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About Identity

“Remember who you are and who you belong to”

God impressed this revelation on me at a pivotal point in my life. It became my anchor. Whenever the load becomes unbearable, whenever I feel crushed under the weight of responsibilities, others opinions, harsh realities, I remember who I am and who I belong to. I am beloved and I belong to Jesus.

This identity had always been mine, but it had to hard won back in the battlefield of my mind.


From a young age, women in my culture are told to fit in, at all cost. The messaging starts way too young, through media, which in my day was television, billboards, magazines. Comparison, measuring, fitting the mould. Nowadays I can’t even imagine how much harder it must be for our children.


Before I had my own kids, I would watch the children play around the pool at the apartment complex I lived at. The boys would race around randomly throwing themselves into the water, there were no instructions, just play. The girls would gather together in a group, one would inevitably take the lead and the girls were told how the play would go, what the rules are, they were organised, compliant. I remember this from my own childhood. There was a girl named Alison in my primary class, she was always creating a new club, organising us, telling us the rules, we would comply. Nothing changed as we grew, the older we became those clubs became cliques, of mean girls, cool girls, emo girls, nerd girls and reject girls.


I was a reject girl, I was bullied from age ten onwards relentlessly about how I looked, what I said, what I did, anything you can think of. The older we got, the meaner they became, the smaller I tried to be, to fit in, to comply at all cost. Something inside of me had broken so young, I started to believe I was inherently flawed.


In my late thirties with my mentor Alicia, we did an incredible life map exercise. Over the weeks we looked at stages of life and at the end of eight weeks we looked at the whole map in its entirety. I discovered there was a pervasive emotion lurking there I had carried through the decades of my life: I felt like a fraud.


Why a fraud above all things? I couldn't say at the time, it seemed an odd choice out of so many feelings I could have felt. But as an older wiser adult I discovered all my fitting in and compliance had formed this feeling of fraudulent self and it had a name - it’s called SHAME and it protects itself with a shield named 'people pleaser', which causes us to crush our own identity and become something else. There's not usually a sinister internal motive for this, it’s actually a beautiful way our bodies and mind form protective mechanisms around us in childhood, when we need them most. But there is a sinister motive from our enemy that makes us buy into this lie, sometimes for the rest of our lives.


If we truly know who we are and who we belong to, we are unstoppable.

There is nothing we could not accomplish for the cause of good in this world, we would do amazing things.

For my entire life I had allowed ANYONE to tell me who I am and how I had to be and with the genius of a perfectionist, I was able to fit the mould with finesse. Always aim to please. Be a fraud. Not because I wanted to fool the world, but because I feared the world. I was afraid that when the mean girls saw who I really was, their cruelty would become unbearable. It's one thing to be bullied for something that isn't true, but what if they're bullying you for something that is? Unbearable. Fraud is how I survived my twenty year marriage - always aim to please, be kind, don't talk about it, don't show him you hurt, walk the line, don’t put a foot wrong, be afraid.


Why fraud? It’s not just a feeling, it’s a lie we believe. It’s also called 'imposter syndrome', the thing that tells us we don’t belong, that we are not enough, that there’s something terribly wrong with us, that we are inherently flawed. This drives us towards perfectionism which again does not start with a sinister internal motive, again a beautiful way our bodies and mind are designed to form protective mechanisms around us. The sinister part is, the imposter-fraud feeling that propels us to perfection, is seated in the original lie that formed the deepest pain all of humanity faces - deep relentless shame.


I tried to be perfect, I didn't expect anyone else to be. It was the protection I needed as a child - if I behave well, perform well, if I’m nice to people, if I do as I’m told, if I’m overly kind, if I please them, if I don't speak up for myself, if I accept however they treat me, if I take the blame, then I wouldn’t have to face their faces of cruelty, but in the process I became faceless. I sent my representative out into the world wearing a mask of ‘I’m good’, clothed in a shield of ‘everything is fine’, a performer costumed up, with my true identity hidden so deep under a slurry of sticky tar like shame.


I became kinder than God himself, that’s what one of my therapists said to me and I knew it to be true. Kinder-than-God type fraud also has a name, it’s called 'rescuing'. If there was a need, I would ride the wind on my white horse, like the saviour Prince of Peace of biblical fame, to carry the burden of emotions and problems that were not my own - "I will rescue you". What seemed to be boundless love, was boundary-less loss of self, from the misinformed christian standard of “here am I, send me” becoming “here am I, step on me” : I am the doormat. Not only did I rescue people from their problems by putting my needs last, I rescued them from their feelings by putting mine last too.


The pleaser, perfectionist, Princess of Peace, performing for an audience of everyone but really no one, losing myself in the process, suffering from shame-sickness because I inevitably came up short. I didn't know yet I only ever needed to be loved by the One who consistently sends me the invitation, “Remember who you are and who you belong to”.


All of humanity has suffered identity theft by our sinister enemy, we have all suffered in the slurry of shame. But the thief who stole our identity has to give it back. Through the process of the worst pain I have ever suffered in my life, the lies that I had believed about myself, the ways I behaved to protect myself, were slowly and surely removed by the whisper of my loving Yahweh “Remember who you are and who you belong to”.


Who even am I?


Most of us women ask this question, especially during times of transition, for example motherhood. I remember as a new mother with my newborn son, pushing his pram through the mall in the middle of a working week day, just for something to do. I wondered, who the heck am I? As a young woman I had forged ahead in my career and leadership I felt like a somebody, but as I became a mother and my life completely changed, I suddenly felt like a nobody in Nowhere’s Land and I grieved.


Basing who we are (identity) in what we do is the way of this world, it says so in Genesis when the man and the woman took their eyes from Yahweh. The woman, she turned to the man for her identity, and the man, he turned to the ground (the work of his hands) for his. In our human condition we all do this every day, we look to each other and we look to the ground, all the while our backs to the One who formed our identity before we were even conceived. Is it any wonder that the bible then describes the love of God as pursuing us, chasing us, as we run like donkeys off a cliff onto the rocky shore of another relationship, career, opportunity, that will never give us an inkling about who we really are, because we don't even realise who we belong to?


Oh how I wish each person could experience the moments I have since had with Jesus, where he turns my face toward him and holds my cheeks in his hands, he presses his forehead to mine and he says “eyes on me - remember who you are and who you belong to” This has been my everything. Our humanity was made to form our identity under His gaze and affirmation.


Who even am I? I am beloved by God, beautiful and carefully made, with unique talents, traits and for a purpose that will bless me as much as the world around me. I was not made to be ‘used’ by God, I was made to be loved first and from love I will achieve a purpose that will be so delightful it wont feel like work. That’s why you will always see me write ‘Be Loved, Beloved’. Because you are beloved, you just need to let yourself be loved by the One who knows you better than you know yourself.


This revelation was slowly won back over years, through what I describe as my Red-Sea-Crossing. A terrifying transition out of 'Egypt’s land' of shame, through a terrifying sea of uncertainty, panic and trauma, during my 40th year in the desert. Most often the only way OUT is THROUGH. I followed Yahweh into the sea, through trauma, chaos, roaring and silence all at once, out onto the threshold of the land He had promised to me. As much as my crossing over was terrifying and traumatic, I wouldn't have shortened the length of it by a day. I discovered that allowing myself to persevere through pain was my propulsion to transformation. Yahweh, He knows how long it will take to show us ourselves through His eyes until the revelation finally drops.

Red Sea Crossing

My Red-Sea-Crossing was divorce; the transition that nobody wants yet half of all married people go through. The. most. painful. thing I have ever experienced. I can only describe it like being skinned alive, very slowly. At least I imagine that’s the most painful thing on earth; such was divorce for me. Amongst everything that this transition encapsulates, there’s a major part that shakes your identity as a human. Going from ‘married to…’, to kinda nobody belonging nowhere in human terms. But that’s not the main thing that propelled me into the arms of Jesus to take back my identity.


At it’s core, people pleasing, lack of boundaries, and trying to be perfect to avoid making the mistakes that may incite anger/cruelty/disappointment from others, being kinder-than-God-himself, is a way we adapt to control the world around us. Yes I said that, “It’s a form of control”. We are trying to control how others feel towards us, how they speak to us or about us, through pleasing, being too good, being too kind, being boundary-less. Not sinister in its original intent, self protective and learned in childhood, it comes from our hearts cry of “Please love me”. We were trying to keep ourselves safe amongst unsafe people, but it became a form of control toxic to ourselves and sometimes others, in our adulthood.


Divorce. The worst thing that can happen to a people pleasing perfectionist Princess of Peace, is to go through a situation where everyone you ever cared about seems to be against you, judging you, even calling you and messaging you to tell you, and you’ve come out as the bad guy. Through my divorce I had the opportunity to face this protector behaviour I held on to for so long and find out how short it came up. And I laughed and laughed and laughed. That laughter, it came in the weeks after I no longer had any supporters in my community, then my dearest and most treasured friend betrayed me. It escalated my already wild and ferocious PTSD to tipping point, my GP said “This could kill you” and she begged to admit me to hospital. 


I laughed. And I said “Thank you Jesus, everyone hates me, all of those ways I worked to try and make sure everyone liked me, to protect myself, have turned to dust and now I can just be me.” I laughed because I finally had no other choice but to just be. I truly thanked Jesus, no joke. I had prayed throughout this period of my life, “even though this feels unbearable, I want you to teach me Lord, I don't want to miss a thing”. In that moment with no community and supporters left, I could finally just be and let the One voice who knew me better than I knew myself, speak His words of life to me. Into the arms of Jesus I went, I let Him speak to me of my true identity.


I penned these words in my journal: “Don’t fear the breaking, the pain, the unmaking. Unmade, are we free to become. Now, rebuild from the sure foundation [Jesus]”. Mask off. Everyone knew I was a ‘fraud’, no point pretending and pleasing or being perfect anymore. Mask off, shield of ‘everything is fine’ crushed to smithereens, walking off naked as the day I was born into a new world. Set free from my own protection, I was finally free to let the real Prince of Peace come in and I felt my makers face shine the warmth of Heaven down on me. I always had His approval. I am Beloved.


My darling friend Alicia Britt Chole penned these wise words: “Abundance may make us feel more productive, but perhaps emptiness has greater power to strengthen our souls. In spiritual winters, our fullness is thinned so that, undistracted by our giftings, we can focus upon our character. In the absence of anything to measure, we are left with nothing to stare at except for our foundation.”


In the absence of anything to measure, anyone to measure against, I was alone but free to measure only against the loving words of Yahweh, those He said to me and written in His book; to rebuild from a firm foundation by discovering my identity He had given me before the beginning of time. As I gently walked with Jesus, He gently and carefully washed sticky tar of shame away. The shame-sickness left, I began to grow healthy for the first time in my forty years of life, in spirit, soul and body.


No longer a fraud - I know who I am and who I belong to.






What did Yahweh say to me? I will tell you everything I can. I pray that you hear His voice too, He has something to say to you.






But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,

My glory [and my honour], and the One who lifts my head.


Psalm 3.3


I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.


Ezekiel 34:25

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