God is Holding Me Together
I have always struggled with understanding, and therefore, putting into practice, what it means to find and put my identity in Christ. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s something that is incredibly difficult to understand. When the Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17), it creates more questions for me than it does answers. I’m looking for a list, or a detailed encyclopedia entry into what it means to find your “identity in Christ”, and all I come up with is wondering if this idea of “Identity in Christ” is just a Christian-coined-phrase that people say instead of being “in Christ”, but even if that is the case, what does that mean? What does it even look like?
I did some research on the topic of “Identity in Christ” in hopes of understanding it better for myself, and maybe for you, too, if you’re struggling like I am.
Paul David Tripp wrote a book called Dangerous Calling, and in that book, he compared our search and pursuance of identity to carnival mirrors. When we look into carnival mirrors, we see different versions of ourselves, some long and lean, some short and smushed, some that make us look like a Picasso work, and some that split us into innumerable pieces. He says that this is our horizontal pursuit of identity. In short, we make our work the thing that defines us. To read more about it, you can check out this talk with him from Desiring God.
By Him All Things Hold Together
This metaphor of seeing myself in a carnival mirror and pursuing horizontal identities reminds me of something my voice instructor told me in September of 2014, a month out from my wedding.
At this time, my now-husband and I were part of the worship ministry at the Buckhannon campus. I was struggling because I was in my final year of university and I wasn’t where I wanted to be in ministry. I thought that I was enough. I thought taking voice lessons and piano lessons would be enough to prove myself, to prove that I was legitimate, that this was it for me, worship leading was it and God hadn’t made a mistake. I believed that, and had allowed that ministry to become my core identity since I was in high school.
So I came in that morning for my lesson ready to burst with frustration and started ranting, and when I finished, she paused and said, “One day, you could wake up and all of those things you thought held you together aren’t holding you together anymore. That’s when you realize that, it is not those things that hold you together, but something else. I’m not talking something in this world or of this world.”
I have kept that as a note in my phone since that day, and each time I come across it, I am reminded that, while our lives are a tapestry of beautiful things, moments, and memories that we enjoy in this life, when we reach the end, and the thread runs out, we’ll see that the Lord was holding all of these things together. We will see that “He is before all things, and by him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). He his holding us, sustaining us, even now that He is now longer with us in the flesh (Hebrews 1:3).
I Am Something Because I Am in Christ
“I am not something because I am in ministry … I am something because I am in Christ.” That’s how Paul David Tripp said it.
It is not my voice that is holding me together. It is not my love for music that is holding me together. It is not when I play and sing on the weekend that is holding me together. It is not my tech writing job that is holding me together. It is not my writing for you here or on my blog that is holding me together. It is not pictures I take to help me remember the good memories that is holding me together. It is not family, my husband, my daughter, my friends… none of these are holding me together. God is holding me together.
God is holding us together.
God is holding me together.
God is holding you together.
Speak that over your carnival mirror reflections. When the struggle to remember you are in Christ rises up, remind yourself: God is holding me together.