Our culture is obsessed with identity and self-worth, especially among women. In this video, Assistant Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Seminary, Dr. Katie McCoy, explains how we should seek to find our worth and significance in Christ.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
The question of identity and self-worth is a deep, soul-level longing that every human being has. God has put eternity in our hearts. He has put these deep, spiritual longings for significance. We all want to live a significant life.
So anytime you see a woman struggling with issues of her identity and her self-worth, these are very genuine, valid things. Not to dismiss, but to begin with as a starting point.
I see women all the time and I know in my own spiritual growth I have see it in myself, that wherever you misplace where you’re finding your identity, your sense of worth, your why I get up in the morning, it takes you down some really bad roads.
We have women today, countless women, who find themselves in the throws of anxiety and depression, of performance-based perfectionism, of approval and people-pleasing, and all of these things we don’t naturally identify as idols, but they really, truly are. They’re places where we’re putting all of our identity and all of our worth and all of our significance in things, that are not only transient, but also very dependent on what other people think of us and how we do.
So the biggest thing, the number one thing that I am continuing to learn and I try to instill in my students is that our identity is not in doing, but in being.
What a beautiful identity that the Lord has given to us. He gave it to us, not on the basis of what we do, but He made us. He made us new. He made us righteous. He made us forgiven.
One of my favorite preachers, Alistair Begg, made this amazing observation about the prodigal son. The prodigal son left home saying, “Father, give me.” And then he came home saying, “Father, make me. Make me your servant.”
And when we, as women, start with, “Lord, make me”, not “Give me something else that I think I need”, but “Lord, make me”, we begin to find our identity in, not only the work of Christ, but the words of Christ, of who He has made us to be.
How can we encourage women to do that? Because of course we can say, “Oh, I find my identity in Jesus. I find my identity in Christ. And yet, I find myself so pulled to other things.”
I think this is where Romans 6 through 8 comes in. We have a daily dying to do. We all do. We all have a daily dying instead of pursing whatever it was that we were pursing to find out identity, our self-worth, our significance. To shift that over and recognize that only Christ can handle the awesome, soul-level significance of giving us an identity. An identity that cannot be shaken or changed.
How I begin that with my students is trying to help them identify, okay, what is it that you are living for, that you feel like you can’t live without, that you feel like if it was taken away tomorrow you would just be turned upside down? And whatever it is, whatever that pain point is, that is exactly where the Holy Spirit wants to move and begin to soften and change and redirect and transform.
And what we find, too, is that the more we pursue Christ, the more we lose ourselves, we find ourselves just as Jesus said. The big thing of how to essentially restore and recover our identity is to lose ourselves in, not only Who Jesus is and what He has said about us, but the mission that He has given us to forget ourselves essentially and be all about the kingdom of God.