That’s roughly the number of days I’ve lived.
If you’re 44, you’ve lived roughly 16,060 days.
57? 20,805 days.
24? 8,760 days.
76? 27,740 days.
No matter how old you are, if you’re old enough to read this, you’ve lived thousands of days.
During those days, you’ve conditioned yourself in ways of thinking. The way you think about yourself, others, God, and the world have come from day after day after day of practice.
Some of those ways of thinking are harmful, some of them are very helpful.
One area those ways of thinking harms or helps relates to our identity. And this is why overcoming unhelpful views of ourselves is so difficult.
Because we’ve had loads and loads of practice!
Overcoming Insecurity Isn’t Easy for Any of Us
And the post struck a nerve! From the comments, messages, and stats, this seems to be a very important topic which affects many of us.
As I was talking with a reader about the idea I proposed (writing identity statements), I asked if it would be helpful to walk through some practical steps. My friend said, “YES!”
So, if you didn’t read that article, go check it out and then come back here.
4 Practical Steps to Creating Identity Statements
In the Scriptures, the Apostle Paul described the path to peace as running through our mental practices.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Identity statements help clarify the truth of who you are and empower you to replace insecurity with your true identity. I’ve broken the process of creating these statements into four steps.
I’ve broken the process of creating these statements into four steps.
STEP 1: Brainstorm the Raw Material
To write your identity statements, I want to encourage you to process through a series of questions. You can do this on your phone or you can grab a piece of paper and write down your responses to these 5 prompts.
- Who do the people who love and care about me say I am?
- What would I still have to offer the world if I lost my job, along with my most valuable skills and abilities?
- If you’re a follower of Jesus, who does the Scripture say that you are? (Check out Romans 8, Ephesians 1-2)
- Why do I have worth and value in the eyes of other people and God?
- What truths do I believe about who other people are, but have a hard time believing about myself?
STEP 2: Decide the Form You Prefer for Your Identity Statements.
Once you’ve answered those questions, the next step is to identify what form you prefer. (In the following step, you’re going to create something which you’re going to revisit every day, maybe even multiple times a day.)
You need to decide the form you prefer to use. Would you rather have a more narrative approach to your identity statements (think two or three medium-length paragraphs) or would you rather have a list of bullet points?
One is not better than the other. This is your creation, so go with your preference.
STEP 3: Create Your Identity Statements.
Using your answers to the prompts in Step 1, write out your sense of who you are. Some of the things you wrote in Step 1 will be hard for you to believe about yourself. That’s okay! This is the very reason for this exercise.
Take the content of your responses to those questions and turn it into a list of identity statements or series of paragraphs about who you are.
Remember – this is not a list of what you do, what your gifts and skills are, or even a list of your goals for the future. This is a list of who you are, an expression of your worth and value.
STEP 4: Practice Your Identity Statements
The set of beliefs you currently have about yourself are different than the list or narrative you just created. If you’re really honest, the gap might be pretty big between what you believe about yourself and what you just created.
We’ve formed the beliefs about ourselves over hundreds or thousands of days. Writing out what you just did won’t replace that thinking immediately.
I’m a couple weeks into my journey with my own narrative and it’s a tough switch to make. But practicing this replacement process is getting easier each day.
I want to encourage you to read the identity statements you just created every morning for the next 3 weeks. You’ll miss a day here and there and that’s okay. But be consistent and persistent in reading and repeating these words.
Depending on how big the gap is (between your list and what you currently believe about yourself), consider revisiting it multiple times a day. I’m currently practicing my list of words two or three times a day. One day last week, I came back to them four times. (I’ve got a lot I’m trying to unlearn and replace!)
An Example of Identity Statements
After you create your identity statements (and I mean this, stop reading before making your own), here’s a section of my narrative. Please don’t copy mine; I’m sharing them to encourage you, not to save from the important work represented in those four steps above.
My identity statements are currently constructed to address insecurity I face as a pastor and author.
“I am the Beloved of God, loved for who I am not what I do. This is my truest self and everything I do flows from it. What I do flows from who I am. What I do is not who I am. I bring value to my church attendees and readers by telling the truth. I share authentically and with appropriate levels of vulnerability. I share from my scars, not my scabs. Using a wide range of material from my personal reading and study, I reinforce and deepen the application of the content I teach. I let people into my own struggles, so they can trust my perspective and see my desire to be a humble guide, not an arrogant hero.I am capable of helping others overcome their fears, develop new perspectives, abandon unhelpful beliefs, and take courageous steps forward. People read and listen to my words and leave enlightened and empowered, rather than condemned and defeated……Who I am does not depend on my performance or output as a pastor or author. My worth and value are not up for someone I don’t know and haven’t met to determine. Who I am, my worth and value, have been declared by the one who made me in His image and gave his life for my redemption. I am unconditionally loved by God. God loves me based me on His character, not my performance.”
Share Your Identity Statements With Me
I hope this practical experience helps you to claim and develop your God-given identity.
What God says about you is the truest thing about you. And once you believe it and embrace it, your true self can become the source from which you create and live and love. I’d love to know how this process works for you over the next few weeks or months.
I’m hoping you’ll find what I’ve found – freedom!