Who are you?
That question has been asked by every human who has ever lived one time or another.
Identity is tied to what you do.
Identity is tied to who you marry.
Identity is tied to where you live.
Identity is tied to how many degrees you have hanging on the wall.
Identity is tied to the level of power and authority you crave and attain.
But in our Army…who are you?
I don’t mean “what is your rank?”
I don’t mean “where are you stationed?”
I don’t mean “Who are your parents or how many family members do you have in the army?”
Who are you in and out of The Army?
Questions for personal discovery and something to consider:
Is my personal identity solely link to the Army?
Do I “have a life” outside of the army?
What are my hobbies?
What am I passionate about?
(There are probably more questions to consider here as well)
Let me relieve some of you out there who feel burdened today that you aren’t doing enough or aren’t always equipped (or good enough) for The Army…
>>We ought to possess an identity that transcends The Salvation Army and is not completely chained to the Red, Yellow and Blue. Did you just gasp? Are you surprised by this? I hope not. God did not make us all unique and individuals in order for us to all dress the same, talk the same and become robots in uniform. Forgive me…that sounded harsh, and it really didn’t sound like that in my head. What I mean by that is this: Don’t let the Army be your only identity. I love The Salvation Army. I am a fourth generation Salvationists. I should bleed red, yellow and blue…but over the years I have come to the realization that I cannot be The Salvation Army every moment of every day because I will begin to lose who God has made me.
That sounded a little selfish, but it’s not. We ought to find the time to find ourselves once in a while. We do a disservice to God if we allow the work to consume us and in the process we lose our way as people of God. Even Jesus got away from things. He took time to commune with The Father in solitude.
Self-care isn’t being lazy.
Self-care isn’t putting off responsibilities.
Self-care is about becoming re-connected with God.
Self-care is about finding your personal identity again.
Self-care is about tapping into that spiritual well that can and will replenish our tired, empty spirits.
We need to find ourselves again.
We cannot work ourselves to death.
We are God’s soldiers but what good is a tired, exhausted, spiritually dried out husk?
Do not give your identity away to anyone or anything.
God made you unique.
God didn’t make a mistake.
God alone owns your identity…not your job, your friends, or even the Army. God wants to use us through our unique identities.
There is accountability .
There is peer to peer guidance and mentors for the purpose of discipleship, maturity and holiness. God can and will use these means to produce in us a deeper sense of our identity as well, but beware…don’t give your identity away to anyone or anything other than The Lord.
The result of giving your unique identity away?
You begin to lose a piece of yourself.
You begin to hang your hopes on things that are temporal and fading.
You will find disappointment, discouragement and disillusionment.
Who are you?
You are first:
A Child of God…you are His!
You are His precious possession.
You are matter to Him.
You have an identity beyond just the Army…but you can use that identity to make changes, make a difference and to help heal the brokenness in this world and sometimes in our organization/mission.
A Word To The Wise:
Don’t allow the Army to be your only identity.
Take time for self-care.
Be willing to be teachable by trusted mentors, accountability partners and most importantly The Holy Spirit (who can and will use these people and others).
The safest place for your identity to reside is within the hands of God…not your rank, not your position, not your appointment, not even your family and friends. Yes ministry and our lives are holistic. Yes our identity is linked to this ministry that God has placed us in…but make sure you remember that your identity, your life, your heart belongs first to God and God alone and from there prayerfully invest yourself as good and faithful stewards.
Just something more for our Army and its Soldiers to ponder today.
To God be the glory!
One of my biggest concerns is that we worship, serve and honor the Army more than God. Our current “bosses” are an example of having no life outside the Army. I once had a DC’s wife tell me I had no personal life. I know the SA can be all consuming but it’s up to is to do some of what you said to ensure it’s God we worship only. That we allow him to develop all of us not just the part recognized in uniform.