*Here are my notes from the first week of a series I am teaching the students at my home church in Houston, TX. Week 1 deals heavily with identity.
A series on faith, fear, and facing the world.
Week One: Hello My Name Is _____________
“Since the beginning of time, the need to communicate has emerged from a set of universal questions: Who am I? Who needs to know? Why do they need to know? How will they find out? How do I want them to respond? Individuals, communities, and organizations express their individuality through their identity. From ancient cave paintings to digital messages transmitted via satellite, humanity continues to create an infinite sensory palette of visual and verbal expression. We have also used symbols to express fierce individuality, pride, loyalty, and ownership. The power of symbols remains elusive and mysterious - a simple form can instantaneously trigger emotions, whether emblazoned on a flag, etched in stone, or on the screen of your cell phone. The velocity of life in the future will demand that brands leverage the power of symbols.”
- Designing Brand Identity - Wheeler
My guess is that you can quickly determine what brands these are by simply seeing their logos.
The outward expression or identity of a brand is its name, trademark, and visual appearance. And that visual trademark makes a statement.
Can you name which companies these mantra’s belong to?
- is it in you?
- it’s everywhere you want to be.
- I’m lovin’ it.
- Imported from Detroit
When you hear a certain phrase or see a certain logo it conjures up a whole identity and culture in your mind.
The identity of a brand is assembled by the brand creator and reflects how the creator wants the consumer to perceive the brand. However, this can be in stark contrast to the brand image, which is a customer's mental picture of a brand. The creator will seek to bridge the gap between the brand identity and the brand image.
Many times there can be a difference between who a brand says they are and who consumers say the brand is. Sometimes the image that is portrayed contrasts with the identity that was first created.
Remember when Myspace was cool? (yea, I don't really either). But there WAS a time when everyone was on Myspace and it was the place to be in the social networking world. You could have a music player with your favorite songs, design your own custom backgrounds, and connect with new people all over the world. In the beginning, there was no separation between who Myspace wanted to be, who they said they were as a brand and how everyone perceived them. Their identity was the premier social networking site and their image was the premier social networking site. But along the way people began to bail from Myspace in staggering numbers. Accounts were inactive and people were losing interest. When deciphering why people left for Facebook, many point to the fact that Myspace got too complicated. Because of that, it became a social networking ghetto. Somewhere along the way the creators of Myspace lost who they were and there was no concerted effort to reunite their identity to their image.
Every once in while there are brands that come along with such a strong identity that they change everything, influence everyone, leave an impact everywhere. Because brands that know who they are are the most powerful.
This is also true of people. This is true with you.
People who know who they are, are the most powerful.
The rest of this message is designed for you to uncover a deeper understanding of who you are. And sometimes to get to the core of who you are you have to break through some misconceptions you may have about yourself.
- I am not a loser
- I am not insignificant
- I am not invisible
- I am not normal
- I am not my own
Many of you have a misconception of yourself and so there is a mis-projection of yourself to others.
There are a lot of people trying to fix their image without finding their identity. Many times we want to change how people perceive us but we don’t want to change who we really are. And if you want to see yourself how God sees you and you want others to see you how God sees you, you need more than an image upgrade you need a transformation.
You are not a loser
Voices in your life may tell you you’re not good enough, pretty enough, cool enough, don’t have the right clothes, you’re not smart enough, you can’t do anything right, on and on...
This is not true.
You are the head and not the tail, you are in front and not behind, you are pressed but not crushed, you are persecuted but not abandoned.
You are not insignificant
The greatest lie being told is that your life doesn’t matter, that your ideas are worthless, and you’ll never be anything.
This is not true.
God chose you out of this world. You are chosen -- a chosen generation -- God has a plan for your life. Not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future.
You were not elected by people but you were chosen and appointed by God
You are not invisible
You are not unseen, you are not unloved, your prayers are not going unheard. God sees you, he knows you, and he cares about you.
You are not normal
You weren’t designed to just fit in, to go with the flow, to be mediocre, average or ordinary. You are the sons and daughters of a King greater than any other power in heaven, in earth, or in things beneath the earth.
You are not your own
You do not get to flippantly make decisions opposed to God’s purpose for your life. Your life must be submitted to the authority of God’s word.
God did not give you talents and abilities so you could make a name for yourself. You gifted you so that he could make HIS name know through you and your gifts.
**You belong to Jesus.**
But you know what we do? We believe the lies and reject the truth. And then we try to fix our image instead of letting God altar our identity.
We try to fix our image with education.
We try to fix our image with relationships.
We try to fix our image with appearance.
We try to fix our image with money.
We try to fix our image with talents.
But none of those these will ever fix us. We have to let God change us! We have to find our identity in no other place but Jesus Christ.
There was a dude the Bible named Isaac and Isaac had two sons. Jacob and Esau.
They were twins. Esau the older, Jacob the younger. When they were born Jacob was holding onto Esau’s heel and so he got the name Jacob which meant, “heel grabber” or “deceiver.”
See, Jacob wasn’t satisfied with who he was from the beginning. So all through his life he plotted scheme after scheme to change his image, to get his father’s approval and the respect of his peers. He so badly wanted his image to be changed he bought Esau’s birthright and then deceived his father into thinking he was his older brother so that he could get it. That worked and he got the birthright. He got all the wealth and authority but it wasn’t enough. So, he found a girl that he HAD to have then ended up being tricked into marrying her sister and so the marriage didn’t satisfy him. Then he finally got the chick he wanted but she couldn’t have children for years and when she did, she died giving birth. For Jacob it was one thing after another. Jacob thought that if he had the wealth, and he had the name, and the wife, and the kids, and power, and the success and all of these things then he would finally fix his image. But nothing worked. His reputation followed him everywhere he went and he was constantly grasping for the next thing to fill him up and nothing could.
There was another aspect to Jacob’s character that he doesn’t get much credit for. His tenacity, drive and motivation. Dude just would never give up.
Then a certain night came.
He was alone.
And an angel visited him and they wrestled and fought all through the night. Midway through the fight the angel push Jacob hip out of socket and he STILL wouldn’t let go.
Jacob wrestled even through his brokenness and the angel said, “let go of me” and Jacob refused telling him that he wouldn’t let go until the angel “blessed” him.
Sometimes God takes what we say and translates into what we really mean although, we may not know. Jacob was looking for transformation through another blessing. But he had been blessed. He had it all. What he failed to realize was that his answer was not another blessing, it was transformation. Jacob again was desperately fighting for a new image but God knew that what Jacob needed was a new identity.
In that moment God changed his name, changed his brand, changed the outer expression of who he was to, Israel. The man known all of his life as Jacob the deceiver was changed to Israel, God prevails.
Prior to this people were forced to look at him as a man who had been wrapped up in lies, poisoned with bitterness and plagued by insecurity, but after he allowed God to change his name, people were forced to see him as, “Prince with God.” When Jacob was willing to change his identity it changed his image.
In this new year you cannot settle for doing something new you have to resolve to BEING someone new.
Allow God to change your identity. To be conformed to the character of Christ. He is working to bridge the gap between who you are currently and who he has called you to be. Let him.
For God’s Renown!