What To Do When You Feel Stuck In An Identity Crisis
I have found myself thinking a lot about my identity lately, not just In a Spiritual way, but in rethinking how I view myself based on how the world tells me I should be viewed. For instance, when I introduce myself I have a really hard time just saying my name. I love when I am in a big group of people and you have to tell your name, what you do, a fun fact, or something else that tangibly explains a little bit of who you are as a person to the people you are meeting.
I am so used to boxing myself into an identity based on my major in college, or the activities that I did in high school and college, the job that I have right now, who my friends are, who my family is, etc. I’ve thought a lot about the following question: how would I feel if I just introduced myself to someone as Rachel and said nothing else? Just stood there not mentioning any accolades or asking them questions to make them love me or rattling off the things I am involved in, but just stood there. Would people still love me if I wasn't cool, or funny, or dressed a certain way? Would they still love you?
As someone who has grown up in the church, I know in my heart that God loves me and values me just for existing. He would love me even if I wore my pajamas around all day and never left my bed. But I realized that just because you have been told something over and over again and that even your head logically believes and accepts that, it doesn’t mean your heart believes it. Because at my core, just to be really vulnerable, I don’t always think I am worth being loved just as I am.
And if you are feeling the same way as I am, that doesn’t mean that you are a weak Christian or that you just need to quote Bible verses to yourself every day to feel better. No, we live in a world where comparison runs rampant in the streets looking to suck out our souls like Harry Potter dementors. We are constantly looking to how much better other people are around us on social media, at work, or church.
One of my favorite podcasters, Stephanie May Wilson, was talking to her husband one time about how hard of a time she was having comparing herself to other people online. Her husband offered her some great advice: he thought the problem might lie in the fact that she was comparing herself not just to one of these women, but to the best of the best parts of all these women, and putting that all together to create this incredible superhuman woman that actually didn't exist.
That opened up my eyes because I realize that I do the same thing on an almost daily basis. I look at how this girl dresses, coupled with this girls job, and then add on top of this girl's relationship status, this girl's Instagram Bible posts, and this girl's desire for mission work. And eventually, I am stuck feeling terrible just being me.
But the truth is, we aren't called to be the best or have the most followers, or be the best dressed. We are called to be the best versions of ourselves. I have also recently been reading a very challenging book called Garden City by John Mark Comer, and he talks through this process of feeling that we fall short in our identity and callings because there is always someone better at that thing or smarter around us. But in reality, he says, we aren't going to get to heaven and be asked, “Why weren't you more like Jessica or Taylor?” No, God is going to ask us, “Why weren't you more like Rachel?”
The other day at work someone asked me what I like to do for fun outside of work. I told them that I love to read and write, run at the gym, and be in community with other people. And they just looked at me and said, "Huh, so you don’t have any hobbies?"
Guys, I am not even lying to you about this, this person I barely met literally told me I don’t have any hobbies. And it stuck with me for a couple of days. I have always been naturally inclined to think that the stuff I was into or talented by God in just wasn’t as cool as other people’s stuff.
I don’t have a great voice so I can’t be one of those awesome people on the worship team. And I am not artsy so I can’t create beautiful pictures or be someone that picks out watercolors. I like the outdoors, but I am not trying to hang out with people that regularly go the bathroom outside so I am kind of out of that fun group. Oh, and I really hate cooking. Not in an "I sort of don’t like it" way, but in the “grocery store is worse to me than the first day of school” way. (I one time cooked an entire beef stroganoff with the plastic from the meat still in it. In my defense, I just thought it was a really big mushroom until my Uncle pointed it out to me.)
I got stuck believing the lie that society presents to us that you can’t be into anything or do anything unless you are the best at it. I love to write, but I probably won't ever be a New York Times best selling author. Does that mean I should never write again? If I love to run but don’t want to run a marathon, am I still a runner? If you love to make coffee, but you don’t own a coffee shop, do you still make coffee? Should you create a garden even if something might not grow? If you do something and don’t post about it does it still happen?
I know the truth that anything and everything that we do is glorifying to God. And sadly, there is always going to be someone better than us at something or just smarter than us. We can’t put our identity in what Instagram says we should be or what random strangers who think reading isn’t a hobby say we should be. We have to believe in who God says we are, and what we are is His.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
His co-heirs, better than the angels, chosen by Him. And it’s not enough to just read the Scriptures and talk to your church friends about it, we actually have to believe it. We have to believe that when we are our worst, grossest, meanest selves God still chooses us. And when you are crying in your bed at night and no one can hear you, God still chooses you. And when you aren’t the worship leader at church, God still has given you so many gifts.
You are worth loving even if you don’t have a boyfriend or a husband or anyone trying to slide into your DMs. You are worth loving if you are stuck in a job that you hate. You are worth loving if you never get a college degree. You are worth loving even if a parent has told you that you aren't.
So, I challenge us today to be better about wholly and actually embracing our identity and putting our worth in who Jesus says we are and who He died to save. Our worth isn’t dependent on anything we do but it is completely dependent on a God who never changes. Soak in that truth today as you take the next step in discovering who you are in the light of His embrace.
How do you fully embrace your identity in Christ?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel resides in Lancaster, Pa where she is a Digital Marketing Specialist. A recent graduate from Grove City College, Rachel hopes that her articles can help girls through hard times in college and also as they transition into the real world. In her spare time, you can find Rachel reading, hanging with her small group, exploring cute cafes, and longing for the ocean. You can find more of her writing at christiangirlcode.org.