My Identity Journey

My Identity Journey… a testimony from Judy Arva, a dear member of our congregation. 
    You can also watch the service on our youtube channel or facebook page.

“Those of you who have been in church either in person or on line will remember that Pastor John has been talking about our identity. What we believe about our self is the foundation of our life. If that foundation is faulty it will affect our soul and the very fabric of our life.

As I have been working on this issue in my life with the help of my Launch Group and Pastor John, I have found a number of harmful things that I am basing my identity on that have and are affecting my
life. I want to share some of this with you.  If my identity is based on anything other than the fact that I am a beloved child of God, chosen by Him before the foundation of the world, and adopted into His family by the precious shed blood of Jesus, my identity is in the wrong thing.

Rob Reimer in his book “Soul Care” identifies three core lies that people believe — The Performance Lie, The People-Pleasing Lie, and The Control Lie. I have identified all three of these lies as affecting my identity but I want to share a little bit today about God’s working with me to start the process of shifting the foundation of my identity from The Performance Lie to the truth that my value is settled at the cross.

In believing this lie, I feel valued, loved and accepted if I am doing certain things — behave well, give well, live well, serve well, etc. In other words, I received my value or sense of being worthy and “OK” through what I did. I also judged myself and felt unworthy when I believed I was unproductive or felt I had made mistakes or “did it wrong”. I would feel like a failure.  I would validate myself by what I accomplish but it is never enough. Than I would give up and quit an continue to feel unworthy or useless and “hide” and try to comfort myself in other ways such as food or escape literature, etc.

This lie manifested in numerous ways but often it was on a Sunday morning when I was busy trying to get done everything I needed to at church and then I would be constantly thinking about everything else that needed to be addressed — things I had no responsibility for — but nevertheless, they burdened me. After church one Sunday when I had worked myself into a frenzy, Pastor John upon hearing my frustration prayed for me and suggested that I should
ask God to show me why I was so upset about all the things that I was not responsible for. He encouraged me to ask God to give me the courage to face myself and to show me the next step I should take.

Let me just say at this point, that God is such a good and loving Father that He wants me to be healed and free of this issue. He revealed in a time of quiet with Him that part of the problem was because I grew up with my Grandmother who was very negative, judgmental and was good at trying to make people feel guilty. In reaction to this I became
performance oriented (at least in part) by trying to keep from experiencing her judgment, condemnation
and guilt trips by what I did. O.K. — now God showed me a reason for the problem but what do I do now to change it? When I asked Him that question, He impressed on me that my grandmother had been hurt and wounded and was acting out of that hurt. Then He very clearly told me to forgive her. This may seem strange to some of you, but because forgiveness brings about freedom and release to us, it was important that although she is no longer on earth, that I released her and me in this way. I didn’t immediately know the effect of that action but the following Sunday I noticed that although there
were numerous things that I normally would have been upset about, I realized I was free from that
burden and a weight was lifted off my shoulders and heart.  I still have a long way to go in becoming a totally
healthy person in my soul, but I am so glad that although painful, God has led me on this journey.

Part of that leading was accomplished through being a member of my Launch Group. It is there that I have
found a place of acceptance and love. They have provided a safe place for me to be able to share my
hurts and struggles and victories.  I am learning that the issue of my value is not determined by my performance. God doesn’t love me any more when I get it perfectly right, and He doesn’t love me any less when I get it all wrong.  The issue of my value is settled at the cross and I must hold on to this truth.

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