A painful demotion at work became the best thing God has ever done in my life. You see, God allowed me to walk through the demotion to reveal to me I was identifying myself through my accomplishments and what others thought of me. I was unaware of what it really meant to have an identity in Christ, despite having been a Christian for over 10 years. Instead, I was identifying myself the worlds way - through accomplishments and the approval of man.
But God wanted better for me. He wanted me to know with my whole being that I am loved apart from my accomplishments and if others like or do not like me. He wanted me to be free to be who He created me to be, instead of striving to be all they wanted me to be. So, He ripped it away from me in a crisis moment when I was least expecting it.
At a work conference, on, my baby boy's fifth birthday, after three years of chasing promotion and doing all they wanted me to do, I was demoted instead. It felt like I had been sucker-punched. I was so disillusioned I could not think straight. Questions of shame rolled through my mind. Thoughts such as; What had I done wrong? How come I could never measure up? plagued me throughout the remaining day and night. My value had been so wrapped up in my job and impressing my superiors, I was devastated.
Sleep eluded me as I was roiling between shame and anger with God throughout the night and early morning hours. Exhausted and distraught, I decided to skip out of the Sunday morning events of the conference and head to the other hotel I was staying that night. The hotel blessedly accommodated an early check-in for my weary soul. I tried to eat and sleep but my anger and shame would not subside. It bubbled up so hard in my chest that I decided I needed to hurl my pillow over and over at the need and scream my true feelings out to God.
"How could you do this to me?" I shouted. "I thought you were a good God and that I was doing good!" I cried.
Spent from my tantrum, I sunk to the floor. That is when God entered the room. The hairs on my arms stood up with His presence. Let's go for a walk, He said. There was a park across the street from the hotel that I had often walked at when visiting our company's Denver office. So, I put my hat and shoes on and headed for the park. Luckily for me, it was a chilly February morning, so the part was deserted as I walked through it talking to God with big fat tears rolling down my cheeks.
During our walk, God revealed to me that my identity was in my accomplishments and what others thought of me and it was killing my soul. Genisis 50:20- What they meant for your harm, I will use for good - (my paraphrase), bubbled up from my Spirit. God also revealed that I needed to dig in with Him about rebuilding my identity and stay in the role with my new boss and trust Him with the next steps. Begrudgingly, I agreed.
That CRISIS started the journey to rebuilding my identity in Christ for real. The journey was a painful tearing down of deep-seated lies to be replaced with God's truth, but I can emphatically say nearly two years later it was so worth it. What God said that day in the park came to fruition in better ways than I ever could have imagined at that time. God freed me from a life of tyranny that having my identity in my achievements and the approval of others enslaved me too. Through the CRISIS I learned that where we derive our value from is where our identity is placed. But through the journey, I learned how to rebuild my identity on God's truth.
If your value comes from any other place that knowing not only with your head but also your heart that you are a dearly loved child of God, worth dying for, then you may be identifying yourself wrongly. Now is the time to confront it, because truly, your identity is and always will be a dearly loved child of God, created on purpose for a purpose, freed by Christ's sacrifice for you. Maybe this new year is the right time to pursue a new you.
Father, you are so good that you will cause a crisis in our life so you can move us to a better path. Help us to see what you are doing in our lives. We know that this world identified people wrongly and that you have created us in your image, but this is so much harder to believe in our hearts. Please, show us where we are wrongly identifying ourselves and move us toward healing in your Truth. In Jesus' name, Amen.