We are all born with a deep desire to belong. We crave to be accepted, known, and loved. For most of my life this led to me pretending to be someone I wasn’t in order to earn the attention and acceptance of others. Throughout my story, Jesus was constantly pursuing me and whispering to me that in Him is the only place I was created to truly belong.
I grew up going to church every Sunday as a preacher’s daughter and gave my life to the Lord at a young age. However, as a young girl, I put my identity in the title of “preacher’s daughter.” Everything I did was to reinforce that I was deserving of this role. I tried to prove that I knew all the right answers and behaved perfectly all the time. Obviously, maintaining this image was unrealistic and led to a long road of brokenness and shame when I fell short and didn’t do justice to the title of “preacher’s daughter.” I worked so hard to be perfect, and every time I wasn’t, I internally became very ashamed and felt like I let everyone around me down.
Once I got in to high school, I realized that being a goodie-two-shoes didn’t lead to the acceptance that I was craving. So, I began to put my identity in my image. If people thought I was beautiful and desirable, then I would be accepted and have a place to belong. This craving of wanting to be desired for my outer beauty only continued to lead me down a road of brokenness and shame. I felt like I had to be beautiful all the time, and that my beauty was the only thing about me that could be desired and that brought me worth.
After high school and into college the pressure to be perfect, to perform for others, and to be who everyone else expected me to be became exhausting. The world was constantly screaming at me that I would never be enough. There’s nothing I could achieve, look like, or be, that would ever bring me the acceptance that I was craving. I found myself constantly altering who I was in order to feel like I fit in with others. I would tell you that I believed my identity was in Christ, but I really had no understanding of what that meant.
I constantly was wrestling with who I was, if I had worth, and what I had to offer. During this internal battle, I went to a conference for college students. One of the talks that I sat in on was about Biblical Womanhood. The main thing that the speaker discussed with us was about being made in the image of God. She painted a picture that completely changed the way that I viewed myself and others. What she described is that being made in the image of God means that He has put parts of His character in each of us. God made us in His image, so that we can reflect who He is to the world around us.
This realization made me feel at perfect peace. I can rest in the fact that I was created intentionally to show other people parts of God’s character. I don’t have to try to be like someone else or put my identity in anything else other than the fact that I am a daughter of the King. I don’t have to work to be accepted by others in my performance or the way that I look. The Lord has redeemed me from all the brokenness that searching for my identity has caused and called me His own. I am thankful that I now feel the freedom to simply be who God created me to be and that I can accept others for doing the same because we are all made in His image to reflect His character to the lost world.
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