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The longest struggle of my life has been with my identity. Who am I? What’s my purpose? What’s my favorite band? Where do I see myself in 20 years?
All of these questions and then some have occupied my mind since I was a kid. Every week I wanted to grow up to be something different: marine biologist, spy, writer, teacher; my lists were endless.
As I grew older, this mentality never left and it turned into a stronghold. Every day I’ve had not only a new idea of what career I would like, but also a different version of myself I hoped I would like. I never felt like I had a solid foundation in who I was and who God had made me to be, so I was easily swayed. Wear your hair like this, act like this, be interested in this, stop doing…the list was endless. I became so caught up in everything the world said I was supposed to be that I forgot who I was made to be.
Since I was a teenager, I feel like I’ve tried to conform and be what every person wanted me to be and what the world saw as acceptable. People told me I was too nice so I became more sarcastic. People told me that skinny women are pretty women so I’ve cursed my God-given curvy body. People have treated me like I’m always their second choice so I’ve placed that label on myself, thinking God and everyone else sees me that way too.
I became so caught up in everything the world said I was supposed to be that I forgot who I was made to be.
When I happened upon Becoming Myself, I was actually seeking God about who I was and what my purpose on this earth was supposed to be. I was perusing the Christian section of Barnes and Nobles and praying God would send me a book that would change me and give me the answers I was looking for. I am a book lover and former English major, so reading is my thing. At this point in time, (which, if I’m honest, was about a month ago) I felt like I was at such a low point.
For years I have tried to be a version of myself, not the self I really am. I’ve struggled in feeling connected in relationships because I’m so scared someone won’t like the real me or will become disinterested. I’ve struggled with an autoimmune disease I believed God gave me to teach me a lesson or punish me for something I was unaware of. And I have struggled with my weight due to my health and the void I thought only food could fill. Stasi Eldredge is not a stranger to food as an addiction, and her honesty about having to daily give that to God reminded me that just because I’ve prayed for deliverance or answers and God hasn’t given them, doesn’t mean He’s given up on me, doesn’t love me or is trying to punish me. I simply need to face my struggles instead of shying away from them or hoping God will love me in spite of them.
I let my skewed version of God decimate the person He has made me to be. In order to become myself I have to remember who God is: my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my source of identity and my purpose. I finally realized my identity crisis had been a mask to my real problem: I stopped allowing God to be God and let circumstances and other people shape Him instead of shaping me in His image.
In order to become myself I have to remember who God is: my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my source of identity and my purpose.
Because many people in my life have only shown me that they will disappoint and fail, I have equated this behavior with God. When it had been years and years and I wasn’t healed, I thought God had failed me too. Then the simple words from Stasi said, “His love will never fail you.” I cried. I used to lead worship and sing songs that said this. The Bible says this. My mom has told me this. But for some reason reading it again, with this heavy weight in my heart, I knew that not only had God never failed me, but He would never fail me. Ever.
God, in His precious love, will never fail. Everyone else has and everyone else will, but He won’t. I was guilty of making God flawed and human, pushing Him away like the people in my life because I didn’t think I could rely on him. Just because you don’t understand why certain events have happened in your life or why your circumstances haven’t changed like you’ve hoped, doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you. In the words of Stasi Eldredge, “It is not too late. It is not too hard. You are not too much.”
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Image Credit: malexrosales, Creative Commons