Category Archives: Identity

DISC: Cautious, Not Caustic

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

My current boss (not to be confused with my supervisor) is a classic high C. He is consumed only by the task to be performed, the job to be accomplished, and the excellence involved in getting there. He is a very detailed and focused—almost to a fault, because he always demands perfection while rarely engaging personally with others. In fact, it’s even difficult for him to express his appreciation to those who work for him. A few weeks ago, he came into my office and fidgeted uncomfortably in front of my desk for several seconds before launching awkwardly into a monologue on how grateful he was for my diligence and commitment to the office over the last few weeks during our administrative transition. I could see him struggling with how to put his feelings into words, so I interrupted and told him I appreciated his acknowledgement. He then gave me the highest form of a C compliment: he released me early from my duties.

The high C is competent and task oriented, motivated by quality in every area. While they are cautious about everything, they have to be careful when dealing with others, who may see them as caustic and unfeeling. Here are three things to remember about the high C’s in your life:

  • High C’s are known for their clear, rational thinking…which means they are able to separate their emotions and make accurate, logical decisions. Their need for excellence, when paired with this logic, is ideal in many situations, especially the field of medicine. Everyone wants a surgeon who is a logical perfectionist! My boss is cautious and calculating about everything—he weighs every option and circumstance before making a decision. Sometimes, his indecisiveness delays progress, even though his final verdict is usually correct. This week, my boss wanted to delay finishing a large project for one document that was under review. After four days of indecision, he finally decided to finish it and replace the document at a later time—something the rest of the team had already decided three days earlier! He eventually came to the same logical conclusion, even though it was much later.
  • …but many also think they lack warmth and don’t care for others’ feelings. C’s are so task-focused and concerned with results that they don’t always remember that people are people. If you’re unaware that my boss is a high C, your first impression of him while working for him is just that he is unfeeling and cares nothing about the personal lives of people. In fact, as I noted in an earlier blog, this is exactly what caused a bad transition out for our former secretary. While our high C boss was considering long-term decisions and thinking logically about the transition, the former secretary wanted personal affection, attention, and inclusion in the future plans. Her misaligned expectations caused her to misunderstand our boss’s actions and intentions and caused her to be extremely hurt. My boss, on the other hand, did not understand her reaction to him at all—because he had not acted no differently than normal.
  • In conflict, C’s can be harsh and unforgiving. Because they think so rationally, C’s in conflict are concerned with the facts and will use them against you. They seem unconcerned with the feelings of others and only think about who is right (which they usually are). They can be extremely critical and fault-finding. My boss is most concerned about seeing things his way when there’s an issue in the office. When he is upset about something, he becomes focused only on his thoughts about things becoming agitated when he cannot clearly communicate his desires. In a conflict-riddled discussion with my former coworker, he could not understand why she was upset with him—he could only see that he had not done anything wrong.

They may often be caught up in their own heads, but C’s are a great asset to every team. Their ability to think clearly and reasonably make them great friends to help solve problems and think through difficult decisions. Just remember, as with all the DISC types, to have reasonable expectations for them, especially in the area of emotions!

DISC: Silent but Steady

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

She seemed to be very shy until you got to know her. But once I got to know her—and I did, she was quite talkative and open with me. She was a steady support to me, always offering to help in whatever way she possible could. She even would help in the sweetest ways I could think of—offering to do things for me that no one else would. She was constantly thinking of my feelings and tried not to hurt me, even if it meant she was hurt instead. In addition, she was the most reliable person of my group—even if she was working behind the scenes, you eventually knew she was there because of her loyalty and dependability. So who is she? She has many names—because she is every S I’ve ever known and worked with!

High S’s are team players who want to keep peace and stability in group settings, even if it is to their own personal detriment. Though your S’s may not be loud and dominant like your D’s or the center of attention like your I’s, the S’s are balanced and secure, providing much needed stability to every group dynamic. And here are a few important things to remember about the high S personality profile:

  • High S’s work best in a stable, secure environment…My former high S coworker had been in our office for 10 years—since she was 17 years old! She had loved what she was doing, but most importantly, she knew the office and the job very well and was very comfortable in doing it. It was to our benefit that she provided everything for our office, and she did so with a smile every day. She took care of every need in the office and knew how to do everything, and often did so in the background. This is your typical S: always accomplishing what needs to be done without being asked while being your all-around team player.
  • …but they do not adapt well to change. My former coworker had not been through many changes in the office until around the time I started. However, I noticed that her normally pleasant demeanor became terse and threatening when office policies and procedures began changing. In addition, when she chose to take a new job, the pressure of making a change after ten years in our office weighed heavily on her. In response to the pressure, she became increasingly unpleasant in her interactions and took every interaction personally. It was a rough transition for everyone.
  • In conflict, S’s tend to give in—unless their family or close friends are being targeted. S’s are seen as extremely loyal to their family and close friends; they may not fight back when they are targeted personally, but if someone attacks their family, they will respond like a D! In other situations, they may remain quiet or make choices that will bring peace to the situation. Unlike the I’s, an S’s main goal is security, so he will do whatever is necessary to bring peace, even if it means their own personal comfort is challenged. Like I’s, S’s are people pleasers, so in conflict, S’s will seek the greater good of others before themselves. My former coworker tended to be quiet in situations where she did not agree with the action being taken at work. However, when it came to her family, she was adamant and direct in defending them at every turn.

S’s certainly are not silent—but they are great listeners who are more concerned about other people than tasks being accomplished. Like a car’s engine, they are an integral part of a working team, making sure that everything runs smoothly, even if they aren’t being seen and heard. When working with S’s, it’s important to remember to give them plenty of time to change but also to encourage them to embrace change as an opportunity for growth. It will help them as well as you!

How do you help the S’s in your life navigate change? 

DISC: You’d Better Recogn-I’s!

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

My supervisor is a high I—the inspiring, influencing one in the office. He wants to be everyone’s friend—and he tends to get upset if he is not seen as such. In every situation, he must be the center of attention and the life of the party—he’s fun-loving and outgoing and always telling an interesting story. He just wants everyone to like him. Once when I said something that upset him, he thought about it for hours before confronting me. Then when he did confront me, he used his words and emotions to convey himself, hurting me with his words in the process. However, knowing he’s an I and how he thinks, I made the intelligent decision to apologize for how I might have come across—and as a final offering, I asked him if he and I were “okay.” I did the latter because I know that for him, being “liked” by me was far more important than any apology. He forgot the situation almost instantly.

Everyone knows that high I’s in their lives: the life of the party, the salesman, the emotional one who wants to be well-liked and popular. Their basic motivation is recognition—so most people definitely know who they are! But here are a few things to remember about the high I personality profile:

  • I’s stand out in a crowd, mostly because they love people….They want to be popular and look good and be known as fun-loving and outgoing. People like to be around them because of their ability to inspire others with their energetic personality and exciting attitude. My supervisor is the first person to organize a happy hour and ask you how your weekend was. He’s not making small-talk—he is genuinely interested in people’s lives and what’s going on with them. He can strike up a conversation with anyone—because I’s become friends with everyone they meet! The other personality profiles could learn a lot about forming relationships and improving their people skills from the I’s.
  • …and sometimes they stand out because they are seeking recognition and attention. They don’t just want to stand out—many times, they need to stand out. This need for attention and approval from others is excessive in your high I’s. In addition, their need for attention may cause time management problems. My supervisor never wants to spend too much time in his office, looking at a computer screen—he wants to be in the middle of the action! He wanders around the office numerous times a day searching for personal interaction—to share an anecdote, tell a story, or just check in with everyone. However, this need for personal attention often results in having to take work home with him or rushed work to meet deadlines.
  • In conflict, I’s are very compromising. Wanting to be liked, needing to please others, and being motivated by recognition means that high I’s only want peace in conflict situations. They try to avoid conflict if at all possible. But mostly, they don’t want anyone to dislike them, so they are more prone to make the easy choice instead of the right one. I have watched my supervisor struggle with this many times over the past year. What I’s need to remember about conflict is that “I” is the middle letter in the word “pride”—in other words, that they should not let their ego and people pleasing deter them for standing up for what is right. Don’t worry about being popular, worry about doing the right thing.

Influencing others can be a great asset or a great flaw in high I’s. They should focus on using their people skills to create peaceful environments, whether at home or at work—but not for the sake of pleasing others. If I’s can focus less on their desire for attention, they can focus more on being natural leaders who inspire and motivate others to be their best!

Do you know a high I? What’s your favorite thing about him or her?

DISC: The Dominating D’s

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

The pastor and his wife had just come to the church and started a contemporary service, and now they had a band—would I be interested in joining them since I was a musician, the pastor’s wife wondered? I showed up to that first rehearsal and took in everything, offering my opinion and my talents at piano and voice. I had been involved in the band for less than a month when something drastic happened: I had taken over leadership of the band. I was organizing rehearsals, choosing the music, and finding the best way to use the personnel. Even better (or worse?), I wasn’t accepting much advice or input from anyone. Interestingly enough, I had never been in or led a band before—but when I arrived at the band that first day, I had seen something that wasn’t working at its best, and my personality kicked into high gear.

Everyone can pick out a high D in their life: that one decisive, demanding person who will step into a challenge and get the job done. You may know them, but here are a few interesting things to remember about high D’s:

A high D loves a challenge…Per Dr. Mels Carbonell, a D does not work well in an environment where there is not challenge and choice. They need these things to be successful in their careers and their relationships. Challenges present a time for them to put their “doing” to the test. In the case above, God had gifted me to clearly see how to use each person on the team in the best way. I was motivated by the desire to have an excellent worship team where each person was used in a way that brought the team the most benefits. This was a challenge, because I hadn’t been playing with the band for any time—but as my time with them grew, so did the challenge of fitting all the pieces together to create something beautiful for God.

…but be careful, because D’s also may offend others in their efforts to improve a situation. Because D’s are usually demanding task-oriented doers who test and challenge authority, they do not respect leaders who are not strong. They cannot handle when there is a lack of direction and discipline! When I walked into that situation in my church years ago, I sensed that the leadership was not strong, so I stepped up to the plate. But on my way to the batter’s box, I pushed aside several people without thought for their feelings. The band may have been better because of it, but my personal relationships suffered. And personal relationships—especially the areas of love, patience, and kindness—are where the D needs to grow the most.

In conflict…D’s tend to attack and want to be right. This can lead to intense conflicts, especially between two D’s. Perhaps as they mature, D’s will begin to think things through before confronting others! Hopefully, high D’s will begin to embrace the mantra that it is better to be well than to be right. While I am still trying to improve in this area, I personally have found the battle is for my mind more than my mouth! If I can stop the thoughts, I am more likely to stop the action. I also am learning, however, to handle conflict with more sensitivity and compassion, again—two things that D’s tend to struggle with.

Dealing with D’s can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect—and while you can expect demanding, intense, bossy dominance from them, you can also expect them to excel in trying situations and to accomplish every task that is before them, no matter how challenging. Like all of the personality types and blends, D’s have some room for growth, but we are an important part of any team, family, or relationship group. So embrace our pushiness and watch us flourish!

Do you have any D’s in your life? How do you handle their direct dominance?

DISC: Personality Is Not Everything!

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image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

When my coworker got a new job, I knew she would have a difficult time with the transition because she’s an S. I just didn’t anticipate HOW difficult it was going to be. From the minute she accepted the new job, she took everything our boss—a high C—did as a personal insult to justify her decision to leave. She made the work environment a tense and awful place to work for six weeks before my boss finally asked her to leave early on her last day. The first day without her was the first time I relaxed in weeks. And none of this had anything to do with how she was being treated—but it had everything to do with personality differences.

In addition to the beauty of spiritual gifts, God has also given us distinct personality types that I will blog about for the next few weeks. The best personality assessment that I’ve found to match with spiritual gifts is the DISC personality profile. DISC was created by William Marsten and made popular by Walter Vernon Clarke, and it has been used for many years to encourage community, create cohesiveness, and combat conflict in relationships of all types. Here’s what you need to know about the four basic personality types of DISC:

  • D stands for the dominant personality. D’s like to be challenged and tend to be determined, decisive, and demanding. You can always find a D doing—because that’s what we love to do most. We are task-oriented and can take charge if given the reigns. I am a high D who tends to walk into a group and take over—especially if there is weak leadership. Like all D’s, I love a challenge, though, and I am fearless and forward when it comes to accomplishing something. In conflict, D’s can be stubborn and hardheaded as well as assertive—which can make for interesting team dynamics!
  • The I’s are your natural salesmen—the inspiring personality. They like to influence, impress, and interact with others—the life of the party. Most I’s like to tell stories and get noticed, wanting to be recognized and not paying enough attention to detail. My supervisor (beneath my boss) is a high I—and he loves people. I’s are people-oriented and thrive when they can be in relationship with others and have prestige. My supervisor loves to plan happy hours, tell jokes, and be your friend. But when it comes to conflict, I’s are easily hurt by criticism and will try to talk their way out of anything.
  • S’s look for security as their motivation. They, too, are people-oriented but tend to be more passive. They are your shy, stable, servants who love to have personal support and need plenty of time to adjust to change. They thrive in consistent, familiar environments and are mostly relaxed and friendly to everyone. My former coworker is a high S who was incredible at her job because she had been in that office for 10 years. So when she decided to take a new job, it was easier to find security in her decision by creating conflict where it did not exist.
  • The C is for your cautious, competent person. They are careful and contemplative about everything, and their main motivation is quality. C’s are task-oriented and give thorough explanations to everything. My boss is a high C— a detailed professional who brings zero personal issues into the workplace. He does not come to work to make friends; he comes to accomplish tasks in a clear and precise manner. He has a high standard of excellence and strives to meet it. In conflict, C’s may stick to the facts and ignore feelings—and this is exactly what caused so much strife between my boss and coworker during her transition out of our office.

Personality is not everything, but it is a large part of who we are! When you better understand your personality and others’, you can have more grace for them. I will discuss more about each individual personality trait over the next couple of weeks, including some personality blends. Join me in this new series as we discuss more how our personalities influence our identities!

From these brief descriptions, what DISC personality type do you think you are?

The God Identity: Perseverance

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

If there’s one thing that I remember from having a porn/lust addiction, it was that during tough times, I had something to turn to—my addiction. Whenever I was feeling lonely or down, I could watch magazines or cable TV shows that would feed my “pleasure zone”—the receptors in my brain that released that oh-so-feel-good oxytocin. And if those things weren’t available (which they weren’t, after I restricted myself), it was fantasizing. I could easily lose myself in my thoughts, focusing on things that would make me happy, whether physical or emotional intimacy. By doing this, I would simply immerse myself in a world where I had no hardships until reality settled itself back down. Unfortunately, due to my hiding, my God identity trait of perseverance was severely underdeveloped.

Google defines perseverance as “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Here are three things I am learning about persevering as God intends:

  • Perseverance should make us joyful. The porn identity told me that no one cared that I was suffering, so I should withdraw from everyone and focus on my addiction/fantasy life. I would also whine and cry through my suffering (I’m still working on this!) until it was over. But the Bible says that we should rejoice in our sufferings (Romans 5:3)—one of the hardest things to learn. One of the ways I try to rejoice is by reminding myself that the devil is always going to attack those he feels are a threat to him, those who may have significance in the kingdom of God. So when things are going well for me, I have to ask—have I become complacent about my walk with God? Because Jesus did not say “if” you experience troubles in this world, he said “when!” So I should be joyful during difficulties, knowing that my suffering is normal and that God plans to use me in a great way—if I will just persevere!
  • Perseverance produces maturity. My porn addiction forced me to stay in what author Tim Challies calls pornolescence. This adolescent mindset made me believe that I could stay the way I was, keep doing the things I was doing, and still be godly and holy—and fulfill the God’s calling on my life. But truthfully, I was not growing in character, wisdom, or maturity in my walk with God. When tough times came, I was turning immediately to what would make me feel better, not what would make me BE better. But taking on the God identity means persevering and maturing in Christ. James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Trials produce steadfastness—if we let them. And when perseverance takes full effect in us, we mature in Jesus.
  • Perseverance brings blessings. I feel like I missed out on a lot of blessings in my life because I didn’t choose to persevere through trials—I chose to hide. I feel this most in my relationships with others. Being a prophet gift who sees and knows truth within relationships is difficult; and when I am hurt, sometimes I want to hurt others or withdraw instead of pushing through the difficulties of talking things through with others. Because of this, I’ve missed the blessings of strengthening my relationships. But the Bible says I’ve missed even more than that! The Bible says that those who endure will receive what is promised (Hebrews 10:36). The promises of God are many and wonderful, and I can’t help but wonder what other promises I have missed because I have not worked on developing perseverance.

The great news is that I don’t have to miss any more promises and blessings! I can start developing perseverance today—and I have. In the midst of my current hardships, I have been choosing to focus my thoughts more on God. Better yet, I am choosing to persevere, even though life is challenging right now. But I take solace in knowing that if the trouble is big, then the reward will be even bigger—including maturity and growth in my most important relationship (with God) and the strength to face whatever is next!

The God Identity: Grace

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

I spent this past holiday weekend with two people who have hurt me recently. One is a younger girl friend that has leaned heavily on me this past year, only to disappear during the last few months when I’ve been struggling. The other is a friend of hers—a guy who used me over the course of the last year to meet his touch and attention needs yet ran the moment I became vulnerable with him. When I realized they would be attending the beach weekend, I prayed about whether to go. I asked my best friend, who told me to stay home—and I countered by saying that I was rusty in the area of grace and needed to practice. I even encouraged my bestie to show some grace to a girl in his life that had recently hurt him. So I went, had a blast spending time with friends besides those two, and tried to show grace for those two while keeping appropriate boundaries.

How do you move forward from hurt? How do you face someone who has hurt you and willingly forgive her? How do you draw a fine line between forgiveness and trust? We struggle with the answer to these questions, but the answer is simple: grace. But while the answer is simple, grace itself is hard, and here are two reasons grace has been difficult for me:

  • Grace hurts. Christ died for us while we were still sinners. He was crucified—a very painful death process that involved excruciating pain for hours and hours. There was not only physical pain, but the emotional pain of being separated from His Father and abandoned by His friends. So grace, by its very nature from the original Giver of grace, is painful for the one who gives it. This morning while rehearsing our worship set, I burst into tears in the middle of a song about Jesus rescuing us. I cried through our whole worship set. I have cried all day because of the intense emotional pain I felt this weekend—the pain of closure, the pain of the changing friendship with my gal pal, the pain of fighting against my flesh since last Wednesday, the pain of my own need for grace. But I also know this is a tiny fraction of the pain Jesus suffered for me—so I need to suck it up.
  • Grace is God-centered, not feelings-centered. Grace usually asks us to act the exact opposite of what we are feeling. The moment I saw the guy who had hurt me, I wanted to hit him with my car. When he said he left something we needed at his house, I wanted to make him and everyone else suffer without the items. When he got sick with diarrhea and spent part of the weekend in bed, I wanted to laugh and make fun of him. Instead of doing these things, I tried to push down those feelings and think about what God would do. When I saw him, I greeted him with a smile. I offered to and did take him to his house to pick up the forgotten items. I asked if he was okay after his bathroom bouts. I even left later from the beach than I originally wanted so that he and his friends could enjoy a boat ride. I wasn’t perfect, though: I did laugh at his “predicament,” I was annoyed about leaving later, and I was less than nice to him on occasion. But that was a reminder for me that I, too, need grace—from God and others. Grace is not just about serving those who are good to us; grace is about serving the undeserving—those who don’t love or serve us. Jesus died for all sinners, and that includes me and you.

Grace may be challenging but I have to keep working at it. The more I stop focusing on my feelings and start focusing on God, the less pain I will experience. I won’t be perfect at showing grace in this lifetime, but I can keep practicing. And since practice makes perfect, I look forward to reaching that state of perfection with God—when there will be no more crying or pain.

The God Identity: Patience

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Tonight for dinner, I had Grandma Utz’s potato chips, three chocolate covered strawberries, watermelon, and an Honest Tea juice box. Let’s face it: I’m eating my feelings. I’ve been going through an intense time of suffering, and the end is not in sight. My uncle is recovering from a massive stroke, my dad is close to dying, my job is stressful and changing drastically, and my friends have felt distant. My response has been to wallow, throw pity parties, and ignore my physical health. Worst of all, I haven’t had much patience with anyone—God, myself, or others. I’ve been really self-absorbed and irritated with everyone—including myself (see previous blog posts for examples!).

As I was convicted of this, I realized that I was allowing some aspects of the porn identity to take over my life in an area where the God identity has been trying to take hold: patience. We tend to think of patience as affecting only one area of our lives (timing), but here are the three areas where I’m trying to improve and adopt the God identity characteristic of patience in my life:

  • Patience for timing. I tend to think that my timing is perfect, and God is usually late. I know the phrase, “God is always on time” but I rarely live like that’s true. No question has been bigger in my life than, “God, where is my husband?” There was a time when I was unhealthy and addicted and I know that would have been a terrible time for me to get married. But now that I’m healthier and committed to walking with God, my struggle is even bigger. “I was closer to getting married when I was unhealthy than I am now!,” I reason with God. But the Bible says that it is not for me to know the times or the seasons God has fixed by His own authority (Acts 1:7). And each time I can peacefully accept God’s timing in my life, I am practicing patience.
  • Patience for others’ mistakes or sins. In the past, I have had very little patience for the mistakes and sins of others. I tend to get very impatient with people who don’t see truth right away as I do. Often, this means folks are missing truth and sinning instead of recognizing the truth and doing right. And this makes me angry—angry that people don’t realize they aren’t walking in truth, and angry that I am trying to do the right thing while others are not! And when I’m angry, I’m not waiting OR doing the right thing. But the Bible says that I should not become tired of doing good, because in due season, I’m going to reap a harvest (Galatians 6:9). And each time I hold back judgment while a friend muddles through a mistake or sin, I am practicing patience.
  • Patience for times of suffering. This is where I’m currently struggling the most. I can’t remember a time when I’ve prayed less than these past eight weeks. I’ve told my friends that their prayers have sustained me—and that’s true, but mostly because I’ve not been as vigilant about seeking the Lord during this time as I have sought solace, food, and other things to blame. Quite honestly, I’ve had little patience for this time of suffering—which has made me less patient for God’s timing and others’ mistakes and sins, too. Then today, I saw a Bible verse that reminded me of what I’m supposed to do when suffering and trials head my way: I should rejoice in hope, be patient in trials, and be constantly praying (Romans 12:12). Perhaps if I focus on doing these three important things, I can begin practicing patience during this time of intense suffering.

It’s not too late for me—or you! We can begin practicing patience today in any or all of these areas. The Bible lists many promises for those who wait on the Lord and show the virtue of patience: inheritance, blessing, strength, hope, etc. These are all things we want in our lives—the question is, are we able to develop patience so that we can have them? The God identity says that we can—so I challenge you to start today with me!

The God Identity: Meet Your Maker

Identity by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ freedigitalphotos.net

“The prophet and mercy will stand together.” I heard it clearer than anything I’d ever heard. It was 2:30 a.m., and God had just woke me up and immersed me in His presence. Those words were the only thing I had heard crystal clear, and I was trembling. I couldn’t fall back asleep, as I mulled the phrase over in my mind, trying to figure out what it meant. The next day, I confided my middle-of-the-night meeting with God to a couple of close friends who held me accountable. And throughout the course of my conversations with them and further conversation with God, a part of my identity was revealed: I was a pushy prophet girl. Pushy prophet girl existed because of my intense desire to always push people along at my pace or push people away. It is a great identity for a life coach who desires to spur others on to greater health; but my friends often found it tiring. Obviously, it was a part of my prophet spiritual gift and D (dominant) personality, but it was also the result of many wounds and experiences in my life where I had learned to push people away or expect them to “travel” at my speed. And I needed to hear that about myself from loving friends so that I could begin to explore this part of my God-given identity.

When addictions and other things have defined you for so long, it can be difficult to allow your Creator God to tell you who you really are—and how you need to change. But here are two amazing things to understand about the author of the God identity:

  • The author of the God identity wants you to know and love Him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). It is the first of the greatest commandments, according to Jesus Himself. It is God’s desire that we spend time with Him, not only so that we will know Him, but also so that we can know ourselves. Most people spend time with their families of origin so that they can understand who they are. But too many people forego spending time with the One who knew them before they were born, who has counted every hair on their heads, and who loves them unconditionally. God is our Father, and He calls us to Him, desiring to reveal more about Himself to us. So whether it is a midnight session with Him or daily quality time with Him through His Word, we must respond to His call for relationship with Him.
  • The author of the God identity wants you to know and love yourself. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The first step to knowing yourself is knowing God. But the Bible specifically states that you are to love others in proportion to how you love yourself. So how well do you love yourself? Do you know yourself? What are your spiritual gifts? What are your motivations? What experiences have you had? What natural talents and abilities do you have? Too many people walk through life not knowing the answers to these questions. And while these things make up your identity, it is God who has defined you and named you as His child. The Bible says that we were each fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), which means that each of us is unique and has been gifted in beautiful ways. Do you know and embrace these things about yourself so that you can respect and love these things in others?

Know God, know thyself. As we walk through this series, we will be looking at characteristics of God, because as the author of our identities, He has called us to be like Himself. So in knowing Him, we will know who we are supposed to be, and how we truly should be loving ourselves and loving others. I hope that you will learn and walk in your God identity over the next few weeks—and that you will truly meet your Maker in a new and fresh way!

The Porn Identity: Meet the Author

ID-10056400The voice inside my head is no mystery to me—I’m very familiar with his noise. Sometimes, he is bold and negative, telling me that I’ll never amount to anything. That no one cares about me or understands me. That I’m not worth it. That other people don’t deserve forgiveness. That I deserve vindication. That being right is more important than being well. Other times, he is quiet and subtle, telling me that watching one small sex scene in a movie is acceptable. That withholding love from someone who hurt me is okay. That giving in to one small sin is not a big deal. That if God really cared about me, He would be meeting all of my wants, not just all of my needs. That I can “fix” my desires for companionship easily, if I just bend the rules a bit. The voice will encourage me to embrace all the characteristics of the porn identity, because if I do, the voice wins.

I know I’m not alone—you’ve heard that voice, too. And in my opinion, the church spends too little time discussing the warfare and spiritual battles that we face every single day—the battlefield of the mind, as Joyce Meyer calls it. But we should be talking more about it, because if there is an author and perfecter of our faith—and there is, then there is certainly an author and perfecter of destruction and evil—and there is. He is the voice, and his name is Satan, and here are a few things to remember about him—the author of the porn identity:

  • He is a liar and a murderer. John 8:44 says, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” This is the Satan we expect, the one who tells us lies and wants us to believe everything that is contrary to the Word of God. He will want you to believe that you are unlovable, unworthy, unredeemable—and he will tell you over and over in hopes that you will believe it. He seeks to destroy everything that is good and holy, killing our will and hope as well. Satan is the sower of every kind of death.
  • He disguises himself. This is the Satan we do not expect. The Word says that Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)—meaning he uses seemingly godly things to distract us from God’s goals, distance us from Jesus and others, and disintegrate our faith. He also will take one aspect of the truth and twist it so that it seems true—and then use that to draw us away from Christ. He will use a divine appointment to create disharmony and disappointment. Because of this, we must be vigilant, because he doesn’t always come as the liar or murderer we expect.
  • He is actively searching you out. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The verb tense used here means that the devil is actively, constantly seeking for someone to devour. That means you don’t have to be actively looking for trouble, because trouble is searching for you. If you are actively seeking to please Christ with your thoughts and actions, then you can expect warfare, battles, temptations, and evil. The devil is especially interested in creating division and dissension in the church—because he already has the world.

Even though the author of the porn identity is real and is working hard to write our story, he does not get to pen the final chapters! There is good news—good news about our story, good news about Satan’s fate, and good news about the porn identity. Join me next week to hear that good news as we begin by meeting the author and perfecter of the God identity!