No matter the color, the shape, the gender, there is for everyone, an identity with Christ that completely transforms the unable to the able, the disabled to the enabled.
Psalms 113:5-9 (NIV)
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.
Who you are in your identity is the focus of many issues, conflicts, and campaigns. Race, gender, status, occupation, wealth, accomplishments, etc. are reasons for divisions and claims of inequality and injustice. While there are surely cases of misconduct and discrimination towards any and all identities, there are really 2 identities that determine how each of us will fulfill and enjoy the life we’ve been given to live. These 2 qualities exist among those of all other distinctions. One of them may be clearly impacted by the presence of another identity, but it may still exist and even thrive quite apart from any other influence.
First, there are those who have confidence in who they are and are functioning freely in their strengths. Any potentially disqualifying identities are swallowed up in the assurance of what is uniquely theirs in the abilities they have been given. Setbacks are seen as simply competitions to be overcome. Though others may not be impressed by the results of their efforts, they are very fulfilled and content from operating uninhibited in what they are capable of. Where this identity is dominant, there are amazing possibilities for all identifications. Ability that is unencumbered by any other self-perception is set free to flourish no matter its ground.
I recently went to a local store to obtain an item for the office. As I approached the checkout station I was warmly greeted by a young man that was most impressive in his verbal and social skills. As there were no others behind me in the line, I was able to engage in a very enjoyable conversation. He shared that his father had given himself to ministry that by some standards may have appeared to be ineffective and unsuccessful. However, he had recently begun working with those who had become unproductive due to other mitigating circumstances in their life. I assumed this referred to those who were challenged mentally and socially. The young man shared that he, himself, had, until just recently, been unable to even be in a public place. He had disabling issues that had rendered him completely unproductive and withdrawn. Though I had not known him “before”, I was most impressed with the “after” version. The person I saw before me had discovered an identity that rendered any other label as ineffective in keeping him from joyfully producing. His role and purpose in life had transformed in conjunction with the shift from a victim and entitled identity to one of confidence in what he is most certainly capable.
The second group of people are those who have become constricted in their ability to flow freely in their abilities by an identity that has very real challenges. Instead of being able to focus their time and energy on what it takes to develop in the abilities they do possess, a fixation on another identity has constricted gifts and shut down production that would bring joy and fulfillment to life. While the young man I referred to, along with people like Stephen Hawking, would represent those who completely overcome a list of disabling identities with the enabling one, countless others are found to be relatively unproductive by an identification with a single disabling one.
Our God, while living in the realm of the limitless and operating completely unrestrained in the creative production of faith, came down to identify with those who have become overwhelmed with the second identity. Instead of condemning and scolding them for their failed production, He gives them a new identity that is full of ability and hope. In taking on the identity of the poor, He made it possible for them to redirect from an identity with poverty and all its excuse producing, and find themselves among those who are living in the blessing their freed abilities have produced. Where the womb has lost its ability to produce life, He brings healing and restoration, turning the habitat of inabilities into one of joyful sounds of enabled life.
For all identifications and their accompanying potential challenges, there is a Savior who has come to transform the second identity of hopelessness and death into the first one, the one he gave His life to provide for us. No matter the color, the shape, the gender, there is for everyone, an identity with Christ that completely transforms the unable to the able, the disabled to the enabled.