During the summer, when I was a kid, my cousin and I would “play school.” We’d take turns—often arguing which one of us would be the student and which would be the teacher. We’d make up our own classroom rules, worksheets, and even dress up accordingly.
The best part was we could pick a new name; have a new identity.
Sometimes I’d purposefully get into trouble with my eleven-year-old cousin/teacher, just so I could see her write T-A-W-N-Y on the poster board that served as our classroom chalkboard. It was the most beautiful sounding name I’d ever heard.
I got that name from a waitress at our local Pizza Hut circa 1980. She was everything I wanted to grow up to be–smart, pretty, kind, and very generous when it mattered most, like when it was time to refill soda glasses.
My new identity made me feel smart, pretty, brave, special—like I could do anything!
But when imaginary school was over, I had to go back into the real world. No matter how much I wanted it to be so, I just couldn’t be Tawny. The world simply wouldn’t let me.
As I grew older, playing games like pretend school weren’t as much fun. The real Tawny moved away, and I continued to listen to the world tell me I wasn’t all that smart, not that pretty, way too skinny and tall, scared to death of just about everything–couldn’t do much of anything.
I believed the world.
That helped contribute to a life of fear and anxiety, defeat, and self-deprecation. Even though I knew God and His love for me, there was a disconnect. I didn’t link His love for me with my real worth and true identity until well into my adulthood.
I understood who He was and that I was His child, but I had no concept of what that meant for me, aside from spending eternity with Him.
I didn’t understand that by knowing my identity in Him I would be able to distinguish between fact and fiction, truth and untruth. I didn’t know that it could give me power over the lies of a dark world.
Have you been trying to find your identity in the world?
I saw my worth–or the lack thereof–in the world, instead of looking for who He says I am within the pages of His Word. And, honestly, I still do that sometimes.
I just forget.
I get wrapped up in all the chaos that goes on in my tiny world. Before I know it, my head is filled with wrong messages, lies, and negative self-talk that I’d be embarrassed to share with you. Oh, the things I’ve said to myself and called myself–the names I’ve given myself throughout my life and even this week!
So just in case I’m not the only one, here are 10 verses that have helped me not only realize my true identity but have served as reminders when the world gets the best of me and I forget the truth.
When someone has called me names, when I’ve given myself an ugly name or two or three, and when I find myself wishing my name was something else–these verses recenter me. They’ve been a comfort in times of heartache, given me courage on scary days, and revealed to me the affectionate and beautiful names my Father calls me.
It’s my prayer that if you’ve also had a rough go of things lately and have found yourself discouraged and listening to the lies of the enemy that these verses will encourage you and remind you of your real identity–who He knows you to be–who you really are in Him.
Because that, my friend, is all that really matters.
He Calls You:
Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].
I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father.
This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe. There is no distinction, since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified as a gift by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation by His blood through faith…
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head.
On the day I called, You answered me; And You made me bold and confident with [renewed] strength in my life.
Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken [slip, fall, fail].
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
The Lord is my strength and my [impenetrable] shield; My heart trusts [with unwavering confidence] in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].
Ahhhh, that’s better.
Find some extra encouragement HERE.
-This post is adapted from the previously published article, 10 Love-Filled Names Jesus Has for You.
Amplified Version of Scripture used for added clarity.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.