The Prospering Home: How Identity Affects Your Spending
Do you tend to make financial decisions based on what’s urgent in the moment?
Urgency is loud. It attracts our attention and tries to push us into operating from a place of “Oh no! I have to take care of this NOW!”
But urgency is not a good co-leader. In matters of finance and learning how to prosper our homes, the question “What is urgent?” does not carry as much weight as other questions like:
What is truly important to me?
What is actually greater than the urgent things trying to get my attention right now?
These questions are wrapped up in identity. When we’re talking about money, identity is the foundational element to understand because it determines the way we make decisions.
When we refine the complex idea of identity down to its core, we start to realize every person on earth operates from one of two identities:
The orphan identity
The adopted-child identity
Here’s how these identities can play out in our lives and affect our spending.
Do You Feel Like You’re Alone?
When someone identifies as an orphan, they have no sense of personal value. No one provides for them, and they feel unprotected. They’re completely on their own, and they believe there’s nothing greater than themselves. In other words, they don’t believe there’s a God who wants to take care of them.
A literal orphan—a child who has experienced serious trauma in life and hasn’t found protection, provision, or identity—learns they’re on their own at an early age. They often develop some strange behaviors as they try to fend for themselves. They’ll stuff sandwiches into their pockets and hoard items they might need later.
Adults with an orphan identity will behave like literal orphans in subtle ways. For instance, they might start purchasing certain items simply because they’re trying to comfort themselves—we call it retail therapy. They’re trying to protect and provide for themselves, but because they don’t know who they are, they look for their identity in their purchases.
“This is who I am, and this is what I’m like. Look—I can show you. Here’s how I have worth.”
The orphan identity is why we see people exaggerate their spending and lose control. They go out and buy things because they’re trying to purchase a sense of who they are.
When we don’t know who we are, we can unintentionally create for ourselves tremendous and painful financial cycles. Some of us are struggling right now because we don’t really understand who we are and we think we’re all alone.
But everything changes when we realize something greater than ourselves exists.
Do You Understand Someone Greater Wants to Take Care of You?
Here’s what an adoption identity looks like.
As followers of Jesus, we know God is our protector and provider, and He’s the One who tells us who we are. This is the gospel of Christ. It moves us from a fatherless separation to an identity in the Father. We are His children and He cares for us.
This threefold triangle—protection, provision, and identity—enables us to build capacity in our lives. Capacity is the ability to carry the good things that come to us.
Picture “increase” as a brick that sits upon the triangle of a person’s capacity. If that triangle is broken, it won’t be able to hold the brick in place. The lack of capacity creates cycles of repeating problems in our lives. Good things come to us, but we can’t hold them.
However, when we have a strong sense of protection, provision, and identity, understanding we belong to someone greater than ourselves and He’s providing for us—our capacity grows. When the weight of promotion and increase comes, we are able to carry it well and demonstrate capacity.
Just as a lack of identity can create painful financial cycles in our lives, when we finally figure out who we are and that we have a good Father, we can remedy those cycles and begin to walk in freedom.
It is possible to be successful with money, but it begins with identity.
Who You Really Are
When it’s time to answer the “Who am I?” question, we need to go to a source where we can learn the truth about ourselves. What better source is there than the One who made us?
In Genesis when the moment came for God to bless humanity, He spoke something incredible. These were His first words to our ancestors: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
That, my friend, is who you are—you are a fruitful person. That is how you were created, and it is the fingerprint of God on you.
What does this mean?
It means you aren’t passive on the earth! You’re not a victim. You are not destroyed. You are a creative creature designed by God to be fruitful and multiply, to grow and increase. You belong to someone greater than yourself, and He values you more than you know.
Understanding who you really are is the key to making financial decisions and learning how to prosper your home.
This is part 5 in a series on prospering your home. To read Stephen’s other articles in this series, click the links below:
To watch Stephen’s Facebook Live on this topic, click here.