“This has changed who I am.” These words came out of my mouth the other day as I was talking to a friend, telling her how different things are for me since the Lord brought about this change in my physical condition. The inability to stand comfortably for more than a few minutes, along with the pain of walking more than a few hundred feet at a time, has brought about major changes, particularly in my social activities. For instance, where before all of this, I would be likely to stand around visiting in groups after church or Bible study, now I pretty much make a beeline for the door because it is just too hard to stand. Also, when the call goes out for a cleaning day at the church, or to prepare meals for a family in need, I do not answer any more. It is really all I can do to keep my own house presentable and meals on the table for my family. There are other changes, but you get the general idea.
As I have declined many of these social and service opportunities, I have become a more introverted person in general. I was never the poster child for social butterflies, but I have definitely drawn more inward as I have struggled with these physical issues, and lately I’ve come to realize that, where I was once a somewhat extroverted, socially comfortable person, I am no longer so. However, I do believe I have given this crooked leg way too much power in my mind.
While it is true that much has changed about how I behave and what I am able to do, I knew the second I heard myself say that it had changed who I am, my thinking was off. My identity has not been changed, nor can it be changed by any external circumstance. The only thing that has ever—can ever—change my identity is Christ. Our identity is changed only once in the course of our lives, and that one time is when we receive Christ as our Savior. When we are in Christ, we become a new creation. The old has gone, and the new has come. From that point forward, our identity is solidly rooted in Christ. We are children of God, and that will never change no matter what happens to our bodies.
The problem with my thinking, as I spoke with my friend, was that I was finding my identity in my physical capability, my social activity, and my bodily strength—what I can do—instead of finding it in Christ, His love for me, and my position in Him. My dear suffering friends, you and I have to be so careful how we see ourselves! Disappointments and changes can make us begin to look inward for who we are, instead of upward. I’ll close with some verses about who you are in Christ. They’ve been helpful for me as I’ve wrestled through this identity issue these last few weeks. I know that these living, active words will help you, too.
In Christ, you are: A new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) ; accepted (John 15:7); a child of God (John 1:12) ; christ’s friend (John 5:15) ; god’s workmanship (Eph 2:10); free from sin’s power over you (Romans 6:7) ; a saint (Philippians 1:1).
Best of all, God’s Word assures us that we are able to be content in any circumstance (Philippians 3:10-11), and that includes our broken bodies and the changes they sometimes impose on us. We are more than our bodies and what they can do, dear sisters. We are children of the living God, who loved us and gave His life for us, so that we could bring glory to Him. While our bodies may change, they can never change who we are. Halleluiah! what an Identity! What a Savior!