Growing up, I was a bit awkward to say the least. I didn’t quite fit into the stereotypical boxes of a girl from southern California. I hung out with most cliques at some time or another: the athletes, the nerds, the skater kids, the popular crowd, and the loners (yes, I hung out by myself too). I was like a chameleon, blending in with my surroundings, hoping that maybe I could convince myself and others that I actually belonged there. Sure, I knew that I was loved and created to be “just the way I was,” but for years I drowned out who I was with a constant flow of messages from others shaping who I should be instead. Without me believing first and foremost who God says I am, though, I was left feeling empty and unsatisfied time and time again.
So, then, who am I? If you peel back the costumes of people I’ve tried to become over the years, what’s left?
It has been a few weeks since I began this journey of learning more about what it means to be rooted in Christ. If I am perfectly honest, though, it has not been getting any easier. Day by day He is showing me new areas of my identity that I don’t particularly like to look at. But I heard once that God is more interested in my character, than my comfort. I am learning this lesson well. He is uprooting the weeds that have snuck their way in to make room for new growth in Him.
This week I realized that for most of my life I have believed a lie. It set the stage for many of my insecurities surrounding who I was growing up and it has fueled my struggle in accepting who I am even now. The lie is this: that my value is dependent on whether I can measure up.
You see, for most of my life, well-meaning people have told me that I was a world-changer – that I was going to do great things for God during my lifetime. So for most of my life I have set out to do just that. I’ve tried to figure out how to best measure up to that standard. Now, there is nothing wrong with dreaming big or doing amazing things. I do hope that I can somehow make a difference in the lives of others. But if my identity is found in being a “world-changer,” then what happens when I don’t measure up? What if my life looks pretty ordinary most days? Will I still be content if God chooses to use me in a small way… one that no one else sees?
Friends, the truth is that I am not a world-changer; only God Himself can do that. He may use me in a way that moves nations to Him, but even if He doesn’t, my value and my worth is not dependent on me changing the world. My identity is first and foremost found in the place of being rooted in His love. If I never did another noteworthy thing in my lifetime, I would still be a dearly-loved daughter of the King. My worth is not determined by my accomplishments. Nor is my identity dependent on my accolades. No, no. My identity is solely dependent on who He is and my worth is determined by what He accomplished on the cross.
So who am I? I used to think I wasn’t beautiful enough. He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Pslam 139:14). I used to think I wasn’t strong enough. He says the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I used to think no one really knew me. He says that he has searched me and knows me completely (Psalm 139:1). I used to think I was unable and inadequate. He says that I am more than a conquerer (Romans 8:39). I used to think I didn’t belong. He says that I am his child and belong in his family (Galatians 3:26). I used to think I wasn’t free to be me. He says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
It is time to face the facts. I am not a world-changer, nor a globe-shaker, nor a nations-mover. I am me. And maybe someday God will use little ol’ me to change the world.