The following is an excerpt from a curriculum that is in development for Sycamore Abbey, a nonprofit organization that my husband and I have started with the goal of bringing ministry leaders back to life and equipping them to encourage vitality where they lead. This particular curriculum centers on issues of identity, specifically within the worship community. However, I think this small piece is applicable for us all, from president to peon. Personally, it was good to pull it out and dust it off in my own heart today, and my prayer is that something in the words below will cling to your heart and whisper life-giving truth about exactly who you are.



To understand what a healthy identity looks like, all we need to do is study the life of Jesus. Listen to what he said. Look at what he spent his time doing. Everything was framed within a rock solid identity. He didn’t wonder who he was; who he was shaped everything he did. He was God’s son, sent to earth for the rescue of humanity, clothed in humility, filled with love and compassion for the broken and hopeless, concerned with bringing the Kingdom of God to earth, and drawn to serve the last and least. And what’s more, he loved when the light came on in people’s hearts, when they started to embrace their created identities.

And this is our blueprint.

His life is to be our shining, perfect example. The problem is that most of us find it almost impossible to follow the leader when it comes to embracing who we are. But it’s not impossible, and he made sure of it. We just have to begin with these two truths:

1. We are not what we do, but WHOSE we are.

2. Our identity is received, not self-created.

We don’t have to rely on our statuses to dictate our identities.

We don’t have to build a resume for review.

We are not what we do.

We belong to God, and this frames everything.

His essence is in us and his name is our identity. But what’s truly amazing is that it was given to us. We just have to accept it! We cannot create our identities. Even if we fashion something that works for a time, it will eventually crumble. In the holiness of God and through his enormous love for us, he gives us the gift of identity, and he sent Jesus to show us what that looks like when we put flesh on it. Our job is to simply remember Whose we are, and to rest in that, receiving what he says about us.



Candi is a singer/songwriter, author, and homeschool-teaching-mom/wife/friend/cupcake baker extraordinaire. She and her husband Jonathan are the founders of a nonprofit called Sycamore Abbey, with a mission to bring ministry leaders back to life and equip them to encourage vitality where they lead. She is a woman seeking to find the extraordinary in the everyday. Learn more at, or follow her on Twitter @CandiPShelton.



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