When Christian author DeMonica Gladney found out her identity had been stolen six years ago, she was devastated. Not only had the thief charged $10,000 to credit cards in her name, but she wasn’t sure what steps were needed to fix the problem. She later realized her identity in Christ had also been stolen in exchange for an unhealthy materialism, and today she's helping people reclaim both their material and spiritual identities based on her experience.
Gladney, a corporate attorney who works for Exxon Mobil in Houston, Texas, says dealing with identity theft and a near-fatal car accident opened her eyes to the way she once put her trust in material things rather than in God, and led her to write her most recent book, Identity Theft: Discovering The Real You.
When people find their identities in other people, possessions or positions, Gladney said, they are sacrificing the spiritual identity God designed for them to assume.
“In essence, when we do that, we become diminished versions of who God created us to be," she told The Christian Post on Thursday.
Gladney said God used a devastating car accident to reveal to her a need for change in her life. She was nearly killed after being hit by a drunk driver several years ago, and though she had been going to church and going through the motions of being a Christian, she found that she had placed too much trust in her success and her possessions.
"I believe when I began to figure out who I was and reconnect with my identity to Christ, I began to go down the path that He had ordained for my life,” she said.
An individual cannot fully understand their God-given purpose on Earth if they only go through the motions of the Christian faith, she said, “and if you don't understand your purpose I don't think you can fully walk in the destiny that God has called you to.”
Now Gladney is taking her experience, with both material and spiritual identity theft, and sharing it with others to help people protect themselves and reclaim their lives as she has done.
This weekend, as a part of National Protect Your Identity Week, Gladney will make appearances at and around Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and will host seminars on how to prevent material identity theft.
To protect themselves, she said, people need to be cautious about who they share personal information with, how they dispose of documents and how closely they monitor their credit and bank statements.
"I think ... the best person who can monitor it is yourself,” she said.
On Saturday, she will also do a book signing at the Barnes and Noble location at Beaumont's Parkdale Mall.
In her book, Gladney shares her personal experience with readers and walks them through four steps to spiritual recovery, which are similar, in many ways, to how identity theft victims find their way to material recovery as well.
On the Web: authordemonicagladney.com