Group Discussion Guide: Living Awake

Lesson 2 — Misplaced Identities 

  1. “Identity is that by which something is defined and from which it receives its value,” Cari says. ““Where we find our identity is crucial, because it is the place that we are defined and it is the source of our value.”  

    • Before going any further, spend a few minutes to take stock on the state of your identity, and be ruthlessly honest about it. Where do you currently find your identity? Where do you derive your value? What makes you feel really good about yourself but you’ve ultimately found creates a source of hollowness?   

    • Think about your experiences in trying to define yourself, rather than letting God define you. How have you experienced shame through a misplaced identity? How has this caused you to blame others?  

  2. When we’re not trying to define ourselves (and failing), we’re trying to define ourselves in comparison to the people around us.  

    • There are all kinds of ways that we compare ourselves to others, but let’s take a moment to consider the “Three O’s.” Name some of the ways you’ve been tempted to misplace your identity in: 1) your relationship to others 2) the things that you own and 3) what you do for your occupation. 

    • Coveting is dangerous, which is why God outlaws it in the ten commandments. Why, in your experience, is coveting so lethal to our spiritual health? If we know it makes us miserable, why do we continue to covet?  

  3. According to the New Testament, we have been adopted by God, and adoption changes our bloodlines, and therefore radically re-shapes our identities.  

    • “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons and daughters,” says Paul in Romans 8:15, which entitles us to call God Abba—“Daddy.” Take a moment to reflect on how astonishing it is that, because you’ve been adopted, you can call the Creator of the Universe your father. How might this realization change how you understand your identity and worth?  

    • Royal blood comes with both privileges and responsibilities. Prince George will have to take the throne when his father, William, dies. It’s the same with us who have been adopted by God. This entitles us to rights—love, value, access, freedom—but it obligates us to responsibilities, too. What responsibilities are expected of a child of God?  

  4. As Cari argues here, it doesn’t matter one way or the other what people say about us, because we have been adopted by the one One whose testimony matters in the end.  

    • It can seem impossible to free ourselves from the tyranny of others’ opinions about us. It goes to our head when we’re praised, and it goes to our heart when we’re criticized. Why are we so liable to root our self-worth in what others say about us?  

    • Jesus lived with an almost incomprehensible indifference to what people said about him, whether positive or negative. What are some practices we can implement to cultivate the wisdom we need to find our identity in God alone and disregard the opinions of others?