By Joanna Sherman
A story of how last winter’s Galatians study revolutionized her life:
This last winter was my first time participating in NCCC’s women’s Bible study. Over Zoom, we studied the book of Galatians. I was so excited to be part of a Bible study again, especially filled with amazing ladies that had so much wisdom to share. We dove into the words that Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, and so much of what he had to say was applicable to my own life.
My identity has been something I have struggled with throughout different times in my life. Whether it has been struggling to fit in as the new girl at school after returning to California from living overseas, or trying to remember the unique individual I was before becoming a mother, or who I am solo as I walk the road of singleness. I have frequently wondered who I truly am, deep down at my core, and where do I fit in?In Galatians 4:28, Paul writes, “Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.” That verse definitely made me think. I didn’t really feel like a child of promise. To be honest, I felt like the title I deserved was more along the lines of “Queen of Repeated Mistakes”. But in that fifth week of the study of Galatians, I began to understand that despite my failures and shortcomings, that I, too, was a child of promise.
In that same week’s study, one of the exercises in the workbook was: “Knowing your identity is the first step in living it out. Write out what God says your identity is in Christ.” A slew of different verses to look up followed. These were some of the identities I found in the verses: Adoption to sonship, God’s handiwork, members of God’s household, children of God, purified of all unrighteousness, reconciled to Christ, a new creation, saved by the Mighty Warrior who is with us.
Wow! I was so ready to claim the identity of being a child of promise and to let go of my previous view of myself as a frequent failure. In my head I understood I was a child of God and loved by Him. But sometimes, that knowledge was struggling to reach my heart. In my heart, often I still felt like my identity was: single mom (a.k.a. Alone), divorced (a.k.a. Failure), sugar enthusiast (addict would be more accurate), and Christian (when I am not messing up).
In my life there have been various times that God has taken away temporal, earthly pleasures from me in order to make me more dependent on Him. He has done so in order to draw me closer to Him, to refocus my eyes on His purpose and calling, and to untangle me from the trap and pull of worldly pursuits. He has done this out of His great love for me. He has done this to remind me of my true identity.
My identity is not in my relationship status, what my job is, how in shape I am, or how nice my home is. My identity is in Jesus. Knowing that truth gives me the freedom to live out His purpose for me and to love others the way He has called me to without fear or hesitation. Studying Galatians with Women Engaging helped me to clearly understand in both my head and my heart, that my identity is found in Jesus and being His child, a child of promise.