Truth #6 – Your Identity Determines Your Behavior

When did you lose it? When did your foundation give way, causing you to lose your faith, your hope, and the truth of who you were created to be – only to be replaced with a deceitful lie disguising itself as ‘your new truth’?

I remember. It took me 40 years to identify that time in my life and call it out for what it really was – but in finally being able to do so, I was able to at last remove that long-lived lie and place truth back into its rightful place in my identity.

A few weeks ago I was honored to assist the crew on set of a short film being made for film competitions, and the filming took place in an old abandoned house. It was this abandoned house that triggered memories from 40 years ago that I had worked so hard to forget.

Arming yourself with truth really does set you free.

I spent a lot of time alone while growing up. As an only child I did not have any built-in playmates; and friends – real friends – were hard to come by. My family first moved to Texas when I was 13. At that point, we had already moved 21 times. I lived in many different cities in Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma, and then moved around quite a bit in the Dallas / Fort Worth area where I live now.

The wide variety of spaces that became my many different bedrooms as a child shaped my belief of who I was. In one 3-room apartment that had a kitchen, living room and bedroom, the bathroom with a broken lock was in the corridor just outside our front door and was shared with 3 other families that lived on that floor.

The only space for me was a 3’ x 3’ closet with an old accordion door that didn’t shut. I slept curled up on a red vinyl bean bag that filled the floor of that closet and spilled out into the small hallway. I distinctly remember though still having a bit of child-like hope, dreaming of one day being able to replace all the roaches crawling around with diamonds I could hang on the wall to make the place sparkle and shine.

Then we moved. Again. This time it was to an abandoned motel where I was directed to my room. Any excitement I felt for finally having my own room was quickly replaced with a broken, defeated spirit as I looked around and saw what I had been given. My red bean bag was now replaced by a deteriorating, smelly mattress on the floor. It lay there amidst the grime of discarded cans, newspapers, molding bits of food in old take-out containers, alcohol and drug paraphernalia, and a few dead pigeons whose feathers were glistening in the light that was streaming in from the dimly lit parking lot through my shattered bedroom window.

That child-like hope of being able to change things or fix things completely disappeared. That’s where I lost it. That’s where the truth of what I was worth and who I was created to be was replaced with the lie that I was as worthless as the garbage on the floor. I was nobody. The bar regarding my self-worth and what I thought I deserved as a human being wasn’t just set low, it was lost – tangled up somewhere in the debris of life just like I was.

I struggled with this defeated belief of worthlessness for years – decades actually. It affects EVERYTHING! Why? Because our identity dictates our behavior. If we identify ourselves as worthless, then in relationships, we settle and self-sabotage, because, well, we probably got better than what we deserved anyway. When we identify ourselves as garbage, why would we polish up our appearance by putting pearls on a pig? I also couldn’t bring myself to invest in healthy friendships, because they’re a two-way street, right? You need to bring something to the table, have something of value to add to the relationship and from my perspective; I had nothing. I convinced myself that I’d just be a bother, they already have enough friends, and they’re too busy anyway.

I felt so empty and lost – most of my life – which was ruled by anxiety. Every step, every word, every action came with heart palpitations, sweats, stomach problems, and an overwhelming fear that at any moment someone would look at me, see me for the fraud I was, and tell me I didn’t belong there – or anywhere.

There was that longing for something more, but it got buried with the truth of who I was created to be. The worst part of it is that it’s really hard to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Whenever you are looking for something and someone is trying to help you find it, what’s one of the first things they ask? “Well, when did you last have it?”

The implication there is that to find what you’re looking for, you need to go back to where you last saw it, or last imagined it to exist. That applies to tangible objects like your phone and your car keys, and it also applies to intangible items like your self-worth, and the truth of who you were created to be.

Now, 40 years later, standing there in that abandoned house, that moment in time came roaring back to me as our lead character sat in the middle of that filthy floor, and gave her critical line – the title of the film – “I am nobody.”

I was overwhelmed. I knew I had just been given a revelation and the tool I needed to combat that lie I had believed for years.

Now, armed with truth, knowing the very instant in time when that lie jumped into my identity, I was able to face it, challenge it, and see it for what it was – a lie. That old abandoned motel room I was given as a child didn’t determine my worth and identity any more than my bank account does today. Our value cannot be placed in the ever-changing appearances, finances, and circumstances of our world; that is where anxiety lives and breathes and overtakes our lives.

Our identity only comes from WHO we are, and WHO we are becoming, as we grow more and more into WHO we were created to be – which takes a lifetime of discovery provided we give ourselves the chance to be known.

Knowing WHO you are determines how you behave – so take time to discover more of YOU. How? Stop wasting time striving to be significant, trying to control life, and trying to be all things to all people. Instead, take time to stop and discover the significance of who you already are.

So, what is it you are looking for? What is it that you have lost, and where did you last have it or imagine that it could exist?

What lie in your identity needs to be replaced with the truth of WHO you are and WHO you were created to be – a valuable, unique, forgiven, restored, and free son or daughter who has a heavenly Father who RUNS after YOU, searches for YOU, and longs for you to let yourself get closer to Him so you can RECEIVE his never-ending love and grace.

YOU ARE SOMEBODY SPECIAL, with a HOPEFUL FUTURE, here for a purpose far beyond your own comprehension, who today can grab a hold of your TRUE identity as a beloved child of God. Here, you are family – it’s a place of freedom, and a place where you will always belong!

#FollowTheCloud #AnxietyRelief #Anxiety

Truth 6 - Identity Determines Behavior - replace lies with the truth of who you were created to be


Truth #5 – Get Led by Purpose Instead of Driven by Performance

I have spent much of my life trying to achieve a sense of worth and value through performance and approval of others. I could never say no, I volunteered for everything, and I piled tasks on my plate a mile high until I buried myself in social phobias, anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt for not being able to do everything that I said I was going to do…

The thing is though, I was never supposed to have any of that on my To-Do list to begin with. I thought that if I could perform well enough, then someone might initiate a genuine relationship with me where I would then feel like I was worth something, where I would matter to someone important enough to give me that sense of significance I was seeking in life.

Have you ever been looking for glasses and they ended up being on your head the entire time? Or looking for your keys and they were in your pocket? That’s how it is when you look for your own worth and significance through performance. You’re not going to find it there. Why? Because your worth – your very purpose for existing – has been WITH YOU, emanating from you, the entire time!

While I was busy performing, my time was sucked away by added assignments, duties, tasks, volunteering, and trying to get every nick-knack in my house clean and shiny, perfectly symmetrical, and properly spaced that I was just too anxious to accept invitations from people who wanted to include me, get to know me better, have coffee, or lunch with me. And then, when they did, I had no idea how to act or respond unless it revolved around my performance somehow, my new project, my new venture, my new whatever… still trying to seek approval through performance.

They only ask so many times before the invitations stop coming. There are a few people I miss even now where one day the invitation to just hang out, or come over for a BBQ just stopped.

Anxiety robs us of so much – especially that very significance and purpose in life that has been with us, surrounding us, all along.

The thing is – being “performance driven” is a ‘me-centric’ activity that only develops into a black hole that can’t be filled, and it ends up driving everyone away.

The great thing about being led by purpose, is that it is focused on others – and it draws people to us who need our light in their lives.

Are you exhausted? Have you been performing for others for so long that you’ve isolated yourself from the very people and relationships that you were meant to impact and influence?

Maybe you are like I was – like the Martha in the Bible who worked so hard and so long that she couldn’t even see that Jesus – the only one that could bring peace to her mind, heart, body, and soul – was with her the whole time, ready to give his life for her, and offer her everything she could ever possibly need.

For me, my biggest breakthrough came during my pregnancy leave over 8 years ago. I had NO IDEA how much performance-driven tasks I had crammed on my plate until I arrived home from the hospital with my plate clean… I had no idea what to do. My worth was so tied to performing for other people that I almost missed the priceless treasure of allowing myself to sit still and just be a mom to my newborn baby. Maybe that is easy for some… but it was really, really hard for me.

Thankfully, my very loving husband, and a grace-filled God showed me what I had with me and in me the entire time. Step by step, I was able to assess my motives for putting things on my To Do list. I began to rate my anxiety levels and determine what triggered them, and what eased them. I learned to say no to things that did not serve my purpose – so that I could have room for the things that mattered most – my family, my relationships, and sharing my story with others who need help finding their way to a more peace-filled life.

Maybe your next steps are to make the next few days “Yes and No” days. Say no to adding any performance-based tasks to your To-Do list, and say yes to sitting still and discovering who you are, and who you were created to be, and say yes to developing or deepening a life-giving friendship with someone. In the end, you may find your purpose in that they needed you to reach out to them, more than you realized.

#Anxiety #AnxietyRelief #PurposeDriven#PurposeLed #AnxietyReleaseMovement

Truth 5 - Anxiety - Performance Driven vs Purpose Led


Truth #4 – Release the Need to Please

In trying to please everyone, you miss the opportunity to fully serve those you love most in the way God intends. The need to please is related to the “performance mind-set” where you are constantly on task to earn approval, praise, and acceptance from others to fill a void that only gets deeper as time goes on.

The sad thing is, so many people look to others for their significance, and completely miss what’s been inside them all along.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to remember this: “You can’t please everyone – you’re not pizza!”

Truth 4 - CoDependency - we were not meant to please everyone - only THE one - #Anxiety


Truth #3 – Perfectionism is a fear that you are not good enough

Perfectionism: One of the Top 5 traits that perpetuates #Anxiety. It’s a frustrating journey, because one never reaches the end of the pursuit if the desired result is perfectionism. If you feel like you are striving day in and day out yet getting nowhere – take a step back and work on discovering why.

To hold on to something, or avoid building relationships, or keeping yourself isolated until you feel you and/or everything else is “perfectly presentable,” then you are waiting too long. Perfectionism is also a form of procrastination that eats away at our efforts, time, resources, and impact. People perceived to be perfect are not relatable or approachable, nor do they have the influence they imagine.

Truth, authenticity, vulnerability, and approachability – the scariest things in life for those like us who often find ourselves ridden with anxiety – are the very things that help us overcome the anxiety that comes with perfectionism to find victory.

Truth 3 - Perfectionism - fear that you aren't good enough