About a month ago, I was looking at YouTube videos posted by Cornelius and Heather Lindsey. If you don’t know who they are, they are a dynamic couple who pastor the Gathering Oasis Church in Atlanta. I became acquainted with Heather Lindsey via Instagram where her posts relate to her life and Pinky Promise:a non profit organization Heather started that encourages women to grow up in God, practice purposeful courtship all while being committed to purity (yes that means no sex before marriage ☺) Although I mostly watch Heather’s videos, that day I decided to look up topics on her husband’s channel and was immediately drawn to the video entitled: Purpose vs. Identity.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve long struggled with identifying the difference between the two. In today’s society, it’s very easy to associate your worth and ascribe value to temporary things such as: where you work, how much money you earn, the type of clothes you wear, whether or not your married and or have children, how many followers you have on social media (hello somebody), and a myriad of other things we measure ourselves by. In the video, Cornelius makes it very clear that purpose is birthed out of identity; whatever you do vocationally be it teach, fight fires, own a business etc. all come from who you are in Christ and who He is in you. To expound on that, let me be clear in saying that your identity comes from God and God alone. Identity is inherent, unchanging and tells you how valuable you are and who you belong to.
Let’s go back to the idea that purpose is birthed out of identity. I’d venture to say that if you haven’t fully grasped who you are in Christ (your identity) it might make it hard to locate or be confident in your purpose (what you do). Personally, I had to learn that my identity comes from the understanding that I am a daughter of God. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced some major traumas that include: sexual molestation, feelings of unworthiness and rejection, my parents divorce, depression, my father’s drug addiction, and long bouts of unemployment. Throughout those moments, I had to constantly immerse myself in Gods word to see what He had to say about me. In studying scripture I found truths to combat every lie of the enemy in my life; how I’m the head and not the tail, above only and never beneath, that He gives beauty for ashes, is a restorer and the lifter of my bowed down head, He’s adopted me into his family, knew and predestined me before I was in my mother’s womb, provides all my needs according to His riches and glory and on and on. My purpose is ever evolving: I know that I am called to minister to young women, operate in my creative gifts, run successful businesses, and raise a dynamic God-fearing family alongside my future husband (where he at though?) However, if I never accomplish any of those things I would still have worth and great value because of who I am in Christ. Purpose may change and evolve but identity is a constant in our lives.
What are some of the areas in your life where you’ve confused purpose and identity? I encourage you to spend time in the presence of God and in His word so you can fortify who you are in Him and make the clear distinction between what you do and whose you are.
Here is the link to the video by Cornelius Lindsey referenced in this article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CDtkMlYq_0
Ashley Hardwick is a Jesus Loving, bargain shopping, food obsessed young woman from the Southwest with an unending sense of wanderlust and hearty appetite for life and all it’s beautiful moments.