New Dare Journey Dare #2: Identity

How do we have such a healthy identity in Christ that we’re able to respect ourselves? And teach our daughters to do the same?

One of the things we’re going to talk a lot about in this journey (where we started here) is our relationship with ourselves. I know that sounds a little weird, “relationship with myself?” Do I mean talking to myself?

And answering?

Actually, yes, but not in the out-loud- crazy-lock-me-up-style way.

Every time we experience anything, particularly within relationship, we tell ourselves a little story or make an evaluation. Usually these evaluations are about who we are – and they are often based on mis-perception.

You know what I mean, you’re at the mall, picking up a few things to wear with a friend, and you see a group of girls on the other side of the aisle, walking and laughing.

And you think you saw a few of them look at you and your friend.

What goes through your head? Bet it isn’t, “Oh, they’re probably just looking at the store I just walked by,” or “They were probably looking at the cute guy in front of us.” More likely, it’s something like, “Are they laughing at me? My friend? The two of us together?”

And you can see how easy it is for our thoughts to begin to run away with us. And then we’re not respecting ourselves – from that very first thought.

One of the biggest mistakes we women of all ages make is wrapping our identity up in the opinions of the people around us. We see it all the time – moms living vicariously through their kids, wives idolizing marriage or their husband, kids looking to their parents or friends to define who they are, or maybe work or position contributes to our perception of who we are.

When I wrap up my identity in how God(4)
We are actually wired from birth as newborns to look to mom first for how we fit into the world – babies will seek out faces over any other object right away. Mom communicates whether we are worthy of attention by smiling, making eye contact, attending to needs; or she communicates a lack of worth by neglect, or worse, abuse. We grow up looking to others for our identity. We look to others for acceptable social behavior and we often copy that. We strive to be in the popular crowd at school, in the neighborhood, where we work, etc.

Research shows that our surroundings and our friends have more influence on us than we are aware of. Want to lose weight? Hang out with skinny people (unless they’re skinny over-eaters). Want to be more fit? Yep, befriend a few joggers in the neighborhood. It works the other way, too – want to get off meth? Move away from your drug dealing friends.

Don’t you think this social friend influence shows up worst and first in junior high? *insert eye roll* You know what I mean – the “in crowd” deciding what is cool and what’s not. When we stand back as adults and look at some of the things that were so “necessary” when we were that age… it is ridiculous. The most popular girl at my school had our entire class rolling their lips into a funny position and saying, “Moi!” – then one day, she decided it was over, and you became “so last week” if you were caught doing it.

Deep within us is a God-given desire to feel accepted, loved, important. The world fills us with false notions of how to make those feelings happen. Most women wrap their identity up in what boys and their friends think of them.

Yes, He wired us to crave something, but that something isn’t food and it isn’t men. It’s Him.

We are supposed to focus on what GOD thinks of us, dwelling on how He sacrificed His Son to pay the price for our sin. Who loves like that?

No one loves like that.

Except Him.

Who in your life would you die for? If you are a mom, that’s an easy answer.

If you’re not a mom, can you think of someone you love enough to die for? Who is it?

Would you die for a stranger?

Would you do it for people who hated you at the time?

Jesus did.

God’s plan of relationship with us involved putting His own Son, Who was also Himself, Son and God in one, along with the Holy Spirit, on the cross, to suffer and die, making the payment for our sins. Before He did it, however, He asked His Dad, God, if there could be another way… and we know there wasn’t.

Would you sacrifice the one you loved most in the most painful way imaginable to save the world – even if it was your own child, and he asked you not to?

Man. As a parent, I just can’t even imagine.

And I wonder what God thinks when instead of seeking more of Him, we waste all this time trying to be “cool” and wrap our identity up in what other people think of us, when He did this HUGE THING with His Son to help us be in The. Most. Amazing. Relationship.

Ever.

To the extent that we “get it” – that’s the depth of our relationship with Him. And the coolest thing ever is simply this: there’s always more to Him. You cannot ever get bored with God, once you know Him. And you can always grow deeper.

That’s the point of this life – to learn to love Him, and as a result, His people.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like you get it yet. Most people start off knowing “about” God instead of truly knowing Him. Like any relationship, however, the more time you spend with Him, the more you share who you are with Him, the more you listen to Him, the more you know Him. Add to that worship and praise, and you’ve got yourself a relationship that’s a romance like no other.

And it’s okay if you don’t get it yet.

I’m here to help with that.

It takes a while.

The following is from my blog post entitled, “Who Am I?” at NinaRoesner.com. Very simply, it’s a number of verses that help us discern identity in the way God wants us to understand that He is the One Who defines us – not anyone else.

Here’s an excerpt (and I really recommend chewing and journaling on each Truth as you work through them, thinking in terms of “what does this mean to me, personally?”):

God wants to talk to me any time I want to talk to Him, and I can approach Him with confidence because of Jesus. Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

No one can judge or condemn me. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

God has a plan for good things for me, regardless of what I am going through right now. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

God has a plan for me, and listens to me, and allows me to find Him when I look for Him. Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

I am made in God’s own image, and a joint heir with Christ. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Galatians 4:6-7 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I am a saint. Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:
I am righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Through Jesus, my work will have a lasting effect. John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

I am made new and am a reconciler and ambassador for God and His people. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

What About You?

Will you join me in prayer?

Dear God, Your Word tells me that I am worth a great price, and have been purchased with Your own Son. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” God, thank You for making me. Help me understand the depth and width of that. Help me understand what it means to be worth so much to You that if I were the only person on the planet, You would still have sent Christ just for me.
Help me remember that I am pursued, sought after, precious, honored, loved, wooed and worthy of nations by You. Lord, You are the Lover of my soul, the One who knows me, who created me, the One who formed me. Isaiah 43:1, 4 (NIV) But now, this is what the LORD says — He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine … Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. How is it possible that I am worth that much to You? How does that great of love even exist? You are love, Father. Help me get it, help me get You. Help me in my unbelief! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

• How did today speak to you as you read through the thoughts about identity? Could you relate? How?
• Have you ever thought about being identified by what God thinks about you? What are you doing instead, if you’re not currently doing that?
• What about the verses? Do you struggle believing those things about yourself? Why do you think that is?
• How did you feel as you prayed?
• What, if anything, did He reveal to you as we did this today? What A-Ha! did you have today?

Dare you to seriously consider what God did for you. Write yourself a letter about how He feels about you – and how you want to live in response.  Double dog dare you to share today your responses to the above below – it will help others feel like part of our community here.

Be sure to comment on others’ responses in an encouraging way – if you’ve taken our eCourse, you are familiar with this type of encouragement experience.

By the way, we have a new group starting this week – if you are a married woman and haven’t done our eCourse, you should, especially if you haven’t got a group nearby that you can join. We’re doing something really special this round – I absolutely LOVE this – Sandi, the “Dean of Respect Dare University,” and I are doing these 15-30 minute calls each week and I’ll be answering questions – this round only. I hope you’ll join us – we have a bunch of women who already got in this week, I think they’re planning on Dare #1 for Monday.

Love to you,

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Oh, and if you got this as an email forward from a friend who cares about you and your family, know we’d love YOU to join us on this journey. The road is long and hard, and often paved with tears, but worth traveling – and you’re not alone.

You can get marriage TIPS! articles, a free copy of my eBook, 101 Ways to Respect Your Husband, and other marriage info here. I’ll be taking down the 101 Ways eBook in the next week or so and putting up a new eBook, so grab it while you can. :) We promise not to share your email with anyone, ever. You’ll get just one or two TIPS! articles a week, plus a blog post as they come, usually 1-2 a week.

If you are just joining us, these might be of interest, too:

Dare 1: Expectations

Back story of why I’m doing this…

titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

16 thoughts on “New Dare Journey Dare #2: Identity

  1. Stephanie:

    Leahheffner.com had the Respect Dares (1 to 40) on her website as well. (I do recall that I did them along with her last year.) That would help as well. Nina, I hope that is fine that I tell her that. It is THE RESPECT DARE BOOK that we used.

  2. Stephanie:

    I did the Respect Dare Book – Dare 1 to 40 – along with the articles on this website. This really helped me – especially since I was doing the dares on my own. Just go to the SEARCH BOX and type in Dare 1, or Dare 2, or whichever one you are on. I know it really helped me at the time, and gave me the momentum to keep going on the dares. You could do both at once (the Dares and the 40 Expectations,). It may be a lot to do both at once. Up to you.

  3. Oh Nina, I’m confused. Is this meant to accompany the dares in the Respect dare book or is this a different series altogether? I am doing the book right now (on #2) and am realizing that the topics arent matching

    • Great question, Stephanie! If you check the back story, you will understand the context. This is a new series about respecting God, ourselves, and others. It is being written for the woman I care most about on the planet, my daughter. I sensed God asking me to do this, and share it with all of you because it applies to anyone. It runs people through our training discipleship process, just like The Respect Dare, and can be done along side it.

      Love to you,
      Nina

  4. • How did today speak to you as you read through the thoughts about identity? Could you relate? How?

    Wonderful, awesome reminder that all my identity rests in the knowledge of who I was created to be (Matthew 10:39, Luke 9:62). I am His workmanship, made in His image!!!

    • Have you ever thought about being identified by what God thinks about you? What are you doing instead, if you’re not currently doing that?

    I am letting Christ define every last thing about me! What else can we do? Which one of these models works?
     
    Husband: Complete me. Read my mind and see all my old wounds from childhood and my life and go in and heal all of them with your love.
     
    Lord Jesus: Lord Jesus, complete me. Read my mind and see all my old wounds from childhood and my life and go in and heal all of these parts with your love.
     
    Even when my husband is absolutely wonderful, he is not equipped like Jesus (PURE Love) to heal me. He can not read my mind or even totally understand his own. He has all of his own wounds and his heart is leaking love too. This is why it is so important to put ______ and______ and ______ first.

    • What about the verses? Do you struggle believing those things about yourself? Why do you think that is?

    Sure, I struggled hard. Too many failure messages from my parents, “friends”, the world; but I do not struggle much anymore. It took me serious study/ prayer time to comprehend Christ’s love. A LOVE that doesn’t change -doesn’t have an end -keeps forgiving, et. al. (Revelation 2:9, 1 John 4:19, Song of Solomon 2:4). I finally really understood Matthew 10:31 =>Do you think He brought you this far just to leave you wondering who/ what you are?

    • Why do you think that is?

    Because the entire world lies inside the evil one and the god of this world (Satan) blinds people into thinking he is not even there. Satan will rip your soul out if you don’t follow Christ (Proverbs 3:6, 1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 16:24). It’s no game when someone lives without God’s grace. Satan has false apostles teaching lies, principalities just waiting to obey, hate, and greed, ungodly lusts all on offer.

    Christ offers Real Love vs. the “quick fix” of “rotating relationships” and addictions people run to.

    God’s love is actually what everyone is always trying to bring into their lives in all kinds of ineffective, dramatic dysfunctional ways. -It is not because people are not important and good but they are just NOT adequately equipped to bring the kind of healing love only God can bring. Even when your husband is absolutely wonderful, he is just not equipped like Jesus (PURE Love) to heal. Again, he can’t pass the love test: He can’t read your mind or even totally understand his own. He has all of his own wounds and his heart is leaking love too. This is why it is so important to get this kind of love directly from God.

    • How did you feel as you prayed?

    Loved, forgiven, wonderful.

    • What, if anything, did He reveal to you as we did this today? What A-Ha! did you have today?

    A-Ha! . . .Mighty is the wisdom of the Lord (Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105). Christ’s love brings REAL love to all those dark, lonely and sad places. Otherwise, we will settle our whole lives for little, lonely scraps of love/ approval/ affection from other people. The key to holiness is falling in love with Jesus. Holiness is the only path to happiness. True holiness isn’t cold and deadening -it’s warm and inviting. It’s irresistible. Those who think otherwise have never seen it, but only its caricatures.

    Want to waste lots of your life and invite in a special unhappiness? Satan invites you, encourages you to do it your own way/ Satan’s way. You can search but you will not find love without Christ. You can look for REAL love in people who don’t know God, but you will not find love/ cannot find love without Christ.

    The Lord is not served by us playing small, shrinking so that others don’t feel spiritually inadequate or spiritually insecure. God wants us so close to Him that we are radiating His glory. When we do, we liberate others from all their fears and give them permission to do the same.

    Nobody else can give us a clean heart but God. Then God’s love can flow into us. I actually believe that’s the love everyone is always trying to bring into their lives in all kinds of ineffective, dramatic and dysfunctional ways. -It is not because people are not important and good but they are just not adequately equipped to bring the kind of healing love only God can bring. Even when my husband is absolutely wonderful, he is just not equipped like Jesus (PURE Love) to heal me. Again, he can’t read my mind or even totally understand his own. He has all of his own wounds and his heart is leaking love too. This is why it is so important to get this kind of love directly from God.
     
    Oh, and the benefit of a clean heart is that it just automatically repels bad men, evil men, duplicitous, “Christian” people, dysfunctional “friends” -It does that just naturally. Holy people are very upsetting unless God is drawing you into his arms. –And, we are not condemning them, we are OBSERVING and FORGIVING and making good decisions about who we give our time to because we become who we hang out with.

    • LOVE love love!! this! 🙂 Awesome. Deep thoughts here, Rebecca – so glad you are here!
      Love to you,
      Nina

      • Nina,
        Thank you for being so faithful in helping all of us. It is amazing how much of yourself you are willing to give. It is so inspiring. I am seriously praying for you every day. What you are teaching is so valuable! You have a straight head in a world of brain dead (Psalm 112:7). As an attorney, I see destroyed lives each day. “Good” is five thousand miles from Godly. People don’t mind us being kind or good, but you become holy and zealous for God… then you are fanatical; So if it wasn’t for Christ’s love that holds me, I would give in too. Fortunately, Christ has His hand on my heart and I can’t walk away (Kings 18:46, John 10:28-29). I clearly see the path of the unfulfilling counterfeit (2 Peter 2:20)! Oh, how we need more eternity-conscious believers like you. Souls white-hot for God because they fear His holy name and presence and so live with eternity’s values in view. It seems so hard to think there was a time that I used to call this wasteland home (John 4:10,13-14, John 7:38)! Bottomline because I need to get on another plane here: I’d rather be a fool in the eyes of other women, than a fool in the eyes of God (1 Corinthians 1:21-25, Revelation 21:18). Every morning, here is the question I ask myself: Rebecca, are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for? The cross is going to judge everything in my life: my career, my spending, my talking (-and I worry about that one). Everything is cross-examined as I say!

    • Thank you for sharing this! I am so blessed by it
      Rebecca! I actually quoted you in my journal this morning. “The key to true holiness is falling in love with Jesus. Holiness is the only path to happiness. True holiness isn’t cold and deadening – it’s warm and inviting. It’s irresistable.” So true! I love that.

      I am writing myself a letter today. I think this is a great idea. I need to focus on what I am in
      Christ. I have for far too long been putting my identity in what others think of me. No wonder I have been so unhappy! No wonder I have such a hard time believing
      God can actually be satisfied with me and delight in me. It’s because I have been looking to people for a love that only He can give. Oh how thankful I am that
      He is setting me free! How thankful I am for you ladies and your faithfulness to share the wisdom He has shared with you.

      Tara

      • Tara,
        You are so welcome. It is such a privilege to post here and pray for the individuals. . . . .Love is the greatest motivator to obedience. Right now, God is constantly challenging me to go deeper in love with Him and put childish ways behind me. (—It’s amazing how childish I can still be in my thinking.) There’s a deeper place to go (Hebrews 6:1a, Romans 1:17, Philippians 1:6) but it is straight up and the slope is sheer. I was thinking about A. B. Simpson’s life this morning on the plane. . . .

        From: A. B. Simpson (—Think about what he is saying, Simpson really, r-e-a-l-l-y gets it):

        Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; (—¬I LOVE THAT, he’s not in this for blessings anymore, he is in this for Christ, to know Him!, to know Him!!!)
        Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
        Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
        Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone. (—¬I don’t even care if I am healed, God knows why I should not be healed and things need to be this way, I just want You Lord and You alone!!!).

        Once ’twas painful trying, Now ’tis perfect trust (—Oh, I LOVE THAT);
        Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
        Once ’twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
        Once ’twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

        Once ’twas busy planning, Now ’tis trustful prayer (I LOVE THAT);
        Once ’twas anxious caring, Now He has the care (I LOVE THAT).
        Once ’twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
        Once ’twas constant asking, Now ’tis ceaseless praise (I LOVE THAT).

        Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
        Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me (—I DOUBLY LOVE THAT!!!).
        Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One (I LOVE THAT);
        Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

        Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
        Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
        Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
        And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the vail.

        Because I think most clearly in terms of word pictures, sometimes I will imagine seeing Jesus hanging on the cross, literally weighed down by every sin ever committed, and I walk up to Him and thrust another one on His shoulders. That is what our sins do. If we allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to become muted (grieve Him), we might even come to deny that a sinful behavior is sinful (Taking the liberties that grace will not afford. I would NOT want to justify from Scripture what I see lots of people just “justifying.”) But we can make the right choice, you know what to do when you hear God’s voice: Phil 3:13-14.

    • Rebecca, what wonderful insight this is:

      A-Ha! . . .Mighty is the wisdom of the Lord (Psalm 19:7-11, 33:11, 119:105). Christ’s love brings REAL love to all those dark, lonely and sad places. Otherwise, we will settle our whole lives for little, lonely scraps of love/ approval/ affection from other people. The key to holiness is falling in love with Jesus. Holiness is the only path to happiness. True holiness isn’t cold and deadening -it’s warm and inviting. It’s irresistible. Those who think otherwise have never seen it, but only its caricatures.

      Way to go to listen to the Lord!

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