The world has an ugly message. The good news is there’s a lot we can do as parents to help our kids find their identity in Christ.
I was so excited about youth group. These Wednesday night gatherings where I could enjoy my best friend and interact with people my age were a perfect diversion from a week of school. We were laughing and talking when, out of the blue, one of the other girls in youth group asked pointedly, “What’s that on your face?”
My smile instantly faded. I knew she was just playing dumb to point out the bright red zit on my nose I had spent half an hour trying to conceal before leaving the house that evening. I had even spent hours that day coming up with the perfect hairstyle and outfit for that evening. That blemish was the ONE thing wrong with my appearance. And she had deftly singled me out to call everyone’s attention to it.
I smiled icily, my ears burning with embarrassment. “It’s a zit,” I replied, glancing pleadingly at my best friend. Though she quickly rescued me by steering the conversation in a different direction, the other girl’s words and falsely innocent face stuck in my mind.
My already fragile identity had taken a blow and would not easily recover. How could the words of someone I didn’t even respect cause me so much embarrassment and internal agony? Well, like many junior high and high schoolers, I had placed my identity in the hands of people who were changeable and unkind instead of placing my identity in Christ. As a result, my identity was confusing and dangerously insecure.
How to Help Your Kids Find Their Identity in Christ
“Zit” stories are all too familiar to most of us. We’ve lived through that age where even a little red dot on our nose was the end of our world. It’s funny how we forget this when the same thing happens to our kids. We see our kids for the beauty God created in them and can’t fathom why they don’t see it. (Hint: for the same reason we struggled to.) The good news is that there’s a lot we can do as parents to help our kids find their identity in Christ instead of banking on a zit-free youth group night.
1. Identify Sources of Wrong Thinking
So, where do our kids run to find their identity? Well, this world is doing its absolute best to give them answers to their questions. Social media tells them what name brands the “cool” people wear and that relationships are the source of the happiness they desperately seek. Meanwhile, TV shows depict kids “just like them” finding their belonging in achievements or acceptance.
Friends are another place our kids run—as I did—to find belonging and worth. Maybe you’ve noticed that whether their friends or teammates approve or disapprove of them can be the difference between a good day or a terrible day for your child. A comment like “that shirt looks stupid” or “you have a zit on your nose” can devastate a child who is longing for acceptance.
Maybe you’ve heard your kids say (or allude to) some of these things:
- I am not pretty or good-looking enough.
- I am not valuable.
- I am not gifted or talented.
- I am not able.
- I am not heard.
- I am failing.
- I am afraid.
- I am not content.
- I am hopeless.
These phrases are hints that we are searching for identity in the wrong places. For help responding to these specific statements, check out this post on feelings kids struggle with.
Regardless of the feeling, we need to help our kids identify when it’s rooted in wrong thinking. Point it out when you notice yourself thinking that way just as much as when you find your kids feeling that way. Identify it when watching movies, listening to music, or when you overhear it while passing by.
Anytime you hear a WRONG thought, direct attention to it, but remember to be kind and full of grace. Remember that you struggled with this too. Everyone does!
2. Point Them to the Truth About Their Identity in Christ
Though it is sometimes hard to remember, we don’t find our identity in talents, possessions, or relationships. If your kids are children of God, their identity is found in what He has said about them as inheritors with Christ (Romans 8:16–17)! We see in John 17:17 that what God says is TRUTH. So no matter what this world tells them, our kids need to know that if it doesn’t line up with what God has said, it isn’t TRUE!
One of these precious truths from God is that we are all wonderful works (Psalm 139:14). Our eye color, our loud laugh, our personalities were not mistakes! God knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs and carefully designed us before we drew breath (Psalm 139:13). We don’t have value because of our appearance, abilities, accomplishments, or the like. We have value because He loves us and sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8). And THIS is why our kids can find their identity in Christ! Praise Jesus!
3. Fight the Lies with Truth
Maybe the scenarios I’ve mentioned are similar to things you have encountered with your kids. You might only be seeing the beginnings of identity crises, or perhaps you’re deep into one. But no matter where you are or where your kids are, identity matters. And if your kids are struggling, they need help!
The truth is that Satan will take any opportunity he can get to shake them and tempt them to find their worth in worthless and empty things—because a child of God who forgets their true identity is vulnerable and powerless. I don’t want this for my kids, and I know you don’t want this for your kids either.
Only God’s truth is strong enough to fight the lies Satan throws our kids about their worth and identity. This is why we have created our My God Says Life Journal—so our kids can learn what God says about them and their identity in Christ.
This colorful and fun journal gives your kids 15 truths they need to combat common lies they will encounter in this world. Pushing them to grow in their understanding of God’s love and plan for them, the interactive, Scripture-drenched pages of this journal show them how God’s truth applies to their lives. Plus, the real-life stories of men and women of God included in each chapter tell of God’s power in those who embrace His truth about their identities!
4. Pray for the Strengthening of Their Identity in Christ
I’m sure you are well aware that we cannot protect our kids from all the lies, bullies, and unrealistic expectations this world will hurl at them. If you’re like me, knowing your children will face these things just makes your heart hurt. Maybe it even makes you feel anxious or worried.
But, as 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us, Jesus cares for us! Because of this, we can cast all our worries on Him and trust Him to take care of us. God will protect our children—He loves them even more than we do! If they are His, no one can pluck them out of His hand (John 10:28). And nothing can separate them from His unending love (Romans 8:37–39).
It sounds so easy—”Just cast your cares on Jesus! Just pray your kids will be protected!” But you and I both know it’s not that easy. These worries still cloud our minds and weigh on our hearts. But one thing I’ve found immensely helpful is writing out your prayers. The physical action of slowing down and putting my prayers down on a page helps me mentally cast those cares on Jesus. Want to give it a try? Our #NotConsumed Prayer Journal will help you!
In a world where value and identity are uncertain and constantly changing, I pray that your kids find their identity in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). And I know first hand the My God Says Life Journal will help support your efforts!
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.