Worth: Uncovering Our Identity

Worth: Uncovering Our Identity
Single parents have often walked a challenging path experiencing hurts and obstacles along the way. These difficulties can shake their sense of worth leaving them feeling empty and unsure of who they are. Regaining a sense of worth is found in recovering our sense of value, uncovering our identity, and realizing our purpose.
Each component builds on the other. The first one, our value, is unchangeable and intrinsic. God determines our value which is foundational to our sense of worth. The second component is our identity. Our identity is made up of characteristics that distinguish us from one another. It’s our individual stories that set us apart. Finally, our worth helps inform our purpose. We were created intentionally by God to fulfill good works planned for us. When we have a solid understanding of our value, identity, and purpose, we can walk with confidence in our worth, knowing we were created by God, on purpose for a purpose.
One of the components needed for a healthy sense of worth is uncovering our identity. We can gain valuable knowledge of who we are through four facets: 1) our history, 2) the setbacks we’ve experienced, 3) our unique strengths, and 4) our individual passion.
History
First, our history starts with our family of origin. Part of understanding our identity lies in understanding how we grew up and how it impacted us. Whether raised in a big family or as an only child, whether under ideal circumstances or difficult ones, our upbringing has shaped and molded us into who we are today. Understanding our history helps us understand our identity today. The story of Joseph illustrates how our family of origin can shape us. Joseph was a favored son and his brothers became jealous as a result. His childhood experiences of having dreams and being able to interpret them are a big part of his family history. Your family history matters too.
Setbacks
Another facet of our identity are the setbacks we’ve faced. Each one of us has experienced different hardships and difficulties that inform our identity and sense of who we are. Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers. He was accused of something he didn’t do and was thrown into prison. These hardships impacted his identity just like we are impacted by our own. Adversities like divorce, abuse, illness, or betrayal change our life trajectory and the way we see ourselves. Some alter our identity while others reinforce it or cause us to reinvent part of who we are.
Strengths
Like our history and setbacks, our strengths are another facet of identity. Our unique talents and strengths help us understand who we were created to be. Some of our experiences develop these strengths and others reveal ones we didn’t even know were there. Each strength informs part of our identity. Taking inventory of our strengths is an important part of recognizing our worth. One of Joseph’s strengths was charisma. He first found favor with his father and later with those he encountered while he was a slave and in prison. Joseph also knew how to interpret dreams. This gift from God gave him an advantage and set him up to gain stature in Egypt. Knowing our strengths is a key facet to knowing our identity.
Passion
Passion is the final facet in discovering our identity. We can find our passion by looking at the things we are drawn to, like nurturing kids, being creative, or starting a business. When we take the time to understand our individual passions, we gain a greater understanding of our identity too. Sometimes the turmoil we have faced as a single parent can rob us of some of our passion, but these same adversities can also fuel it.
Taking time to recognize our passions is a key facet in knowing our identity. Joseph’s passion was always in being a leader. Even while home with his brothers as a younger son, he demonstrated leadership sharing the dreams that set him apart. Later, he continued to lead in Potiphar’s house, acting with excellence and confidence. Ultimately, he became an important leader in Egypt, second only to the king. His passions were part of his unique identity with his history, setbacks, and strengths.
Understanding Your History and Personal Setbacks
These four facets inform our identity as single parents too. Single mom, Elizabeth, shares that discovering her identity, particularly after divorce, has been a healing process. Understanding her history by looking back, with a counselor, at her family of origin has been a significant part of that. While some of her memories have been hard and painful, others are positive and include fond memories she wants to create with her own kids. Overall, this discovery process can be a gift because it allows us to reshape some of the “default settings” from the past, and instead, choose another way.
Like our personal history, the setbacks we experience also impact our identity. Former single mom, Kimberley, shares that she had hopes and dreams that crumbled when life didn’t go the way she expected. The broken pieces left her feeling like a failure, but God used those things to transform her into who she is today. Elizabeth shared that some of the hardest setbacks in her life have now given her greater empathy for others struggling with their own hurts. She goes back to Genesis 50:20 again and again, knowing that what others meant to harm her, God can use for good.
Know Your Strengths and Passions
Along with understanding our history and setbacks, single parents can also discover their identity by finding their strengths. This process isn’t always easy. It can be hard to identify our gifts and talents especially after we’ve been hurt, rejected, or when we feel like we’ve failed. One of the ways you can do this is by starting with God. Asking Him who He says you are. Let Him reveal the strengths He has innately put in you or that He developed in you through your story.
Finally, we can discover our identity through our passions, those things that we love to do and that bring us joy and satisfaction. Sometimes when life kicks us around, we can feel so defeated, we lose sight of our passions. But God’s calling and gifts are irrevocable. He has good plans for each one of us. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Finding our passions is part of discovering our identity. Just like our strengths, we can start by asking God what He has planned for us and how He wants us to use our passions.
Knowing Your Worth
Worth is a huge topic. To have a healthy sense of our worth, we first must start by knowing our intrinsic value as God’s beloved children. Then we can look at our identity, the unique stories we each have that set us apart from others. Our history, the setbacks we’ve experienced, our strengths, and our passions all shape our identity. Taking time to understand each facet helps us identify who we are in Christ. But this doesn’t always happen quickly or easily. Be patient with yourself and ask God to guide you each step of the way.
As you walk the journey of single parenting, we want to offer support and encouragement. Join our Solo Parent Society community by participating in one of our online groups meeting Monday through Saturday every week. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@soloparentsociety). Subscribe to our weekly podcast via AccessMore or wherever you get your podcasts and download our Solo Parent app FREE in the app store. We love to connect single parents to resources that offer hope and help. If you want to donate so we can reach more single-parent families, go to www.soloparentsociety.com. Questions? Email us at info@spsociety.com.

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