Shaping your Identity

 

Over the last few weeks, we have dived deeper into what I feel keeps me close to God. 

Or as I like to call it my 7 secrets to maintaining a close relationship with God.

Those 7 things that I do daily are:

  1.       Pray, multiple times a day
  2.       Read the Bible daily
  3.       Listen to Christian music
  4.       Look for God’s hand in everything
  5.       Talk about God
  6.       Proclaim your faith publicly
  7.       Surround yourself with believers

To me, these 7 things aren’t things that I really think about anymore, they just come naturally at this point. 

But when I first started my walk of faith they were things that I thought about daily.

I had not claimed the identity of a STRONG Christian yet.

How can I make sure that I stay close to God? Was a question that I asked myself almost daily. (ok I still ask that question almost daily.)

To be 100% honest for the longest time I carried a bible in my backpack that I took with me everywhere.

I thought that was the answer, keep his word close and then I will be close.

Then I discovered that I had to read the bible, just having it with me was not doing any good.

Now, because of technology, that bible stays at home, and I use the bible app on my phone to read when I’m on the road.

Anyways……..

Back to my main point here and where I was going in the first place.

I had to make this part of my lifestyle.  I changed who I was to become closer to God.

You see I was a believer, but not close to God for years and years of my life.

Then when I claimed to be a faithful servant of God as part of my identity it all changed.

I had to shift my identity to really make these easy to follow.

It’s kind of like when I decided to get my pilot’s license.

At first, when I would go up for a lesson, it was just really cool to be flying a plane.

But as I progressed through the process, I was still just flying a plane.

Then about 2 weeks before my check ride, I was sitting at my computer thinking about who I am. What is my self-proclaimed identity? Who do I identify as?

This is what I came up with.

I am a Father, a Husband, a Son, a brother, a coach, a Business Owner, an Opportunity creator, and a faithful servant of God. I listen to God and talk with him daily. I am a pilot, a truck driver, an entrepreneur, and a really funny guy. I help to give people an amazing place to earn a living. I support their families by offering financial means and by helping them have self-worth so that they can grow. I inspire others by leading by example. I chose daily to get up early, work hard, and always put my family and God first in everything that I do. I am a creator, an inventor, and someone who is not afraid to take the chance to grow not only myself but others. I am GREAT on stage and always over-deliver. Sometimes my faith and BIG thinking scare people. I am different from 99% of the world and that is OK.

You see, before this I was not a pilot. I was someone who flies a plane.

But as soon as I had the realization that I AM A PILOT.

I changed what I do.

My confidence level changes when I am in or around the plane.

I built what I needed for my plane, instead of relying on others to give it to me.

I TOOK extreme ownership in being a pilot. I converted my logbook to an electronic one. I created checklists and then uploaded them to my flight app so that they would be there.

It was now part of who I am.

Faith is the exact same way.

I’m sure that you have heard the phrase, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!” (if you haven’t heard this then you didn’t grow up in the west. Lol)

This is so true.

I have led a horse to water, I have held its head down near the edge of the pond.

But I could never make it drink.

It had to be the horse’s idea.

Faith is much the same way. 

We can lead others to God all day, every day. But we cannot make them claim it as part of their identity.

They have to make that choice all on their own.

I know that as soon as I claimed to be a STRONG Christian, it changed my whole life.

The way I thought, the way I talked, what I did with my time when I prayed. My whole life changed.

Just like it changed when I claimed to be an entrepreneur.

Just like it changed I added being a father to my identity.

And yes, just like it did when I finally added being a pilot to my identity.

My whole point here is that when we change our identity, it is no longer a chore to do things that help us identify with that person.

No!

Now it is fun.

When I first started learning to play the drums, I took my identity as a drummer really fast. And that right there made it super easy to learn how to do it.

Drummer’s practice, lots.

So, I practiced every night.

Drummers play live gigs.

So, I started playing some live gigs.  (Notice that the drummer is not part of my identity any longer. I still play the drums, but I’m not a drummer. Things change and that’s ok!)

A STRONG CHRISTIAN PRAYS MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY, READS THE BIBLE DAILY, LISTENS TO CHRISTIAN MUSIC, LOOK FOR GOD’S HAND IN EVERYTHING, TALKS ABOUT GOD TO EVERYONE, PROCLAIMS THEIR FAITH PUBLICLY, & SURROUNDS THEMSELVES WITH BELIEVERS

When we take up the identity of a STRONG Christian. We change who we are so that it is easier to be who we WANT to be.

Take Action

Time to take action once again.

Today I would like you to write out your identity.

Don’t just think about it, take time to actually write (or type if your handwriting is as bad as mine, lol) it out.

Don’t overthink it. just after you finish this devotional, just start writing it.

You will be pleasantly surprised.

A few things to remember:

  1.       It doesn’t matter how long it is.
  2.       This is about YOU, not your husband/wife. It is yours
  3.       You don’t have to share it, but if you do I would love to read it so you can email it back to me!
  4.       Do NOT write about the person you WANT to be, write about who you ARE today!

Prayer

Lord, God, Father Almighty, today we would like to start by thanking you. Thank you for everything you give us. Thank you for allowing us to have our own identities. Thank you for helping us to stick to those identities. Thank you for allowing us to choose our identities. Thank you for helping us to know that it is ok if our identities change from time to time as we grow. God, today I would also like to ask you for a little wisdom. Please give us all wisdom to become the people that you NEED us to be.  Help us to listen to you when you speak to us. Lord, if you could open our ears to hear you, our eyes to see you, and our minds to accept you we would be forever grateful to you. God, lastly we ask that you give us the courage to share our faith with the world. let me be the light that shines for the whole world to see.

We ask all these things in your precious Son’s name.

Amen.

A Little More

For today I would like to take you back to a couple of “firsts” in my life because those “firsts” have helped to shape my identity.

The first “first” (what a mouth full, lol) is my first car accident.

I had just started dating Jenna and was a junior in high school.  A few months before I started dating Jenna though I had gone out and bought a little Ford Ranger that was only 4 years old! 

I found a screaming deal on it.  it had a few quirks, but all in all, it was in GREAT shape for a high schooler!

Fast forward a few months to right after Jenna and I had started dating. I had gotten up early to pick up a kid on the other side of the county to go to an FFA deal for the day.

So I was up earlier than usual.

We did that for the day, then I took Jenna out on a date after that but we didn’t stay out too late, because I was a little tired.

Then on my way home, about 5 miles from the house I fell asleep and drifted off the road. 

All that I remember from the accident was, opening my eyes when I jumped a county road. literally jumped it Dukes of Hazzard Style. Then I closed my eyes again because I didn’t want to see what was coming next.

Then again a few seconds later I opened my eyes when the truck was in mid-roll over and I was upside down.

When it was all over I opened the door and looked for my cell phone (I actually had one, remember rollover minutes? Yeah it was back then lol).

But…..

I couldn’t find it.  At the time I was part of the volunteer fire department, and so was my brother. So, I called him on the radio and calmly asked that he come up by the little school to give me some assistance.

Luckily it wasn’t too late, about 10:30 pm.

He didn’t bat an eye. Grabbed his gun, because he was sure I hit a deer and hauled his butt up to where I was.

When he got there I was cleaning off the road making sure that I didn’t cause another accident with any debris that might have flown off of my truck.

Shortly after Russ got there, I used his bag phone. Remember those bad boys???? To call Mom and dad to let them know that I was all right, but I was in an accident.  No need to worry, I’ll be home soon.

After that, we called dispatch to have an officer come out and tag the truck so that they didn’t get a ton of crazy calls on it.

Then I hopped in Rusty’s truck, and we headed back for the house.

This one event gave me several identities.  One of those was the fact that I could have died that night. But God chose to save me.  He wasn’t done with me yet.  It really set the fact that God was REAL as one of my identities.

The second was that you don’t ask questions when someone needs to help you. Even if they need help because the decision they made was not GREAT. You just help them.

The second “First” that I want to take you back to was when our first son was born, Billy!

Jenna and I were fairly young when we had our first child. You see we started dating our junior year in high school and then right after graduation we got engaged and a year later we were married.

So, by 19 we had already been together for 3 years, bought a new truck together, and were married.

Right after getting married, we talked and made the decision to start our family right away. 

We got married in June and were pregnant with Billy by August.

He was actually due on our 1-year anniversary. He didn’t come out on our anniversary. The little crapper was a few weeks early. but that’s ok we still love him. Lol

William Robert Greer (aka Billy) was born between 3 & 3:15 PM in Durango Colorado on 6/3/2006.  That moment forever changed my identity.

From that point forward I was a FATHER. 

I know that I was really a dad before that, but in my mind, it was sealed on that date that I was now a father!

I still remember it like it was yesterday.

The first night Billy was born I didn’t sleep hardly at all. This would be the only night for the next 10 years that Jenna would sleep through the night. But I didn’t sleep hardly a wink.

Billy was in our room and I would walk over to this bassinet thing that the hospital uses for newborns, and just watch him.

I was so excited about the future.

Watching him learn to walk, to talk, his first 4-wheeler ride, teaching him to drive, going on trips, fishing, hunting, watching him grow older and wiser, watching him start a family of his own, and so much more.

All of these images flashed through my mind.

I was also TERRIFIED! This human is now MY responsibility. I was charged with doing everything I could to provide a GREAT childhood for him and give him a loving home to grow up in.

Teach him how to treat people, just like my parents taught me.  

I could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders for this one little baby that wasn’t even 24 hours old yet.

You see in those moments my identity was forever changed.

As one of my all-time favorite country singers, George Strait says in his song The Breath You Take, “ life’s not the breath you take” “But the moments that take your breath away

My point is that those moments are the ones that shape our identity. 

They make us who we were meant to be.

Today I want to encourage everyone who reads this to pause and take a DEEP breath in and look at the moment you are currently in. How is God working in your life right now, at this moment, to shape your life?