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  • Writer's pictureKenton Hock

I Know You Are But What Am I

Who are you? Where does your identity come from?

If your answers focus on what you do for a career or the people around you, you might miss the deeper calling for your life. This past weekend, we took just under 60 middle school students and leaders on a retreat focused on this idea of identity.

Retreats are not just a quick trip that gets students out of the house for a weekend or a time to play a ton of games together. That being said, we did play some great games! Everything from Extreme Steal the Bacon to Mission Impossible and 6 ft. Pictionary. Also some camp classics like skit night and pie-a-leader.

I love to say that on a retreat, we have a chance for a change of pace, plus a change of place, which can equal a change of perspective. When we have the opportunity to slow down from our high-paced schedules, we can find time to focus on the things that matter most. Then, when we go somewhere different, our brains stop thinking about everything we see daily at home. These two changes allow us to hear the same message that we have heard a million times, but in a totally different way. Retreats aren’t magical, but God can use them to draw us to Him and transform our hearts and minds to desire to chase after Him.

As we talked with our students this weekend, we focused on how culture tries to convince us that our identity is best defined by ourselves. We can decide who we are on our own, and nobody can tell us otherwise. These concepts may sound good on the surface but begin to fall apart quickly.

Conversely, we see in Scripture that our identity comes from God alone.

“For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” Psalm 139:13 CSB

My grandmother has knitted and sewed for years, from wedding dresses to blankets, quilts to clothing. When Kelsey and I got engaged, my grandmother gave us a handmade quilt. As my grandmother started the quilt, she already knew the purpose of the quilt, and she knew how she would make it and what it would look like. The same is true for how God created each of us. Who we are doesn’t come from ourselves but from our creator. As God knit you together, He already knew the purpose of why He made you. He started with the end in mind and did not make a mistake.

This is the truth that we can stand on. That God knows who we are because He designed us for a purpose. In this world, the devil will do everything He can to make you believe that God’s design is not right; that He could have failed. We see this in Genesis:

“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden?’” Genesis 3:1 CSB

Did God really say? This is the question that Satan is asking us every day. Did God really design you for a purpose? He won’t always come right out and say it, but the devil will push you to question God. Questioning God can look like not believing that God created you and called you good. Questioning might be thinking God may have made a mistake in the way He made you. This might not sound bad initially, but when we try to define our lives and purpose on our own, it’s like saying that we know better than God.

Our students had a great weekend! This week, make some room in your schedule to spend time with God. We cannot know who we are apart from our creator. Spend time in prayer and in God’s Word, learning more about who He is. Then, as you get to know Him, you will continue to discover who you are called to be.

“Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 CSB

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