Discovering Your Identity The Correct Way
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my brother and I spent a lot of time with a family from our church. They were a farming family, so we spent our days four-wheeling, getting into mud fights in the field, and swimming at the lake.
The oldest boy, we will call him Trevor, and I started "going out" (in my home town if you are going out, you are exclusive to one another without necessarily going on dates). Things seemed to be going really well. He was involved in my church youth group, our brothers got along, and our parents were involved in the same Bible study. I thought things were perfect.
With time, it became apparent that Trevor and I were addicted to one another. He struggled with anger and that in turn passed to me. If we weren't together, one of us was angry and taking it out on those closest to us. Because of that addiction I wasn't able to spend time with my girl friends to build the relationships that should have been nurtured through high school.
Because I had invested so much into this one boy, allowed the addiction to creep up into my soul, I lost all sense of my identity. Most importantly, I lost all sense of who I was as a daughter of the Most High. I still struggle with this crisis today.
I have come to realize that the years I spent wrapped up in my relationship fiasco was the most crucial time in a young woman's life. Those young years form who you are, dictating what you will become.
I had been a confident, self-assured, patient, grace-filled person until I allowed Trevor to rule my life. I put him on a throne and built my identity around him and our relationship. So, when everything ended with Trevor, I was not the person I had set out to be.
Ladies, what I want you to take away from this very condensed version of my story is this:
Do not get so caught up in one guy, person, or thing that it ends up dictating who you are, what you do, and who your friends are.
Build yourself, your identity, and confidence in Jesus because He is the only one that will never let you down.
That painful relationship with Trevor ended in 2008, but it's taken me all these years to work with God through the residual, costly losses. I tell you this so that you will understand just how long I have struggled to rebuild what I lost.
About a month ago I was reading in Isaiah and the Holy Spirit whispered, "This verse is for you" when I came to this verse:
“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." -Isaiah 55:12
You see, I still have not been able to completely conquer the ground that was lost. For years, I have struggled with relying on my own power to get through the hard times. I lost all sense of the joy I had once known. When I came to that verse it just struck me. I had not realized that this is what I was missing: clinging to the joy of Jesus.
He is the one that I need to find my joy and identity in. I would not regain my footing any other way. It reminds me of the story of the house on the sand and the house on the rock:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” -Matthew 7:24-27
I was the foolish one. I wasn't living the words I knew were true. I built my house (self-identity) on nothingness and I fought it crumbling. I kept trying to find my identity in what I did, or in the roles I played. Before my children came along, I felt comfortable with myself knowing that I was a designer, but then I became a stay-at-home mama. My ground began shifting away from me. My husband went off to basic training for three months, another shifting; our house fell into foreclosure, another shifting; another baby came along, the foreclosure happened…I was losing all sense of what I thought I knew.
I was forced to reach my hands to heaven.
After the foreclosure, I was able to begin the slow process of pulling myself from the sand by taking time each day to spend in the word of God. In March, I began to write a devotional journal about the love of God, and let me tell you, doing so revealed so much to me. Our God is so good.
"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” -Zephaniah 3:17
Isn't that beautiful? Ah, I just bask in the love of our Heavenly Father. He is so good, so loving, and He wants you to have the freedom to know yourself as He knows you. Draw close to Him today, sister. Let Him speak His love to you. Allow Him fill you with His identity.
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