3 Ways God Is Challenging Your Identity through This Pandemic
3 Ways God Is Challenging Your Identity through This Pandemic
Becky Beresford Author. Speaker. Dreamer.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of life for us. Some changes were unexpected, some unwanted. But some were just what we needed to help us let go of unnecessary burdens and turn to our Savior. Let’s look at three ways God has challenged and changed our sense of identity during this season.
There’s no denying 2020 has been full of challenges. Some have been unwanted, some have been desired, and some have been more than needed. Even though God did not cause this pandemic, He has used it to usher in transformation and speak to the hearts of His children.
With all that’s happened since the beginning of the year, changes in routine, lifestyle and expectations have been inevitable. But the biggest change I’ve seen in people’s lives has been an essential one. We’ve seen a global shift in our general sense of identity.
For me, I’ve always struggled with finding my identity in all the wrong places. From a young age, I bought into the cunning lie that told me I needed to earn my own worth in order to experience love. I needed to prove myself and merit the approval of others if I wanted to be accepted. Like many humans on this planet, I entered into the performance cycle, which simultaneously resulted in me spiraling down into shame whenever I didn’t measure up. My identity became entangled with what I did, and I was constantly wondering if everything I was doing was enough.
Even though my head knew the right answers from the Bible, my heart was having a difficult time applying the truths I kept reading. Did He really not judge me by my works? Was the gospel more about who I am than what I do? I had one foot planted in the world’s standards and one foot planted in Christ. I couldn’t balance both, and I felt like any minute I could fall.
How Struggles Shift Our Footing
The Bible tells us, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). By this logic, even hardships in life, like this pandemic, can be used for the benefit of God’s kids and kingdom. Oftentimes when life gets shaky, God picks us up and places our feet on the only solid ground that lasts—the foundation of the cross.
With lockdowns happening all around and people having to change their old ways of life, God has used this uncertain time to show us the certainty found in Him. God never changes. This means the way He sees His children never changes as well. We may struggle to recognize our eternal worth, but God has used this pandemic to challenge our true sense of self. Areas of our lives have been stripped away, leaving only the core of our identity behind—who God is and who we are to Him.
Let’s look at three ways God has challenged and changed our sense of identity during this season.
3 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed Our Sense of Identity
1. We don’t need a building to be a part of God’s Church.
When the church we were attending before the pandemic closed its doors because of regulations, we felt a loss. My kids felt it the most. There is power and beauty in communal worship, teaching and fellowship. However, as the months carried on, the Lord began to reveal an even more prominent truth.
The Church is not a building. It’s a people.
All over the world, the Body of Christ is joined together through the same Holy Spirit. Although church doors are physically closed, the way to Jesus remains open. God’s children are still one in purpose, power and passion. We still serve the same Father and rely on the same gospel. The children of God cannot be boxed in and the movement of the Holy Spirit cannot be contained.
God is always acting, always drawing others to Himself, always overcoming the darkness. His plan will prevail, regardless of the regulations that are set in place. The virus cannot stand victorious over the cross.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/simonapilolla
2. Loneliness leads us to the love of God.
If anything, the relational toll of the pandemic has been the most trying. Even very introverted humans miss person-to-person interaction. Being away from family and friends has made it difficult to celebrate and mourn with one another. It’s hard to do life with others when you are not able to be close to them. But God tells us clearly that nothing can separate us from His love.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
When our hearts hurt because we cannot be with our people, the gentle voice of our Creator reassures us we are never alone. God is always with us. Our relationship with our Savior can never be taken away. Our access to the Holy Spirit can never be disconnected because His home is within us.
No one can make you social distance from Jesus.
When we rely solely on Him, we will find He is the abundant source of hope, truth and love our souls fully need.
3. The most important work we do is for the Kingdom.
The workforce has experienced a complete makeover. Working from home became a new way of life for many. People lost their jobs and have been trusting God for their income. An area of identity for much of the world was uprooted and now we have the chance to delve deeply into the realities of God.
No matter what we do for our jobs, the most important work we will ever do is for the Kingdom. Sharing the gospel. Making disciples. Being the hands and feet of Jesus wherever we go. Nothing is more important than this holy vocation, and it starts first with our family at home.
God has given many people the gift of extended time with family. As a boy mom to three young boys, I can confidently say this has not been easy. But it has invited way for more honest conversations, more joy, more opportunities to let go of things that were not as important as I thought. Being with my loved ones has helped me realize they are my greatest ministry. Besides God, they are my most precious treasures and the ones deserving of my time.
I’m grateful for the change of perspective the pandemic has brought to our land. We needed to shift our priorities back home and focus on God’s good purpose.
What Do We Do Now?
As life slowly begins to look a little more “normal,” I pray we as God’s daughters remember what matters most to our King. It’s tempting to slide back into old thought patterns and revisit familiar behaviors, but what would it look like if we claimed our true identities and allowed them to make us new—if we saw eternity through the eyes of our Father and acted on His mission? I can promise you one thing—we would witness a revolution centered on the core of our glorious God. That’s the kind of widespread love that has the power to change the world.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Engin Akyurt
Becky Beresford lives in Huntley, IL and is happily outnumbered by her husband and three wild boys. She is a writer and speaker with a Master’s Certificate in Discipleship from Moody Theological Seminary. Becky loves encouraging God’s Daughters to embrace their truest selves in Christ and walk out the gospel truths empowered by God. She would love to connect with you online at BeckyBeresford.com, where you can grab a FREE copy of the Brave Woman Manifesto: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Feel free to follow her and the weekly Brave Women Series on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.