As young women in today’s society, we are constantly given opportunities to feel insecure about ourselves. Let’s be real, those opportunities aren't just given to us… they’re thrown at us from all angles. During my first three years of college, I lived and breathed those insecurities. After an intense breakup from a 4-year relationship, I was left with no stability. I had built my entire identity around a boy, and once that relationship was over I was left with a thousand questions. Am I pretty enough? What can I wear to look hotter? Are those girls really my friends or do they talk badly about me? How can I dress and act to make these guys like me more? How many drinks will it take to help me relax? Do I matter to anyone? Ultimately all these questions were centered around one: Who am I?
I sought the answers through the wrong avenues. Every night included drinking, and there are very few weekend nights I actually remember. On the outside I looked like I was doing great. I found a guy at almost every party who made me feel important and did whatever I could to keep it that way. I drank and smoked my worries away, and it seemed like I had it all together with my “I don’t care” attitude. In reality, my insecurities were smothering me. I was being crushed by the constant question of Who am I?, and the only thing that could save me was to find out Whose I was.
My roommate in the sorority house “happened” to be Christian (big thank you to God!). After months of inviting me to our college’s campus ministry, I finally said yes. That night at the worship service I experienced God for the first time. It was like I walked into that room with all those questions on my shoulders, and just the sound of His name being sung by the people around me completely lifted the weight.
All I had been craving for the past three years was to be seen. To be seen was to feel important. I looked around at all the people worshiping, and no one was paying attention to me. They were fully focused on praising Him. There were no eyes on me, and for the first time in my entire life I felt seen. I stood there broken, scared and lost, and God said “I see you, and I love you”. That night I found out I was a beloved and cherished child of God. Nothing will ever compare to the moment when I realized that I am important to the Creator of the universe.
From that moment on, life was different. For a couple months, I continued drinking and smoking, seeking the attention of boys and the approval of girls. But those things began to feel as empty as they were. My eyes had been opened, and those habits were pointless now. My identity was becoming rooted in Truth.
I began learning more about who Jesus was and about the character of The Father. I learned that God loves me so much that He sent Jesus to take all of my sin and shame. And because of Jesus, I have a new life. I don’t have to earn His love or approval; He just loves me for me! He always has and always will! Because of His love and Jesus’ sacrifice, I don’t have to live under the weight of all that shame or all those questions. I had been living and breathing the doubt of my insecurities, but now finally I was living and breathing the sweet name of Jesus. I was free.
And that’s exactly how I’ve been living. Free in Christ. Since the day I was baptized in 2013, life has been a joyful adventure with Him. Sometimes there are trials, and sometimes I still have questions. But now I have strength and I have answers because I know who Jesus is. I’ve felt the redefining love of the Father because I accepted Him into my heart. And oh, how beautiful are the days to come as I continue to learn more and more about the sweetness of grace and our steadfast God.