For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:18-20, ESV)
I've found myself thinking a lot this week (especially since Friday) about my current career situation. I'm in what the career coaches call "active search mode" after some business decisions left me and others with the opportunity to seek out new situations. The men who read this will immediately identify with what I am going to say. Many of the ladies will as well, most likely because of the men in their lives. I tend to identify myself in a large way by how I earn my living. I'm pretty good at what I do and there is nothing wrong with this up to a point. Most men have a similar identification with their career pursuit. It is, at least in part, how God has wired us.
But God never meant that to be our primary identity. And, while I am also a father and husband, my true identity cannot lie their either. God continually calls us to set aside our perception of identity for what He has offered. Probably the most striking example is the story of Abraham (see Genesis or even Hebrews 11 for a brief review). God called this man out of his native land, away from his family and friends. He really didn't know where he was going but, instead, trusted God to provide. And mind you, this was a God Whom Abraham hadn't known for very long.
This same God who drew Abraham out of his native element, promised him a son. And, when Abraham finally surrendered his own will (and identity) on that matter, gave him Isaac ... then asked him to sacrifice that beloved son. Abraham, again showing his willingness to lay aside his own thoughts on his identity, took the boy to Mount Moriah and willingly laid him on the altar. God intervened, as you well remember, but I think we glimpse more of Abraham's heart here than we see anywhere else in the story. In the end, when called out by God, Abraham was willing to rest the entirety of himself - his very identity - in the capable hands of the God who had lead him all the way. His trust was, at least as far as human terms can take it, complete.
During this rather uncertain part of my own Crooked Path, perhaps God has put me in this exact position and circumstance so that I can take the lesson from Abraham and re-evaluate where my identity lies. Instead of calling myself out as a professional, a father, a husband, or anything else, when somebody asks, "Who are you?" I can answer from my heart ... "I am God's child because of what Jesus did for me." That would definitely solve any identity crisis I might feel. God hasn't changed and I can trust Him completely.