Do you ever feel like you’re wearing a mask? Your public persona is one way, but if you peel back the layers, you’re someone else. It’s may not necessarily be that you’re harboring some secret sin, it’s just you don’t feel quite like yourself.
Are you having an identity crisis?
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, God reveals a lot of things to me in dreams, especially when my defenses are down. Yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways and speaks in a variety of ways (see Joel 2:28-29). These dreams are usually symbolic in nature, and I need to depend on the Lord for the interpretation. So, all that to say, this post came as a result of a dream:
In this dream, God showed me a woman who, at first glance, looked to be hurt and a victim. However, when you peeled back her mask, she wasn’t a victim at all. She was pretending to be something she was not and was only wearing a mask. What does this mean?
What I believe the Lord was showing me was that identity can be found in many different things, even in negative and harmful situations. We pretend to be one thing because you start to think this is your identity, but you’re really not. When you peel back the mask, just like this dream, you’re somebody else. The mask you’re wearing is not your true identity. But if that’s not your identity, then who are you?
Where is Your Identity?
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. My parents brought me to Sunday School, but didn’t go to church themselves. Jesus wasn’t much of an influence in our home. When God saved me over 12 years ago, I struggled with finding my identity in Christ. Do I need to be exactly like other Christian women? Do I have to do things that I don’t like to do that are just preferences and not the gospel? And does that make me less of a Christian if I don’t?
You can have a variety of roles: wife, mother, sister, employee, etc. And these are good things that God has called us to do that He wants us to glorify Him in. But it can be like wearing different masks if you put your identity in any of these roles. Whatever you find your most satisfaction in, you start identifying with wanting to be seen in a certain way: “I’m a good wife,” “I’m a good mother,” “I’m great at my job.” And if you don’t measure up compared to another Christian or do things differently, you start to lose your joy and hope. You feel like you’re wearing a mask. None of these things is where your identity should be found.
But then what determines your identity and how good you are? What is the measure of your success or failure? Your identity and how good you are will ride on how well you succeed or fail in any area if you put your identity in these things. It then becomes a roller coaster of emotions as you find that success or failure isn’t a guarantee if you lived in this world any length of time. And you will never be good enough. If you compare yourself to others, maybe you’re doing better, but that’s not the measure by which you stand. Compare yourself to Jesus and you’ll find you always fall short.
You usually think of idols of statues and figurines, but when you find your hope and joy in anything but Christ, it’s an idol. When pursuing “idols,” your identity is somewhere else. As you start identifying with the roles that God has given you rather than what you’ve been given through Christ, that’s when you start to veer off course and have an identity crisis. When your hope and trust rests on people and/or other things that are imperfect and will disappoint you, you wear masks that aren’t your true identity.
Therefore, as Christians, is this where God wants you to put your identity in?
Your True Identity
“[H]aving the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might” (Eph. 1:18-19).
I believe God wants to remind you again where your true identity lies. When you peel back the mask, underneath you’re beautiful. You don’t need to wear a mask. And the truth of who you are is found in His Word. In these pages, your true identity is found in only one person, Jesus Christ. He makes you beautiful and the beauty of having His Spirit in you is that He reminds you of those truths when you need to hear them, such as:
- 1 John 3:1-2: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” Your Father’s love can never be taken away. No matter what failures you are enduring, or seemingly enduring, this doesn’t limit the Father’s love for you. Your worth is not determined by how well you think you measure up or in comparison to other people; or, how well you succeeded today. You don’t earn your Father’s love today because you managed to get everything right. You are not like the world, you are set apart, different. You find your hope in a person — a Savior who died for us because you ultimately will never be good enough for a holy God, but that’s good news as your identity is in Christ and the work that he’s done; and
- Romans 8:14-15: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!“ What a beautiful promise that if you have the Spirit of God in you, you are His child, and you can come boldly before the throne and ask for His help. You don’t have to be afraid that our sins will keep us away from our Father as Christ took care of that on the cross. And you no longer have to do things in your own strength — whatever you face, you can faithfully endure.
You can remind yourself that anything that is a preference and added on, even good gifts, doesn’t need to be your identity. You don’t have to be somebody else because it’s not the gospel. You are to become like Christ in any role that you find yourself in rather than somebody else’s ideal, even your own ideal, and that brings glory to your Father.
I hope that when you have an identity crisis, you can take off the mask, and be who you are in Christ!
Do you feel at times like you’re wearing a mask? What are ways that you reconcile that with your identity in Christ that I haven’t covered here?