Finding My Identity In Christ
God, I don’t understand? Why me?
I had been a Christian for about ten years. Many women of faith had poured their hearts into me to help me grow, and it was taking way too long for my perfectionist self. For ten years, the pot had been boiling, and it was finally boiling over. I couldn’t understand why God had chosen me and poured the lives of so many spiritual women into me, all for so little return. Why would He do this? What was in it for Him?
I didn’t realize then that even though I thought I was finding my identity in Christ, I was really finding it in the world. All my life I had been exposed to humanist thinking. The well-meaning people around me had told me how unique and special I was (at least, until I finished high school). In practice, the world I grew up in encouraged me to find my identity by comparing myself to those around me. I compared my appearance to models in the magazines, my talents to people I knew or heard about, my bank account to that of others…and finally, my spiritual growth to that of spiritual women I knew. What I was doing was not much different than admiration of celebrities, royals or politicians.
God’s plan wasn’t for me to be exactly like the faithful women I admired. He had a new and different, but equally valuable, path in mind for me.
Finding that path has been challenging. One day, after a lot of prayer, God showed me that my self-worth problem was really a problem of disobedience. God says that to him I am incredibly valuable (Isaiah 43: 1-7). I didn’t agree, and therefore I didn’t believe Him. I realized that if I had a child, and I told him to clean his room, he would be free to disagree that his room needed to be cleaned- as long as he actually obeyed and cleaned it. That day, I finally got past my roadblock, but it required learning that I could agree that God had the right to decide my worth even if I disagreed with His conclusions.
That was just the beginning. I had to learn that it was ok to prefer quiet Bible study to public evangelism, and that even though we are all called to tell our friends about Jesus, that that may look different for me than it does for someone else. I had to learn that it was okay to dislike crowds and large noisy gatherings. Even though I love attending my church’s big conventions, during the worship concerts I now give myself permission to step outside the door.
I’ve even learned to embrace my inner geek. I’ve always loved science fiction, but giving myself permission to admit that I like writing it and would even like to be published someday has been a harder sell. A harder sell to me, that is. My husband is incredibly supportive and even helps me come up with ideas. My friends have been one hundred percent there for me, but most of them can’t relate, and there is a part of me that yearns to be just like them in every way so that I’ll be accepted.
That feeling is false.
My friends love me and already accept me. Unlike people in the world, my sisters in Christ love me for who I am and not for who they would like me to be. That feeling that I won’t be accepted unless I am just like them? It comes from my own sinful nature. God gave me so many people, opportunities and situations to encourage me, but I still didn’t step out on faith because I wanted to be JUST LIKE the women of faith that I admired.
It took me years and two deleted books to overcome.
So who am I in Christ? The truth is that I don’t know, and I’m finally okay with that. I know part of who I am, but I also know that God has dreams for me that aren’t fully realized yet. I’m excited to find out what they are. I’ve realized that I can be just like the women of faith that I admire in what matters most. I can imitate their faith, love, mercy, humility and so many other spiritual qualities without sacrificing any of what makes me unique in God’s eyes.
What do you think God’s dreams for you are? It can be scary to consider that God may have dreams for you that aren’t currently part of your plan. Can you let go of your dreams, just for today, and ask God to show you what He’s planning for you? Facing the future takes courage, but it’s not as scary as it seems. I’m ready for the grand adventure. Are you?
H. Halverstadt is a Christian science fiction writer and blogger. Her Facebook page, H. Halverstadt Books, posts reviews of Christian speculative fiction.
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