Before finding my identity in Christ, I continually found myself in crisis as I looked for it in so many other people, places, things, and ideas. God graciously, patiently, and lovingly took me on a journey of discovery to find Him as well as myself.
Looking in All the Wrong Places
I searched and “found” my identity in everything from my roles and relationships to my accomplishments and appearance.
I was obsessed with work because I saw it as my source of provision, rather than trusting God to provide for me. Work was also an outlet to prove my excellence. As I was striving for success, I wore myself out. For years, my life was consumed by work, and I often had 2-3 jobs at once. I was grinding my life away.
I viewed educational attainment as a status symbol, and I made an idol out of my pursuit of education. I was on my way to become a career college student just so I could get more degrees under my belt and letters behind my name. I wanted to climb the professional ladder, and I saw school as the way to do it.
So much of my life was wrapped up in people-pleasing and validation seeking. My daddy issues led me to a place of searching and seeking, and this existential crisis led me to pursue inappropriate and illegitimate friendships and romantic relationships. Even when I knew I wasn’t honoring God, I was driven by my desire for approval.
Through both work and school, I sought to accomplish as much as could so that I could laud on all the praises. I wanted so badly to be seen, to be noticed. And I figured the best way to get the attention I craved ways to do, be, and have more. I was striving to get ahead and get all eyes on me.
I’d never say it out loud, but I thought I was hot stuff. That was until I experienced Bell’s Palsy, a facial paralysis that caused nerve damage to my face. Then, the script was completely flipped as I became extremely self-conscious about my looks. In both instances, I put entirely too much stock into how I viewed myself as well as how I believed others viewed me, with little regard to the truth that I was fearfully and wonderfully made.
Peeling Back the Layers
All of this time, I called myself a “Christian,” but I was so far from an abiding relationship with Jesus. I looked, talked, walked nothing like He did nor as He instructed. It took time for me to acknowledge and admit this.
And even when I repented and surrendered, it was awhile before I came into this place of truly discovering who I am in Christ. It was a process of embracing the Lord and His ways over the ways of the world.
The layers were successively peeled back as God spoke to my heart about who He is and who He says I am. He stripped away what I had come to view as my identity, and he continued to expose the depths of my heart. In His great love for me, God took all that I had been clinging to and showed me how it was a poor substitute for my authentic identity, the one He had given me.
The deep work of discovering my identity elevated when:
- God told me to leave my job,
- I completed my masters degree in counseling, and
- I got married to the man that I’m especially fond of.
Read Journaling with God for details on the next phase of my journey.