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Posts Tagged ‘identity’

I love getting to know other people’s personality’s. It is so fun for me to watch dynamics play out in group settings. I chuckle to myself when strong wills and traits collide.

Every person is wired a certain way. Every person has a unique personality DNA that is unique. We have passions that rise up for certain reasons. We have get fired up over certain things that other people may not find interesting. Some of us enjoy alone time, while others can’t get enough people time in their day.

I have always enjoyed studying personality traits. I love seeing people for who they are. I desire to see past words spoken and into the heart.

One of the most popular tests that measure personality traits is called Myers Briggs. This test basically breaks down how a person processes information, how a person finds energy, and interprets people as well as their surroundings.

I am an ENFP according to my Myers Briggs test. I am an extreme extravert who loves being around people a lot. I find my energy from being around a diverse group of people; the more the merry for me. I know I need the balance of alone time, but it takes conscious effort for me. It also takes me coming down to the end of my rope of energy to take alone time. Alone time for me looks like my Ipod, a book, and journal and camping out at Starbucks. I still need to have people around.

I am also pretty passionate about the big picture and get annoyed by the details of life. Everything I process filters through a lense of feeling and intuition. I don’t need all the facts up front to make a decision. I go on gut feeling first and facts later. I trust my heart more than my mind. This can get me into impulsive trouble.

I can definitely frustrate other people by my lack of planning skills. I love having lots of options. I base a lot of my decision making on how I am feeling in the moment. I am all about spontaneity with some selective routine.

I am a person of strong values. I am very independent and love inspiring others. I feel at a deep level where compassion consumes my heart.

Knowing how you think and perceive life is crucial to knowing who you are. It is also crucial to knowing how you relate to and work with other people. Our personality affects everything we pursue. It also affects how we respond to life.

I would love to know more of your personality. You can click the link below and take the test for yourself. Since Myers Briggs is such a well known test, taking it on the internet takes aways some of the reliability, but it is still good to get a sense of you.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

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My mom taught me never to talk to strangers growing up. Preschool and DARE reinforced that rule through my early years.

I needed this rule and boundary in my life. I am a huge extrovert. I talked to strangers all the time. I would even talk to mannequins in the department stores. (Alright that was more for the embarrassment of my mom.) Often times my mom would be looking for me, because I would have wandered off somewhere shooting the breeze with someone. I am a talker, plus I love people. This rule was for me!

I thought I was safe, when I might not have been. I thought all people were good not thinking they might have had other motives. That could have been bad news for me.

Jesus knows we need protection. We believe people when they are speaking lies. Jesus knows our tendencies to be lead astray.  In our search for life, he sees all the messages that bombard our minds. There are so many messages we filter through every day. More than half of those messages threaten his truth.

Jesus is the truth. He is the safest places we can be. His words are the words that keep us on the path to knowing eternal life. He is the only one who can lead us there.

The extrovert in me desperately needs the shepherd in him.

I need the truth that he is the gate, and the one leading me into life. There are so many threats and distractions from truth and life. Jesus knows that. All the more reason why we need to know his voice.w

We need to know his voice as the dominate voice to listen to if we want to recognize threats. We have red flags in life to help yell out “stranger!!

There are lots of things, and people, who would like to help define our identities. There are lots of messages that will tell you who and what to value. There are even people who would like for you to believe that they are the way to life. There is only one who is truth. It takes pursuing intimacy with him to really know what messages to discard.

It has taken me a long time to attune my ears to the shepherd. I am still learning to divert my eyes and ears back to him. I am so thankful to know truth.

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One of my favorite phrases in the scripture is, “I tell you the truth.” Even just saying it now makes me exhale. “I tell you the truth.” How freeing is that phrase?

It kind of sounds like a weird phrase to use when responding to a question or even accusation. Jesus would begin the majority of his responses with, “I tell you the truth.” I mean just in case there was any question about his integrity or the reliability of what he was about to say?

Jesus is about truth. He is truth. You have to admit that he said some illogical things. He told stories that seemed too wise for his own educational stature. Jesus performed miracles on the body and heart all the time. He healed the sick, multipied food to eat, raised the dead, made the blind person see in eyes and heart, and he redefined life as people knew it to be.

Jesus was about the “hard to believe.” His life looked and sounded like the “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

I tell you the truth” is such a comforting phrase for me. I see all the things that Jesus did in the bible and it leaves my mouth on the floor. I see what he still does in my life, as well as other people’s lives around me and my mouth is still on the floor. That is truth.

I have spent a lot of my life believing in what I thought was truth. I believed that growing up with a learning disablilty disqualified me from even writing this blog. I believed that because my father left our family that I was worth leaving. Out of that, I have believed that even the best people can not be trusted. Through raising myself in a lot of ways, I have learned to believe that life is up to me and self-sufficiency is the only way for life to work

I have been told “truth” and I have told myself “truth.” The truth is that I really didn’t know truth at all. So to even hear the words, “I tell you the truth” over and over again is so refreshing to my soul. God never makes me guess. Even though his truth looks so unbelievable and so illogical, it doesn’t make his truth any less truth.

Now, I exhale in hearing him say, “Tracee, I tell you the truth. You are my beloved and my daughter. You are wired just the way I made you. You are worth dying for and keeping close. Life is known in following and trusting after me.”

Truth takes faith and trust. Jesus has proved his truth to me. I’m not at all saying I really get his truth for me, but I am learning to hear it over what I have settled for as truth.

What is the truth you know?

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When I was growing up, I loved watching the progressions of my nicknames. I love nicknames. I love making up nicknames for people. A name means something. People are known by their names. Often times someone’s name said a lot about the person.

I love when my friends and I start referring to one another with nicknames. That tells me that the intimacy is entering the friendship.

Throughout the bible, you can see the value of a name. Names had deep meaning. Our name is a big deal to God.

Joseph named his son Manasseh. Manaessh means “God has made me forget all my troubles.” Moses was named as “one delivered from the water.” Peter means, “the rock.” Nathaniel was described by Jesus as “one without deceit.” Jesus, the name above all names, “son of the most high.”

Names are important. Names come with identity. I am sure we can all recall a time(s) when we have been called names that have left wounds. You might even still attribute these names to yourself.

I have experienced names that have left marks on me. I have been called stupid, not enough, ugly, tom-boy (as a negative), and prideful. I have felt the not so clearly defined names as, worth abandoning, unloved, nothing to offer, and unworthy. Those names are hard to shake.

Jesus came and redefined our names. He cares about those names that are on repeat in our hearts and minds. Jesus came and reminded us that our names have always been beloved, loved, worthy, beautiful, forgiven, child, pursued, found, and worth dying for.

One truth I try and sub into the loop in my mind is, “I have called you by name and you are mine.” We are his. In him is where we belong.

Identity means everything. Our identity in him never changes. Nothing we say or do changes that identity. We belong. We are his.

What names are on repeat in your heart?

What names do you need to sub in?

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Last week I was having a great conversation with some friends. We were talking about our overseas experiences. I love traveling. It seriously changes my life every time I go somewhere. I love listening to how others are stretched through their overseas experiences. I love watching as passion flows out of the heart as someone talks about their experiences.

As I was thinking about my different experiences, one thing kept coming up every time. I have noticed that people ask different questions when being introduced. Seems like a no brainer thought, but it’s worth noting. Each culture gets to know someone in different ways. In the US, we ask a series of three questions to one another. We ask one another: where are you from? Where did you go to school? And what do you do? The answers to these questions mark our identities. These three questions shape the conversation. We can even make judgments by how these questions are answered.

What I have noticed about everywhere else but here is that those questions do not even come up. I can remember three distinct areas where the questioning was different. I have traveled around the Middle East, spent a semester in Spain, as well as spent time in South Africa. Where ever I was, people asked me about what I believed. I was so taken aback by how often I was asked that first. We, in the US, do not even go there. In other cultures, what you believe defines who you are. That’s how it should be.

It seems like in the era of social media, there are so many places to read what people are “about.” Most people seem to have an “about me” page. Listed on this page are hobbies, movies, employment, education, and at least one sentence that describe the person. All these things make up the identity of someone.

But does it really?

Last year, I was teaching a group of high school girls about what their identity in Christ means. I realized that our identity in Christ is unchanging. We are his beloved. In him we are enough. We are saved by grace, forgiven of sin, and adopted as sons and daughters into the throne. We are children to the “Abba father“. This never changes.

Our “about me” changes all the time. There are some things that stay consistent, (I will always love to sky dive and bungee jump), but the other stuff changes. My “about me” does not define who I am. Where I live, where I went school, and what I do, does not define my identity. My identity has been defined for me by the one who died for me.

It seems that other cultures ask a great question – “What do you believe?

I can attest to some incredible conversations that have come from exchanging answers.

So what do you believe?

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Right before the start of Jesus’ public ministry, the last three years of his life, he was led by the holy spirit into the desert. Jesus had just been baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit descended down on to Jesus. Then a voice thundered out from the father identifying Jesus as his son.

Amazing events before the desert. I can remember how awesome I felt when I surrendered my heart to Christ as a teenager. I was at a Young Life camp in VA. It was a great risk for my heart to take, being surrounded by others who were contemplating the same decision.

But what about after camp? That was a fearful thought for me. I would return home different then when I left. How does that transition happen? I remember thinking that I wish I had some transformation time. I wish I could’ve had an in-between time to really grasp what had just taken place in my heart. Now I understand a little more the value of the desert.

Before Jesus was to take on the road of dying for our sin, he needed some time. He spent 40 days in the desert. At the end of his time there, the devil approached him with three specific temptations.

The past couple weeks, I have really began looking at the significance of these temptations. There were three major areas where the devil tried to entice Jesus. If these were core areas to attack for Jesus, chances are they would be for me as well.

The first card in the temptation deck was, “if you are the son of God, command this stone to become bread.” This temptation attacks an area of basic need for Jesus. The devil enticed Jesus to go outside of God to meet his needs. The devil was also challenging Jesus to prove his identity. In essence, if Jesus could turn the stone into bread, he would prove his identity and ability to provide for himself. The temptation is to act independently from the father to prove ourselves.

This temptation resonates with me. I have talked about being a self-sufficient person before. I know I can fall short of depending on God to provide for my legitimate needs. In response, I take action for myself. I can struggle with thinking that I have to make things happen for myself. Sometimes my identity can get wrapped up in my actions.

Jesus did not cave. He remembered his past 29 years and 39 days of believing in the father. Jesus rested in his identity being in the father. He remembered those sweet words of, “this is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” He looked at the devil and stated his father’s words, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word from the mouth of God.

I want to rest secure in my identity in Christ. For the father says to us all, “you are my beloved.” That never changes. I am praying through the ways I can entrust myself more to Him to meet my needs. I desire to live on every word that comes from the mouth of God. That is the only answer to my legitimate needs. The temptation entices me to being enslaved, but believing in God for my needs leaves me free. I desire to confidently respond to temptation the way Jesus did.

Thank you Jesus for the example!

How are you tempted to provide for yourself?

In what ways are you tempted to prove your identity and worth?

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The bible is filled with stories of failure. I think you could label the Old Testament as the “Old failure Testament.” As you read the Old Testament you can see that the theme of failing is a direct result of the Israelite’s attempts to find life outside of God. Many of the stories talk about a people who did everything they could to seek after life in any form. This is not a new concept as we still have this problem today.

If you look back and read about the Israelites journey through the desert, you will see a people who wandered around for a long time. The Isrealites made what could have been an eleven day trip to the promise land a long forty years. That is a long time of mundane walking before someone decided to do something about it. It took forty years before the realization that the reason for the wandering was taking God off the throne of being King. The Israelite’s suffered a lot of hardship and frustration in trying to make life happen on their own.

The longer the people of God spent away from him the more suffering was experienced in the journey.

I am very aware that I do this all the time. I battle with the tension of moving in the direction of God being my king, and seeking life outside of him. Let me tell you, I experience failure every time. Failure is a guarantee.  Outside of God being our God, life is meant to fail. The lie is that life works and is available outside of him. You can see Satan attempt this lie with the temptation of Jesus.

Failing affects me emotionally. After experiencing failure, I am really bad about not attaching the label of failure to everything about my identity. God, in his gentleness, reminds me that failure is a gift. Failure is a tap on my shoulder reminding me of the path I am meant to be on. There is so much freedom to be known in releasing my failings to him.

Changing my mentality has taken me a long time. I have not mastered this by any means. I have definitely taken one too many laps around the desert.  I want to rejoice in failing. I want to be so grateful that God loves me so much that failing is the gift of being one step closer to experiencing life to the full.

Where do you get get stuck in releasing your failure to him?

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