ and its diversity has always been appealing to me. Since the gospel is for every nation, tribe, and tongue, why would we think that we wouldn’t look like it either? There is no one way of what believers look like. Not everyone looks, talks or acts the same. If we did, we would be a cult. However, with that scripture it lets me know that diversity is not just a part of our faith, but it is very much embraced. Not everyone worships to Contemporary songs, has church in a house or preaches to the tunes of a Hammond b3 organ. But if we are holding fast to the essential parts and teachings of the gospel then we’ll be in good shape as a body.
Keep the main thing, the main thing- Flo Jo was flashy, well known and incredibly fast. But one thing you couldn’t say about her is that she didn’t play her sport well. She won two world records and held 3 gold medals all while having 6 inch tri-colored nails and an unconventional body suit. This shows us that at the end of the day, identity doesn’t trump the purpose of what you’re here for. Whether you are a believer in Hollywood, government, fashion, entertainment, or unique in your own way locally, be all you can be and look great doing it, but by all means, keep the main thing the main thing.
Until Next Time,