I couldn’t help but care about what others thought about me. Did I say the right thing? Were my feelings and thoughts in line with what others expected from me? I wanted to be liked and accepted.
These thoughts started when I was young because I noticed my family cared about how others perceived us. I had to dress a certain way at school and maintain a certain image to receive approval from peers.
It was a lot of pressure, and I didn’t like it.
I felt like I couldn’t be myself—and later felt like I didn’t even know who I was.
Confident in who God made them to be
When I became a parent, it was imperative for me not to put this pressure on my children and for them not to grow up with this mindset. I knew that the only way to do this was to raise them to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and as the center of their lives.
I wanted to raise them to be confident in who God had made them to be—that they would love themselves for how God had crafted them and flourish in abundant life.
I never wanted them to consider that he hadn’t made them wonderfully or that he hadn’t designed them for a great purpose. I knew God wanted me to raise them in a manner that would glorify him so they would see that through a deep intimate relationship with him they can love how they were designed.
I wanted them to be comfortable and happy with who they were and not worry about how the world perceived them. It was my deep desire that they would never question their existence, worth, and value.
How can we anchor our children’s identity in Christ?
I learned that through the power and word of God we are able to raise our children in this way. Here are five biblical truths that have helped me raise my children to be confident as children of God.
1. A knowledge of the Lord
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22 NIV).
We have the privilege and honor to bestow upon our children the best gift one can give to them—a relationship with Jesus. This is the singular most significant present we can give to our children. Within our salvation, we are given an inheritance like no other—one that can change the lives of others for generations.
This knowledge allows them to see they don’t have to strive all their lives for possessions that will not give them the validation they so desire. By teaching them about this inheritance, we will set our children on a path to know that God has such greatness for them in life.
2. Made with a purpose
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Our children need to know God didn’t make them to be captives of their thoughts and consumed by how others see them. He also didn’t make them to please others by doing what they think will make people like them more.
God knew them before we knew them and set them apart for a specific purpose. He made them deliberately and has a wonderful plan and role for them. God formed your children for a reason.
There is no doubt or fear for the future when we impart this truth to them. They can know they are able to do the things God has called them to do because he made them to succeed in those things.
This will allow them to feel secure in who they are and not feel pressured to perform for others or wonder if they will be liked.
3. Loved by Jesus
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4).
Jesus, by his majesty, presence, and grace, chose each of us as parents and gifted us these individual, unique children. He wants us to teach them that when they come to know him they are holy, blameless, and loved in his sight.
There is nothing they can do to change this. No bad choice or decision could change his perspective of love for them.
In our failures and mistakes, we can show our children that God still loves us and sees us as valued and pure to him. It doesn’t ever change. We can model for our children by example that we can admit our mistakes and forgive ourselves.
We can show them how we can always walk in this truth by the way we live our lives and bounce back from our failures and mistakes. Seeing themselves as God sees them will change how they live their lives, how they feel about themselves, and how they treat themselves.
Show them how much Jesus loves them and they will receive that love by loving themselves.
4. Loving one another
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
As our children come to know and learn how much Jesus loves them, values them, accepts them, and treasures them as they were designed, in response they can love others without hindrance.
This is a calling that Jesus has given to us all—to love one another.
They will be able to do this freely, as Jesus has called us, by knowing they don’t have to act for others to fulfill a need within or to please people.
Instead, they can be who they were created to be: loving. We want to teach our children to live the life Jesus has called us to live.
5. No fear of man
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).
We want our children to know they don’t have to be fearful about who they are or scared about stepping out in a calling when Jesus asks them to.
They can feel safe and protected, knowing in his love there is no fear. They can know that others’ thoughts and perceptions about them have no bearing on them.
They don’t need to fear rejection by others. They can be who God has designed and crafted them to be. We as parents can show our children this by example of not fearing man—but only God—in our decisions. Show them what the love of God truly looks like so they can walk freely in who they are without fear.
Parenting their identities
Here are some practical ways you can instill these truths in your children’s lives:
- Pray for your children to see the truth of who they are and how God made them.
- Talk about biblical figures and how they were rooted deeply in who God designed them to be.
- Highlight and encourage the giftings God has given them.
With these truths you can raise children to be anchored in their identity and confident in how God made them. Likewise, remember that who you are and how he made you is exactly who your children need.