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By Taylor Faulkner Taylor was a member of the 6 Month Caribbean IMMERSION team that launched in January of 2018. This reflection was written during the time that she and her teammates spent in Jamaica.

Our world is all about impressions: first impressions, bad impressions, dressing to impress..the list could go on.

Picture this with me.. you are meeting someone for the first time. The initial conversation starts with a few words that usually go a little something like this:

Hello, my name is (fill in your name). What is your name? (person responds) Nice to meet you…

You learn the roles this person plays, the person they present to the world. You build your impression of this new friend almost instantly.

Traveling to new countries-meeting the people in each community creates countless opportunities for conversations like this one. It’s impossible to give an exact number of introductions I have made since arriving in Jamaica 8 weeks ago. You don’t realize the many opportunities you have to leave an impression until you find yourself in a room of strangers-in a country of strangers. (I say strangers very loosely. At this point, I know most of the people here in Catadupa, St. James Jamaica and I would consider them all friends.)

Over the past 8 weeks, I have taken on the role as daughter, teammate, sou chef, sister, domino champion, tree climber, chicken picker, bingo caller, waterfall chaser, futbol fan, and hairdresser.

We all take on roles, things that are a part of our everyday lives. However, sometimes we begin to let these things define us. We let our roles become our identity. We let others’ impressions of us dictate the impression of ourselves.

Life is no longer just about your name. Its about the ways your name can be greater than any other name. Life becomes all about the ways your name will be remembered.

Go back and reread that phrase again.. Doesn’t sound quite right does it? It is not my name that is to be greater than any other name. It is not my name that should be remembered. So why do we get so caught up in making our identity about being seen as the best? Why do we care so much about the opinion of everybody else? The number of likes on social media, the successful job you have, the amount of money in the bank, the impressive places you have traveled matter more than the time spent in awe-filled worship to our Creator.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God” {1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV}

To be vulnerable with you, this has been my greatest conviction. My time in Jamaica, my countless introductions, and the constant striving to impress have all led me to see this hunger for other’s approval. I have caught myself thinking about impressive photos for social media. My mind wanders in worry about the future-worry about the next power move for everyone else to admire.

When I came to this realization, it jolted me back. The guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. My life is not my own. My name means nothing without Christ. I was reminded of a verse in Matthew.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” {Matthew 10:39 NLT}

Maybe you have found yourself thinking the same way. I have a few questions for you: Where is your identity? Do you find yourself in the roles you play- your work, your relationships with people, or your profile on social media?

I am learning to find myself in Christ. My identity is in the life I live for Him. I urge you to lose your own life to find it in Him.

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” {Luke 12:25}

“This is what the LORD says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” {Isaiah 48:17}

It’s time to stop worrying about impressions. Stop worrying about your plans for the future and how great your name will be. Focus on making His name great. Our God is the name above every other name. He is the author of our story and He has some pretty awesome things in store if you are patient enough to wait on Him.

Listen to Him. Lean on Him-not on the opinions of others and the ways of the world. (Isaiah 43:4)

Of all the roles I have had during my time in Jamaica, a lover of Christ has been the one that holds the most value.

In just one week, my team and I will say goodbye to Jamaica and make new introductions in Belize. Pray with me that we continue to walk in our identity in Christ and leave an impression of hope and eternal prosperity to the people of each community we meet.

Learn More about Caribbean IMMERSION


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