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3 of the Most Popular Places to Misplace Your Identity

By: Kristen Clark

“Meet Laura Van Ryn and Whitney Cerak: one buried under the wrong name, one in a coma and being cared for by the wrong family.”

Those were some of the first words I read in a gripping book called, Mistaken Identity. This true and shocking story made national news when it was discovered that the identity of two college girls was accidentally swapped after a tragic bus accident.

One girl died and was accidentally buried under the identity of her friend, who was in critical condition.

After weeks of mourning the death of their daughter, the family was shocked to discover that it wasn’t their daughter they had buried, but her friend.

The family who stayed by the bedside of their “daughter” in the hospital came to the realization that it wasn’t their daughter they were caring for after all, but her friend, and that their actual daughter had been buried for weeks under the wrong name.

I honestly couldn’t put the book down. It was a page turner! The most incredible part of the story was how each family turned to the Lord during this awful tragedy.

This true story, as shocking as it is, made me think of how incredibly crucial it is to have the right identity. The families of these two girls suffered an incredible amount of additional heartache as a result of the mistaken identity issue.

Having the wrong identity causes major problems.

I thought about how true this is when it comes to our lives as Christian girls. When you and I became Christians, we immediately joined a new family and took on a new identity as a child of God. We gained a new mission and purpose.

When we fully embrace this identity and live it out, we experience God’s peace and fulfillment as He intended. We glorify God as He created to us to glorify Him.

But when we forget who we are in Christ, and look to other things for our identity, we immediately run into all sorts of problems and heartache. We experience sorrow and a lack of joy in life. And we ultimately rob God of His glory.

Without even realizing it, we begin to struggle with our own case of “mistaken identity.”

We’re placing our identity in the wrong things. We’re no longer looking to God for our purpose and fulfillment. We’re looking to something else to give us meaning.

I have been very guilty of having my own mistaken identity issues. There have been times in my life where I wasn’t looking to Christ for my full identity, but to something temporal. Something fleeting.

Chances are, you’ve probably struggled with this too. It’s not a good place be. In all of my experience with talking to Christian girls, it seems like there is a trend of 3 common things that tend to rob us of our true identity. Let’s see if you relate to any of them.

3 Common Ways Christian Girls Misplace Their Identity:

1. Outward Appearance.

Striving after the perfect body, hair, face, and style has robbed so many Christian girls of their true identity. If you’ve ever looked into the mirror and hated what you saw, you’re guilty of buying into a false identity.

The reason so many of us as Christian girls struggle to accept our face and body is because we view physical beauty as the means to finding our value and worth. We believe the lie that being “pretty” would make all of our insecurities go away. We think outward beauty will satisfy us more than Christ.

When we place our identity on good looks, we will always come up short. Christ gives us all the worth we need regardless of how “pretty” the culture may label us. For more on this topic, check out this post: Shocking Results from the Past 100 Years of Beauty

2. Relationship Status.

“I want to be in a relationship so bad that it hurts!!” Have you ever felt that way? The relationship status trips up so many of us girls. We long for Mr. Right to come into our lives. We long for a little romantic excitement. We long to forever say goodbye to the title “single.”

All of these things are fine to desire, but when they become a, “I must have this to be happy,” kind of thing, they steal our true identity.

If you think romance or having a boyfriend is the answer to your happiness, you have a mistaken identity problem. God did not design us to find our satisfaction and fulfillment in a guy (no matter how cute he is). We are not defined by our relationship status. We are defined by our identity as a child of God.

For more on this topic, check out this post: 3 Reasons Jesus is More Satisfying than Cute Guys

3. Personal Talents.

I was just talking to a girl the other day who played college basketball. She was good. Really good. By default, she was constantly being judged and evaluated based on her basketball skills. She shared with me how hard it is to keep her identity in Christ, and not in her talents.

The minute we allow our talents to become our means for measuring worth and value is the moment we’ve taken the wrong turn. When we base our value on our performance and ability to please others (and ourselves) with our talents, we’ve misplaced our identity.

We’re no longer using our talents for God’s glory, but for ourselves. This is a dead end road. No amount of talent will last forever. Only our identity as a child of God and follower of Christ will last. That is our true identity and must be our defining factor.

Sadly, having a mistaken identity is extremely common. 

I’ve only named 3 of the many, many, identity stealers out there. Maybe for you it’s something else. Status? Popularity? Family? Job? Money? As Christian girls, we have to be on our guard against these false identities and actively look to Christ for our satisfaction.

John 1:12 reminds us of our true identity, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

And Galatians 2:20 reminds us of how we should live, “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.”

It’s a fight to keep our identity in the Lord, and not in fleeting things.

Christ’s identity for us far surpasses anything else out there. I can’t encourage you enough to strive to be a woman who isn’t defined by anything except your identity as a child of God.

Let’s chat.

  • Let’s be honest. Where are you tempted to have a “mistaken identity?” How do you fight against this? For me, it’s probably in whether or not I think people like me. I fight against this by remembering that I am here to love others selflessly for God’s glory, not my own.

Photo Credit: Here 

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  • Hannah G.

    Do you recommend Mistaken Identity for teenage girls?

  • Rebekah Teravskis

    Wow! My family just found out about Mistaken Identity! This is so crazy that you should write a blog on it. Good job Kristen! Merry Christmas!

  • Hannah

    To be honest, I struggle with all three of those areas in my life. Thanks for the reminder to live in the realization of Christ’s LIFE in me. He gives me my identity. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galations 2:20 is one of my favorite verses!
    And I’ve been wanting to read that book for some time now. 🙂

  • Lizzy

    Literally minutes before stumbling across this blog post, I was feeling empty and lost, wondering what my life’s purpose was. Now I think I know.

    Incredible timing; I really needed to read this.

  • Morgan P

    Thanks for this. I do struggle with these things. Could you maybe do a followup post about how to find your identity in Christ?

  • Christ Believer

    This means so much to me. Currently as a high school student, I feel very pressured to be talented and accomplished so I will have a good future…but I’m just a very flawed person. Thank you so much for the encouragement to look at myself in light of Christ!

  • A Third-Culture-Kid

    I was born and raised in a country other than that of my passport. I think I tend to let my third-cultureness take hold of my identity sometimes now that I’m living in my passport country. It’s hard to find my identity in God, especially when being a TCK seems to me to be so much better than everything else.


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