Let’s delve into an often-overlooked aspect of our charism discernment journey: the identity quotient. There is great importance in understanding our true identity, rooted in our relationship with God.

The Significance of Identity

Identity is the way we perceive ourselves, the core concept of who we are. Many of us derive our identity from external factors such as relationships, achievements, or struggles, inadvertently placing our self-worth in their hands. However, as Jill emphasizes, true identity can only be found in our relationship with God, who created us and determines our worth.

Relationships, Achievements, and Struggles

While relationships, achievements, and struggles play essential roles in our lives, they should not define our identity. Jill cautions against becoming overly reliant on them and warns of the consequences if they are lost or fail to fulfill us. Instead, she encourages us to prioritize God’s perspective of who we are and to let His truth shape our identity.

The End Game: A Steadfast Identity

Jill challenges us to envision a strong and unwavering identity that remains constant in all circumstances. This unshakeable identity is anchored in our relationship with God and what He says about us. Whether we find ourselves in moments of great success or profound suffering, our identity in Christ remains steadfast.

The Identity Quotient

To measure the impact of God’s perspective on our self-identity, the podcast introduces the concept of an identity quotient (IQ). Through a simple assessment, we can gauge how much our understanding of ourselves aligns with God’s view. A score below 30 suggests room for growth, while anything above 30 indicates a readiness to explore our charisms.

Embracing Healing and Purpose

True healing of our identity is not a means to an end but a gift from our loving Father. God desires to heal and restore our identity, not just for the sake of serving others, but primarily for our own well-being and intimacy with Him. As we embrace the healing of our identity, a genuine desire to share the fruits of our transformation will arise.

Understanding our true identity is vital on our charism discernment journey. It allows us to grasp the fullness of our potential and live out our spiritual gifts in alignment with God’s plan. Let us devote time to prayer, introspection, and embracing the healing God offers, so that our identity reflects His truth. Remember, your worth is not based on what you achieve or what others think of you, but on who God says you are. Embrace your true identity, and witness the transformative power of your charisms.

Jill Simons [00:00:00]:

Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries where we equip the Body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re are able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the Church. Let’s dive in. Welcome to today’s episode of the Charisms for Catholics podcast. We’re gonna be talking about something that I cannot believe that I have never talked about before given the amount of questions I get about it. And that is the identity quotient aspect of our charism assesment. The identity quotient is a really important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not something that has ever been presented with charisms to my knowledge before in the past. And so that’s why it’s really important that we dig into why this is such an important part of the overall charism discernment journey.

Jill Simons [00:01:04]:

So first of all, what is identity? Identity is basically your concept of yourself. How do you view yourself, what do you think is true about yourself? And when we base our identity on all of these things that can change and can shift throughout our life, then we really put ourselves in a position where our identity is is contingent on things outside of ourselves, or our identity is coming out of a place of really are own woundedness, our own brokenness. And the true place that we can draw our identity from is from our relationship with God. And really, ultimately, what God says about us is really, really what God says about us is really the the best place to draw our identity from. So when we look at this, there’s really three places that we organically draw our identity from. Those are relationships, our achievements, and our struggles. And so I’m gonna break down each one of those for you. Our relationships are really clear.

Jill Simons [00:02:13]:

When someone asks you, you know, tell me about yourself or who you are, it’s really come in to start with. Well, I am married. I have x number of children. I, you know, such and such are my parents. Maybe if you’re in a local setting where people would know you based on that. And and talking about who we are based on who we are in relationship and how we are in relationship with them amongst other human beings. And there’s obviously nothing wrong with that. We’re created to be in these relationships that can be really beautiful and really life giving and be our patient what we’re really called to do.

Jill Simons [00:02:49]:

But at the same time, we can put too much of our emphasis of our self into those things. We can put too much of the weight of who we are into those things. And to really see where the issue is, you don’t have to look any further than someone who has lost a spouse and no longer has any sense of their own identity, or no longer has children living at home, maybe everybody’s gone college and no longer has a sense of their own identity. These are places where we’ve put so much of ourselves into being a husband, are to being a mom or something like that. That then when if those things are lost in the temporal world, we really don’t know who we are anymore. Are. And that is such a tragedy because we are made for primary relationship with God. And so when we talk about removing the primacy of these things in our identity, we’re not looking to stop being a wife or being a husband or being a mom or being a dad were being a daughter or being a son of an earthly set of parents.

Jill Simons [00:03:55]:

We’re talking about keeping those things in their correct order in our lives, putting them under our relationship with God and what he ultimately says about us. And then if we look at achievements, looking at I am what I achieve, the things that I do give me value and work. This is a really common one in our society. This was very much my identity drug of choice for a very long time because I was so attached to what I was accomplishing. The things I was doing in theater, the things I was doing academically, the things I was doing in visual art were very, very important to me. And so after college, I graduated summa cum laude, stayed three years and did all the things, took two semesters abroad, and just had this really, really successful, achievement-filled college career, following an achievement-filled high school career. And I get out. I am getting married.

Jill Simons [00:05:00]:

I marry my college sweetheart, and he’s working his first job, and I decide that it’s time for me to go to graduate school, I’m seeking an MFA, and looking to ultimately become faculty somewhere teaching poetry was really kind of, at that time, the goal. Because that seemed like the most practical thing to do with the gifts that I had been given. So I fill out all of my poetry MFA applications, nine different schools all over the country. Entry all of the programs granted were, took less than five people a year. So they were extremely selective, and they were all also full ride so that you would get a complete scholarship based on your TA, term there to be able to go get your graduate degree. And every single one of them rejected me. I got nine rejection letters and emails over the course of have about three months in the spring of, what would it have been, the spring of 2013. And It was not great.

Jill Simons [00:06:10]:

It was really not great. I think back on that time often and I think that that’s one of those times when God is, like, really playing the parent card of, like, this hurts me more than it hurts you, but you need this. And I did need that. I did need to have that real idol of achievement removed from my life, and so not achieving something so important. I mean, I didn’t know anyone who had been denied from graduate school. Now granted, I wasn’t going to get a typical graduate degree. But in my mind, this is this is the script, right, that no one I know has ever not gotten into graduate school. And I really let that mean some really negative things about myself for quite a while after that.

Jill Simons [00:06:58]:

And it’s been the process of letting that go that so much of the healing has come in my identity. And then finally, we talk about struggles. Maybe it’s something that you do on a regular basis. Maybe it’s a habitual sin. Maybe it’s that you have an addiction or something like that. It could be that you have a diagnosis. It could be cancer or a chronic illness, autoimmune see something that is a constant struggle in your life, and it feels like that is who you are. These are not typically the things you’re gonna answer the question when someone asks you, you know, who are you? You’re not gonna lead with those things.

Jill Simons [00:07:36]:

But so often deep in our hearts, we believe those things are the most true about ourselves. And this leads to this kind of double life mentality. You hear all the time about people that are high functioning alcoholics or gambling addicts or opioid addicts or things like that, they feel like they’re living in this double life, where they’re maybe doing the job, do living the faith life publicly, but there’s this thing going on behind closed doors that feels like this is really who I am. And it’s very easy to see how incredibly crushing that would be. And all of us do this to some extent, though we might not have problems of that magnitude going on in our lives. We all have this tendency to really degrade ourselves in various ways. And so all three of these options, relationships, achievements, struggles, doesn’t matter what your poison is. All of them ultimately amount to less than you have been created for, which is steady, ongoing relationship with God.

Jill Simons [00:08:46]:

And so to think about what we’re going for here, what is the end game for your identity? I always say what works at the Oscars and Auschwitz. Those two extremes of the human experience, what works when you’re are winning the most prestigious award in the world. And what works when you are stripped to nothing in a concentration camp with nothing that you own or have or can control. Those circumstances vary as much as circumstances can, but there needs to be one identity that is sustaining in both places. And that can only be an identity based on what your relationship is with God and what he says about you. Because there’s gonna be lots of things being said by lots of people in both of those extremes. And having the ability to let those things only mean what they properly should mean and not let those integrate into the core of who you are is ultimately what God is inviting us into. This is what we see in the saints.

Jill Simons [00:10:02]:

Right? This ability to be in the world and not of it, to have these circumstances that we can barely imagine, that they still face with holiness and grace because their identity transcends their situation. They don’t need anything from the situation because they are already okay. They already have what they need from God. This is what we’re all going for. That’s what I think about so often is, you know, it’s a morbid, horrible thought. But if I was taken away from my family, put in prison, am I in a place in my relationship with God that I can get through that? Now granted, there’s huge amount of grace that comes if we are going to be called to go through something like that that is not given to us when we’re not called to go through that. So we always want to trust that the the Lord will provide for us in those situations. But I also think, like, am I thinking the thoughts now that provide a basis for that grace to be enough.

Jill Simons [00:11:03]:

Am I already listening primarily to what it is that God is saying about me so that should I be pushed? I can have this muscle really that’s used to relying on God’s grace and what God says about me to be enough. So I experience this a lot when I go and speak places. I travel all over the country and I will go and speak. And I always try and enter into that with a level of detachment of I care only about what it is that God thinks about how I represented him today. And if everybody hates it, then that would be sad. I would I would admittedly be sad that everyone disliked it, but I would be okay with it because I would have have peace with the fact that I represented Christ the way that he was calling me to represent him. And on the flip side, if everybody loves it, I try not to let that mean more than it actually means about me. That that doesn’t become an occasion of pride or being invited thinking that this is really coming from me, remembering that this is because God is in me, working in me, speaking through me.

Jill Simons [00:12:16]:

And I remain just his servant who’s super excited to get to do this with him and for him. So when we look at the identity quotient on the assessment. That is really looking at how much does what God say about you and your relationship with God impact how you view yourself right now. That’s ultimately what we’ve done is try to put a numeric numeric value to the options there. So the way that it works is there are ten questions related to identity. You can get from a one to a five on each of the questions. So lowest you can get on identity is ten, highest you can get is fifty. We usually put right in the middle thirty as kind of the demarcation line of if you are below thirty, we want to invite you more than anything to spend some time in prayer with God, letting him share with you where the disconnect is.

Jill Simons [00:13:22]:

Like, what is it that I don’t believe about myself that you want me to? Where am I not seeing myself the way that you see me? And trying to move away from drawing our value and drawing our worth from those three things we already talked about, relationships, achievements, and struggles, and moving towards having our worth come from what God says we are worth. I always, one of my mentors gave us this great image that a painting is worth what the artist who painted it is worth, really. Not that that’s, like, the value their life, but, you know, something that my three year old has drawn versus something that Picasso has drawn have vastly different values because of who the artist is, and we’re in a similar situation with our own lives, because of who created us, just because of who the artist is, there is so much value there that we need to be open to accepting, really that that is true about us, and not putting ourself in the camp of the art done by the three year old that has no or very low intrinsic value. And so then if you’re above thirty on the IQ, everyone can continue to grow in this throughout their life. And this is a great thing to pray about on a regular basis, kind of check-in with where am I at. But if you’re above thirty, we really encourage you to go kind of headlong into the charisma board. Go ahead and jump into charisms, keep in mind to not do it from a place of proving and performing and trying to earn something, but, you know, go forth and explore. Those below thirty, in addition to taking that time of prayer, we also want to encourage you to come to a place where you can enter into your charism discernment journey without trying to prove something about yourself.

Jill Simons [00:15:26]:

That’s really what we’re going for. We trust you to discern that for yourself. Am I doing this to try and prove something that I have some kind of value, that that I’m not just a waste of space. We don’t wanna have that mentality overlapping with discerning your charisms. We wanna move through that first. Because at the end of the day, God doesn’t want to heal your identity, so that then you can start on checklist for him. God wants to heal your identity because he wants your identity to be healed for you, because he wants that for you. And I don’t think that we hear that enough.

Jill Simons [00:16:08]:

I think I’ve met so many people with very challenging stories of trauma and heartache. And so often, the focus is on, well, I wanna heal so that I can help someone else going through there’s nothing wrong with that. But also that is not why you are worthy of healing, so that you can be purposeful somewhere else. You are worthy of healing because your Father, your creator says you are, and he wants to give that to you. Period. End of sentence. And then, so often, the joy and the fruit of the spirit that flows from what we has received we have received draws us into wanting to do the next thing. To wanting to provide for someone else out of love because we recognize the love with which we have received.

Jill Simons [00:17:05]:

And that’s it’s a subtle, but really important shift to how we think about moving forward, how we think about healing in our minds and our identities. But it’s really important. So we’ll be continuing to have a couple more deep dive episodes over the next couple of months as we talk about this moving forward because it’s a big thing. It’s a big deal. A lot of people are operating out of a hurt identity in a lot of ways, and we really really want to provide you with the tools to do that. And that’s gonna be the biggest kind of point of conversation is how we are going to be creating some new resources for you that are very accessible to men and women to think about these questions, self assess identity, and move forward really with more of that vision of yourself coming into alignment with how God sees you. I hope that you have a great week. I’ll see you next time.

Jill Simons [00:18:06]:

Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.