After grad school, I was determined to find a job as an athletic trainer in professional baseball. I was so determined that I sent my resume to every professional baseball organization whether they had a job opening or not!
Soon after I sent my resume out, I received many letters back from these organizations stating that they had no job positions open. Funny though…these letters that were sent back were addressed to me as Mr. Taleen….instead of Miss Taleen!
You see I was trying to break into a very male-dominated field…having a woman athletic trainer in professional baseball was unheard of! These organizations saw my name…had no clue I was a woman…and just assumed I was a man. I even had one organization call me for an interview and ask to speak with Mr. Taleen… How quickly their tone on the phone changed from enthusiasm to disappointment upon the discovery that I was a woman! FYI…I didn’t get that job.
After all my efforts and determination, I actually did get a job offer and worked for the Chicago Cubs professional baseball organization for 3 years. Because it was very uncommon for a woman to have this job position in professional baseball, I had multiple TV interviews and newspapers contacting me to do stories about being a woman in this male-dominated field.
And while I was breaking these barriers, my goals of being the first woman in my position to hopefully move up to the Major League level began to define me. I found value in the attention I received and the accomplishments I was achieving. I was a woman breaking the barriers in a male dominated field. That’s who I was…
So what about you? Who are you? Who are you …really?
Are you really the person that people think you are? Are you really the person that you think you are?
Where do you find your identity?
Our identity is…what defines us…what gives us our value…what gives us our worth.
Oftentimes, we find our identity in our jobs/occupations (like I did)…in our accomplishments and achievements (like I did)…in our material possessions…in social media…in who others think we are…and even in who you think you are!
In addition…as women…we can base our identity and value on certain roles and tasks that we do…for instance, our role as a wife or a mother. And we can evaluate our worth as a woman against how well we perform those tasks.
We may compare ourselves with others…judging our performance against others’ performance. If we are doing well relative to others, we feel good about ourselves …but if we aren’t…we often feel like a failure.
I have experienced this personally as a mother. It’s easy to compare yourself to other mothers and think… “Wow, she is so patient with her children! I can’t do that!” or “Wow, she is such a good mother…her children are so well-behaved!”
In Luke 10:38-42 we find the story of Jesus visiting his friends…2 sisters named Mary and Martha. And it is in this passage that we will see how one of these women struggled with her identity.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” NIV
Now it may not seem so obvious but Martha…although she had been touched by the love of Jesus… believes her significance and value are found in doing…doing many things…making preparations like cooking and cleaning!
The key to seeing Martha’s identity crisis is actually found in Luke 10:40. Martha shows frustration not only in the fact that her sister Mary is not helping her but also in that Jesus doesn’t seem to care or recognize all that she is doing!
And to top it off, Jesus commends her sister Mary for choosing to do what is better!
Can you imagine how Martha felt? She was cooking and cleaning and making preparations. She was serving Jesus!
Even though what Martha was doing was certainly honorable, Jesus had to remind her of something that can easily be forgotten in the midst of our busy lives…our value…our worth…our identity…are not determined on how we behave or perform on a daily basis.
Our value and identity are not based on what we have done…or will do…but on who we are in Christ. Our identity in Christ is a gift of God’s grace…not a standing we can earn by hard work and good intentions.
Your identity is in this constant state of chaos and change and influenced sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. What this leads to is a very inconsistent emotional and spiritual life. These are the things that may explain you, but they do not define you. Mark Driscoll
Our identity is in Christ and who He says we are!
So who exactly does Christ say we are?
Well, for starters, we were bought at a price! (1 Corinthians 6:20) What price? At the price of the blood of Christ being shed…At the price of Jesus dying on the cross for us! God sacrificed the life of his very own son for us…if that doesn’t make you feel valuable I am not sure what will!
Psalm 139:14 also states that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The context of the word fearfully here refers to the respect and reverence God has for us when He created us! This also demonstrates the value we have in God’s eyes!
Check out these scriptures to further understand who God says we are!
We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. 1Peter 2:9
He chose us in Him before the creation of the world…Ephesians 1:4
He predestined us to be adopted as his [daughters] through Jesus Christ…
He gave the right to become children of God… John 1:12
We should be called children of God…1 John 3:1
You are all [daughters] of God through faith in Christ Jesus… Galatians 3:26
You are fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household…Ephesians 2:19
Our citizenship is in heaven…Philippians 3:20
He set His seal of ownership on us…2 Corinthians 1:22
We are God’s workmanship… Ephesians 2:10
God made you alive with Christ… Colossians 2:13
God has made also an heir… Galatians 4:7
I have called you friends… John 15:15
If anyone is in Christ, [she] is a new creation…2 Corinthians 5:17
We are therefore Christ’s ambassador’s… 2 Corinthians 5:20
[God] seated us with Him in the heavenly realms… Ephesians 2:6
Doesn’t that just blow your mind?!! To be bought at a price…to be made fearfully…to be chosen…to be God’s daughter…to be considered royalty…to be an heir…to be seated with Him in heaven…just to name a few!
As you read through these scriptures, you can see not only who you are…but whose you are!
Allowing your identity to be in anything other than Christ will leave you disappointed. Because everything in this world is subject to change…but only Christ is unchanging.
I continue to attend athletic training conferences to keep up my credentials…and I still have young ladies come up to me sharing how they know who I am…one of the first women athletic trainers ever in professional baseball!
I just smile…My identity is in Christ now…because that’s what defines me…because that’s where my value comes from…because that’s who I am now.
1) Who are you really?
2) Where do you find your identity?
3) Is your identity in Christ?
4) Who does Christ say you are?
1) As Christians, it is important that our identity is in Christ. If we put our value and worth in anything other than Christ we will be disappointed.
2) We can easily put our identity in other things but by understanding and studying what God says about us, we can accept who we are in Christ.
3) Review the scriptures listed to gain a better understanding of who you are…and whose you are!