Weekly Blog - Emily Smith - Identity
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Posted on: 16th June 2022
Our theme at Leeds Sanctuary this month is “Identity”.
There are many different definitions of “identity”, and interestingly, they are quite varied. The Cambridge dictionary offered this one:
“the fact of being, or feeling that you are, a particular type of person… the qualities that make a person, organisation, etc. different from others.”
The Bible tells us that we should pay attention to our feelings, and take time to examine them. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse – who can understand it?”
My own observation is that feelings are less about who we are, and more about how we respond to other people and events. These responses can be different daily according to all sorts of factors – physical, emotional and spiritual – so basing an identity on feelings alone could lead to personal confusion and low confidence, or alternatively unrealistic certainty and over-confidence.
As Christians, we find our identity rooted in God. “Imago Dei” – made in God’s image, as in Genesis 1 – is an invitation to explore who we are as we learn about who God is. Examining our feelings provides us with an opportunity to pray into difficult or exciting situations; and learning about God through reading Scripture and perhaps theological writings enables us to declare His truth and build a deep-rooted, long-lasting foundation rather than feeling like sands are shifting beneath our feet.
I am not an angry person, just because I experience anger. I am not an unlucky person, just because bad things happen to me. I am a living being, ever-growing and changing, and if I let Him, God can use me to not only show me who He is, but to show others too.
At Leeds Sanctuary, our aim to support people of any faith or none through community. Learn more about us here: www.leedssanctuary.org.uk