CONVERSATIONS WITH COACH TOYIN ON CHRISTIANS HAVING AN IDENTITY CRISIS

On the previous episode, we got to know Coach Toyin and what she is all about as a Christian Transformation and Lifestyle coach. If you missed out, please read here. This week, we are talking about Christians who are struggling with their identity in God and really seek to be better. Coach Toyin digs deep into this issue and also shows us practical steps by which one can be free to fly in their personality and walk with God. Now! Let’s get to it.

We’re back this week, hopefully we can get to delve more deeply into soul searching.

I’m excited to do this again

For someone who doesn’t know where they stand, or has not heard the phrase before, can you please help them expound on or state possible traces that tell one is actually in an identity crisis situation?

Being a child of God is all about identity. So if you identify yourself as a follower of Christ, yet you are struggling with any of these things, you are having an identity crisis, or as I like to say, you are embracing ‘the old man’ which is a false identity. If this is you, I encourage you to reach for help to discover and step into your identity in Christ:

  • Struggling with sin
  • Struggling with your brokenness because it continues to define you and confine you into a lifestyle (outer or inner lifestyle) that is carnal
  • You do not experience a consistent intimacy with God, you often feel disconnected from or disinterested in Him
  • You do not know how to hear/recognise God’s voice, you do not know how to receive direction from God
  • You do not know God’s purpose for your life or how to discover it
  • You do not experience God’s presence or His power at work in your life
  • Your view of God, of life and of yourself is shaped not by the Word of God but by what you see, hear, touch, smell, taste, or by your feelings.

There are many people, including people who have been Christians for many years, yet they have identity crisis, because they have never discovered, meditated upon and embraced who they are in Christ. They may know it in principle but it has not become real to them, so they are still living from their old identity, from ‘the old man’.

The struggle to come to the knowledge of who we are in Christ and also walk in our true identity is real. So many broken people from whole homes walking the streets and positioned at various workplaces. How do we level this up with the current realities of our world today?

For me, one of the biggest tragedies in life is when a Christian does not discover and immerse himself in his God-given identity. This is a tragedy not just because that person is missing out on the life of God in the Spirit, but also because that person’s God-given purpose remains unbirthed, AND that person is misrepresenting Christ to the world. The reason that the world does not take the church seriously is because most Christians are living way beneath their God-given identity, so the world looks at us and sees no reason to follow Christ – I mean if we who claim to follow the Christ, the Saviour, do not look free from sin and brokenness, why would the world believe that Christ actually saves?

On the other hand, the Bible says that creation is waiting in earnest expectation for the revelation of the children of God (Romans 8:19). Meaning that we are the solution to the brokenness, sinfulness, corruption, godlessness that has kept our world in state it is in. God sent His Son, Jesus to pave the way for a restoration of man and creation to God. Then God sent us with His Spirit, to walk that way that Jesus created, and as we walk in all spheres of life, we bring people to join us on that way.

So the way to ‘level up’ with the realities of our world is for children of God to discover and walk in their God-given identities.

On the last episode, you mentioned Christian’s struggling to live ‘the God life’ marked out for them, I guess struggling through depression could be a key challenge to achieving this? This also been one of the recent increasing vices in the nation. Would you be so kind to leave a few tips as to how one can slip out of this demeanor into light?

No matter what people say, depression is not first and foremost a state of the mind. It is first and foremost a state of (and in) the spirit, which then translates to a state of the mind. Therefore every response that you have to depression must be anchored within your spiritual weapons of warfare. You will only believe this if you understand that you are a spirit and you live in a spiritual world, and what you see and experience in the physical and emotional realm is but a product of what is taking place in the spirit.

The Bible says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13) If you read what I am saying and your response is, “Yes that’s all well and good Coach Toyin, but let’s be practical …” then it means you are not yet immersed in the life in the Spirit and you do not understand that the things that are seen are temporal, and are determined by the things that are unseen, which are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Now, with the understanding that depression is first and foremost a state in the spirit and your weapons to fight it are mighty in the spirit, you should (in fact, you must) take up whatever tools are available to you here in the natural realm.

  1. Depression tends to leave people feeling helpless and hopeless, so quickly find a spiritually strong person who can support you at this time. Do not walk this road alone.
  2. Prayerfully find a psychiatrist or qualified counsellor/therapist who will help you to work through the emotional and biological evidence of this spiritual condition.
  3. Do not give up on the process. This life is a battle. Fight. When you are weary, lean more on people who are strong in the Lord. If there is no one in your immediate circle who you feel you can lean on then be brave enough to go outside your circle. There are many christian organisations that can be that first point of spiritual support for you, and then who can refer you to qualified counsellors or psychiatrists who are aligned with the understanding that depression is firstly a state in the spirit.

As a child who had to grow into a ‘secret hole’ that influenced your identity because of various external decisions and circumstances, how does the experiences from our childhood affect or influence self-identity and dispositions. Can you share more on this for parents to glean from, as well as for one to find healing?

A “secret hole” is what emerges in your identity as a result of life experiences that make you more prone to sin and brokenness. 1 John 5:19 says, “We know that we are children of God but the whole world is under the influence of the wicked one.” John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal …” meaning that life is full of experiences that tie us deeper into sin and brokenness.

Now when we become born again, we are completely freed from the nature of sin and the resulting lifestyle, however, we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin by intentionally surrendering to a lifestyle of transformation. It is through this lifestyle that you experience the freedom from those secret holes that were worked into your identity as a result of life experiences.

As a parent, you need to consciously give your child life-giving and identity building experiences. You need to plant seeds of spiritual strength, righteousness, holiness in your child. I’m talking about raising them up in the example of Christ (through your own lifestyle as well as through teaching them from the Word, teaching them to have a lifestyle of prayer etc). You need to plant seeds of emotional strength, social strength, physical and intellectual strength. These are seeds (most importantly the spiritual seeds) that will grow in your child and help shape their identities, so that if or when secret holes emerge in their identities, they have the power within themselves to reach for and experience healing in Christ.

As a parent, you should also consciously shield your child from experiences that can bring secret holes into your child’s life. You cannot protect your child from everything, but as a parent, you can prayerfully shield your child and the Holy Spirit can reveal to you things that are happening to your child that are harming them.

If you are reading this and your identity is still littered with secret holes, understand that you need to deal with these because secret holes make you more likely to sin. Most of the time, we sin to fill the empty spaces that God is meant to fill. We try to fill our secret holes by looking to counterfeit experiences. One of the ways that I help people to begin the transformation journey out of their secret holes is by helping them to prayerfully walk through their life stories to determine what life experiences caused the secret holes in the first place and how God has been at work in their lives all along despite to bring them to Him, and into His purpose for their lives. Your secret holes can be filled through walking in the Spirit. Your identity does not have to be marred, confined and defined by secret holes.

What is the role of intentionality in fully living out and attaining a full life in God?

I read recently that the life of God in Christ will not just jump out from behind the couch and grab you! You need to hear about it (which is where God’s unending love and grace comes in because He saturates our spaces with His voice and with unwavering invitations to come to Him) desire it and then God fills you with it. Over and over again, the Bible says that God is a satisfier of hunger … in other words, you need to hunger for the God-life and God will fill you with it without limit. That desire is so important.

But what is amazing is that God also provides grace for us to help us stir up the desire for Him. This is where your intentional choice to immerse yourself in God’s Word, in prayer, in worship, in fellowship comes in. These things stir up in you a desire for more of God and they also convey you deeper into His presence. The more your hunger grows, the more you are filled in the life of God in the Spirit.

Identifying our areas of brokenness can seem like a difficult thing to do, especially because it brings to fore situations we would rather not remember. How do we begin to walk and work through identifying our brokenness in order to experience wholeness?

Hmmm, this is a sensitive one because as Christians we believe we must “forget the things that lie behind” or “do not remember the former things”. This is very true but if there was nothing to be gained from what happened in the past, we would not have the Bible would we? The whole point of the Bible is to show us how God has always worked with His children, and how the different responses that His children have had to Him over the generations have shaped and affected their destinies.

Walking through your life story is so critical to identifying your brokenness and experiencing healing from it. However, the key is that this is a process that you should go through hand in hand with the Holy Spirit, because He is the One who can show you how God has been at work in and through your whole life to bring you into your identity in Him. The Holy Spirit will walk you through your life story, even through the most broken parts, and He will help you ensure that your past does not define or confine you, but it rather catapults you into God’s perfect plan for your life.

When I coach people, I find that they are often very nervous about the process of exploring their life stories as part of their healing journey. However, my experience is that most people who entrust themselves to the Holy Spirit as we go through the process, experience great insight not just into their areas of brokenness, but also into the signs that tell them what their God given purpose is, and into the tools that God has given them to fulfil that purpose.

I am personally passionate about people learning to hear God for themselves. You talk about your relationship with God so tangibly. How did you start to hear God for yourself and how has it helped you thus far?

Ahhhh … I believe I have always heard God’s voice since I became a conscious Christian. As a child, I remember feeling like I knew what God would want me to do in a situation and what He would not want me to do.

Even as a teenager in my backsliden years when I was intentionally walking outside of God’s pattern, I used to hear His voice in my spirit. How is that possible, you may ask? Because even though I was in wilful sin, my spirit was reborn into the God-life, and I was in Christ, though still living as if I was in bondage to sin. As soon as we are in Christ, we can hear His voice as a matter of inheritance (or entitlement). HOWEVER, many Christians, because they have chosen to continue to live in sin, even though they are now in Christ, cannot recognise God’s voice when He speaks. Or they cannot bring themselves to obey or align with Him because they have held on to carnal lusts, and those seem more attractive to them than God’s way.

So even though I could hear God’s voice when I was backsliden, my communion with Him was so limited. However, as I have grown in the Spirit, and as I have allowed the Lord to work in me, helping me to shed carnality from my life more and more, and helping me to embrace the life of God in the Spirit more and more, my ability to hear God’s voice has increased. I am now even more confident to speak words of knowledge and prophecy to people, according to what I hear the Lord say.

I’m also no longer someone who says things like, “I don’t know what God wants me to do.” This is because I now know how to receive direction from God in every area of my life. I now know how to still my spirit to receive from His Spirit. I on longer have to guess what I’m meant to do with my life in a particular season. Hearing God is a total game changer!

Let’s talk about habits.One of the struggles many people have is getting rid of old habits to form new ones in righteousness. Can you please help simplify the processes involved in breaking sinful habits?

“Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”

“Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against You.”

I have many tools and steps I use to work with people to help them to break sinful habits. However, they are all built on the same principle, and if you can crack it, you are ‘home free’. The principle is: Walk in the Spirit.

Step 1

Understand who you are in Christ, embrace it and live by it. This comes through Bible Study and meditation, prayer and a worshipful lifestyle. Joining a strong fellowship also helps a lot. You see, as a Christian, you must understand and embrace that being ‘saved’ means that you have been ‘born again’ into a new life in the Spirit. You are a new creation. Brand new! The old self that was in bondage to Satan and to sin is dead! You are now alive in Christ AND IT IS NO LONGER YOUR NATURE TO SIN! So when you do sin, understand that you are engaging in a lifestyle that is alien to who you are. It is also a lifestyle that you are fully equipped to overcome, because you are no longer born of the flesh and the kingdom of darkness but now of the kingdom of God. So step 1 is to understand and embrace your identity as one who has victory over sinful habits through your faith in Christ (through your salvation).

Step 2

“Reckon yourself to be dead to sin and alive in Christ” (Romans 6:11). This is where the transformation process comes in. Every person who is ‘born again’ and who has been freed from the power of sin needs to choose not to surrender himself back to the lifestyle of sin, as its slave, but rather to surrender to the lifestyle of the Spirit, as a servant of God. It is a choice you make and as you do it daily, you will experience the freedom that is already yours through salvation. Whatever you surrender yourself to, you are a slave to that thing (Romans 6:16). Sadly, many Christians are surrendering themselves as slaves to sin, even though they have been freed from its power COMPLETELY. But the solution is to walk in the Spirit. How do you walk in the Spirit? You immerse yourself into the grace of God that is available to every believer, to – – deny yourself of carnal exposures that present themselves to you – immerse yourself in the spiritual tangibles that help you grow in the Spirit, that is, meditating on the Word, prayer, fasting, fellowship with other believers I like to say, “create silences in your life and then fill your silences with sights and sounds of heaven”. This is how you experience the victory over sin that you received through faith in Christ.

Step 3

Lastly, does this all mean you will never ever sin? No. 1 John 1:8-9 says if you say you have no sin, you deceive yourself, but if you confess your sin, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. A critical benefit of being a child of God is that you have access to the forgiveness of sin and cleansing from all unrighteousness. An unbeliever cannot ask God for forgiveness of sin without first asking Jesus to be his Lord and Saviour – this is what delivers him from being a slave to sin. But for you who has already made a decision to follow Christ, you are no longer a slave to sin, and so when you do sin, you have access to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need. Running to God for forgiveness and receiving His grace and mercy at the times when you do mess up is a critical ingredient of your path to overcoming habitual sin.

Someone sent in a question last week. She wants to know how she can develop a consistent personal bible study attitude. You have also reiterated the importance of gaining spiritual knowledge in order to be a transformed Christian. Could you help with this?

That’s a loaded question. I’ll try and suggest a few practical steps in point form.

  • Pray about your desire and ask God to help you to develop consistency in meditating on His word
  • What has worked for me has been to BINGE (I actually have a program called THE BINGE) – that is to carve out specific times and seasons in my month where I detox on carnal inputs in my life and I BINGE on God’s Word and other spiritual inputs (the Word, prayer, worship etc). Create silences in your life and then fill those silences with the Word
  • Get a good Reference Bible (you can also use apps on your phone) – Enrol for a good Bible Study program that will immerse you into the Word. Most of the shifts I have experienced in my walk with God have been products of intense Bible Study Programs as well as Binge seasons
  • Learn how to meditate on God’s Word. Note that meditation and scripture memorisation are very different from one another. Meditation is what gets God’s word into your heart. I can recommend some resources for you if you want to learn how to meditate on God’s Word.

It’s been awesome chatting you up. We look forward to having a video session next week.

I’ve really enjoyed it! I’m excited about next week’s video session too. 

…Annnnnd it’s a wrap! I trust you have enjoyed this session of the Mid-Year Soul Clinic with Coach Toyin. On Monday, June 24th, we would be going live on Instagram to have a deeper conversation. Make sure to follow us on there @magnigeria and Coach Toyin @coach_toyin to get all the updates. Can’t wait to have you! Ciao!

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