Who Are You?
8“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
Growing up, I was a very loud, enthusiastic, energetic child. I was friendly with everyone, I wasn't afraid to talk to people I didn't know, and never held back who I was from anybody. However, as I got older and in school, I was often bullied and rejected by many of my peers. As a result, I became much more self-conscious and careful with who I opened up with. Ultimately, this hurt my self-esteem and I slowly became unhappy with my identify. Throughout high school, my time was spent trying to find a new identity that people would like better than my original. This resulted in me getting involved in some less than legal activities which I won’t get into right now. But no matter how much I tried, everyone still remembered that goofy, obnoxious kid who would never shut up.
Well, when I started college last year, I was ecstatic and very hopeful. I would finally have a fresh start where no one would know what I was like when I was younger! I could completely change who I am and finally be accepted. At least, so I thought. At first, things were good. People would invite me to parties, ask me to hang out with them, and treat me like I was accepted. Or at least treated the person I was pretending to be as if he was accepted. You see, the person they accepted was a partying, beer chugging, womanizer, care-free college kid from Texas. But towards the middle of my first semester, things took a nosedive. I started partying and drinking too much, my friends didn’t want to hang out with me, and women didn't want to be near me because they thought I was shallow. Ultimately, I ended up back where I started: as an outsider.
The reason I tell you this is because I went through something that I’m pretty sure most of us go through as young adults: an identity crisis. Out of fear of rejection, I wouldn't allow people to see who I really was and instead tried to create an identity that I thought they would like. But the problem with hiding your true identity is that it goes against what it means to be a child of God.
As Christians, our main goal in life is simple: to restore the image that God has created us in. God originally created humanity in the Divine image and called them good. But after the fall, sin left a stain on that image so deep that it could only be removed with Christ’s blood. And with Christ’s sacrifice, God gave us the chance to have that stain washed away. By accepting God’s grace, you allow God to take a Tide to Go stick and rub it all over that image of you. Through the Holy Spirit, God is then able to mold us back into the creation that was originally intended; the creation that God wants us to be.
It wasn't until the beginning of this year that I was able to understand this with my heart. By keeping people from seeing who you are and trying to create a new identity, you aren't allowing God to mold and transform you. Also, by not living up to that identity that God created for you, you're not allowing joy and fulfillment in your life. So please, don't try to be something you’re not. You’ll soon come to realize that the acceptance and happiness that you feel will not last very long and will result in more pain. But if you stay true to who you are, your relationship with God will be nearly unbreakable and you will understand what it means to live a life full of joy.
Discussion questions: Who are you and who is it that God is calling you to be? Is the identity that you show to others the same as that identity? If not, why?