I ran across some rather startling statistics. The 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier. In the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion. And these are just U.S. statistics. The prevalence of identity theft has given rise to the identity theft protection industry that “seeks to reduce the risk of identity theft from online or electronic media. They use monitoring software to track unauthorized use of credit and other personal information.”
However, identity theft isn’t a new phenomenon. It dates back to the Garden of Eden where Eve lost the sense of her true identity when she allowed Satan to sow seeds of doubt about who she really was. And the enemy has been busy ever since seeking to steal, kill and destroy those who are in Christ.
Did you know Satan has more faith in your potential than you do? The last thing he wants is for you to discover who you really are. I’m not talking about the church self or capable self you present to others. Do you know who you really are? Do you know you set hell in an uproar when you woke up this morning?
Each of us are many things to many people; mother/father, grandmother/grandfather, wife/husband, daughter/son, granddaughter/grandson, sister/brother, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, friend, neighbor, employee, boss. It’s easy to get caught up in all of our roles and responsibilities and lose sight of who we are. When you don’t know who you are, like Eve, you’ll fall for anything.
The title of this blog post is “When Pain Becomes Your Identity.” The word “becomes” implies process. Pain becomes your identity over the course of time. It’s a subtle and relentless onslaught by the enemy. John 10:10 refers to the enemy as a thief. A thief is a person who takes what doesn’t belong to them. Unlike a robber who steals openly, the thief does things in secrecy. Satan uses your experiences and circumstances as a smokescreen to cover up his handiwork to strip you of your true identity.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines identity as, “The qualities, beliefs, etc., that distinguish or identify a person or thing.” Identity is how we make sense of ourselves. Your identity develops through your experiences, emotions, connections, rejections and comparing yourself to others. Comparing ourselves to others all too often breeds self-contempt, especially for women. “We learn about our own identity and the identity of others as we interact with family, peers, organizations, institutions, the media and other connections we make in our everyday life. Identities are marketed through cars, clothing, club memberships, jewelry, and houses. The way we present ourselves in terms of what is marketed and purchased is a means of how we want others to perceive us.”
The managers and directors in my department are distinguished by having sleek wooden office furniture. I’m not a manager or director. Therefore, I don’t have any wooden furniture. However, during an office move, one of my co-workers asked me why I didn’t have a special desk (wooden). I replied I did have a special desk. Looking rather puzzled at my reply, he asked again why I didn’t have a special desk. This time I replied I did have a special desk because I made the desk special. The desk didn’t make me special. It’s all a matter of perception.
Tune in next week as we take an in-depth look at perception in “When Pain Becomes Your Identity Part 2.”
Until next time…Be blessed!
Rev. Cynthia Jackson