This is humanity's biggest issue. We all wrestle with this, whether we know it or not.
In a world where RN's and Engineers are highly praised and value stems from the length of my legs, it is so easy to forget who I am. It is so easy to get caught up in wishing I had longer legs and my Oregon Nursing License. It is easy to hate the girl who wears scrubs for a living, providing money for her family OR to be annoyed with the friend whose beauty radiates like the sun. To be full of jealousy and hatred is too normal for us, as we look at others who are "better than us" by this culture's standard. This happens when we forget who we are.
In high school, I was known for being the girl everyone liked. I was known for being encouraging - this is because at my core, I wanted acceptance. I wanted to please everyone. When I angered someone, when I was confronted, I melted. I sobbed in private, because I then saw myself as a failure - I was looking for validation through peers and teachers, expressing complete acceptance. And when it didn't happen, I crumbled.
I was once the Sheriff's Son's girlfriend. And when the Sheriff's Son didn't tell me I was beautiful, when the Sherif's Son told me that my hair color was wrong and my arms were too big and I was annoying...Those words defined me. I saw myself as worthless, invaluable, easy to reject. I sought his approval and never found it. I came up short every time, and every time I knew I was less than. I didn't know who I was.
In college I defined myself as a student, living in The House of Charis. The answer to the question, "Who are you?" was easy: "I am a pre-nursing student." But what happened time and time again, is that I fell into discouragement. I was constantly stressed out that my grades weren't perfect or worried my assignments weren't cutting it, and I was not going to get accepted into OHSU's Nursing School - I felt like garbage. What would my Grandparents think? My dad? What about all those peers from high school? It seemed as though the world depended on me to get a Bachelors Degree with an outstanding GPA, and if I failed in that, well simply I was nothing. I forgot who I was.
I then saw myself as a Caregiver/CNA. I was on top of memorizing all of the residents and their room numbers, I knew each of their meal preferences, even their animals names. I knew how to distribute medications...but when I messed up, forgot a name, or failed to take out their trash...I became nothing, I became less than, I was the opposite of good. I forgot who I was, and saw myself through the lens of mess-up.
Currently I have the weekly and sometimes daily struggle of viewing myself, labeling myself as Employee of Corvallis Church. When I don't finish the newsletter on time, when I opt out of leading something, when I am late to a meeting...I allow myself to label myself as nothing: as failure. I forget who I am and why I am here.
I am a wife and if that is my primary identity, then if I can't bear children to raise... I really fail here. I am useless. When I forget to buy toothpaste or pay a bill, I could crumble to pieces. But that's only if I place my identity in that title or role.
People. You are MORE. We cannot keep doing this to ourselves, to our friends, to this world. We sell ourselves short. We sell everyone short! When we allow our tasks, jobs, and titles to bring us identity and value, we sell ourselves short. When we only look to ourselves and the things in front of our faces to validate us, we will always come up as failure, as less than. These things are temporary. These things are incomplete and lack perfection of any sort. These things are THINGS and cannot save us, rescue us, mold us into beautiful beings.
I want you to do something. Not for me, but for you. For you and your family and all that you come into contact with. I want you to think about what or who you look to for value, validation, and identity. Maybe you can figure that out by asking yourself "what takes up your thoughts"? Is it the conversation you had 6 months ago with your boss and the way he seemed to be disappointed? Is it the fear of letting your husband or fiance down? What about your job? Are you letting someone's words define you? That you're prideful, unlovable, unworthy, and completely ugly? Are you wrapped up in your clothes and appearance? What about your career or LACK OF?
When we allow these lies to blanket our hearts, we become warped. Our view of this world is sour and we hurt people. Our expectations are unfair of those you beg for validation; not just unfair, but unloving. We become bitter. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks - so when we let our heart believe we are ugly, our mouth speaks ugly. We become rude and angry, shoving people around attempting to "get to the top." What do you let define you?
Do you know who you are? Or have you forgotten? Have you ever known? I plead you to read this and let it soak into your soul. I beg that you will allow this to penetrate you:
You are a precious, beautiful (inside & out), and wonderfully made human: you are royalty. You are holy. You are redeemed, restored, forgiven, accepted right now! You. Are. More. You are JESUS's. You are His child, his son and daughter. His friend, His beloved.
When you know, and I mean really know and accept, this Truth, you will conquer giants every day. You will not be touched - you will walk with peace, with the ability to dish out grace to those who "don't deserve it." You will see others as His, and you will want them to know. You will want to ask them, "Do you know who you are?" Because they are also royal and they are also loved and accepted just like you. And if they harm you or resist you, it's most likely out of fear or insecurity because they. don't. know.
Search your heart and ask yourself: where do I place my identity?
I look forward to sharing my heart on what happens when we DO place it in the most caring hands of Jesus. When we choose to give him our heart and the definition of "self," our lives are radically changed and impacted. It is miraculous. Look for that post. I pray that it blesses. Be blessed and know who you are.
If you agree with this, if you were moved by this, please share it! I believe this is where life begins. This is how life continues! This is how we have access to the fullest and most abundant life. The most honored and beautiful, peaceful, full life. This is how we change the world.
Read PART TWO here.