Circumstance-Based Identity

I wrote this almost 3 years ago EXACTLY!  It is amazing to see the very FIRST steps of the journey that has brought us here.  This story reminds me of God’s wisdom and deep compassion for us.



David, Susan, Miquel, Shawn, Micheal, Larry, Jaque, Al, Aaron, Correll, Big Al, Mike, Von…. and a dozen others.

That’s who we met today.

Five of us went into the streets around Union Station and did more than “pass out” birthday party invitations. We took time to dialogged with socially hungry men and women.
It revealed to me just how socially hungry we are too.

Tonight as we rode the train back from a “successful” afternoon of canvasing for the event on Sept. 28th, I curled up in a ball of sobs. The faces I had just encountered swam all around my head. The stories I had just heard a tiny part of pierced my heart.

People. We are broken. All of us. We all need to be reminded of our value and identity. In the same way that Aaron would not tell me his name at first because he considered himself “homeless man” – unworthy of an identity outside of his circumstances… I realize that we are all prone to the SAME dilemma:

Circumstance-based identities.

“Un-employed” “living at home” “Single” “Middle School teacher” “Barista” “Student” “part-time” “Corporate” “Small group member” “Involved at church” “Volunteer” “babysitter” “Engineer” “Manager” “employee” “Associate” “Performer” “Assistant”

We all suffer from the same thing. I told Mike – the one holding the “I’m just hungry” sign as he stood on the foot wide median – “Your life is valuable” and I saw him wince and shake his head.

How do you respond? Your life is valuable. You are worth so much. You are loved. You have purpose.

Are you wincing?

As I let my emotion drain – I was brought back to the simple reality that at our core – we are all the same. We are searching for identity. Looking for a label that will satisfy us.

As Children of God – we have labels that will not disappoint or lead us to emptiness or loneliness. We have a secure identity solidified through Jesus Christ.

As we prepare to bring healing to broken identities these men and women in Chicago are in bondage to – let’s FIRST allow our own broken identities to be healed and patched up by the TRUTH of who we are through Christ.

Out of our own Whole Identities – when we accept our own value and love – THEN we will be able to look a homeless man or woman in the face, with an arm around their shoulder and say “YOU are precious.”

My friends – YOU are precious.