This year has honestly put me through the ringer. About a year ago my brother finally admitted himself voluntarily to rehab. The day before I left for two weeks of camp with my youth group students I planned to run last minute errands and pack. I ended up driving to Santa Barbara to be there when my brother was released from the hospital, and I brought him home. I left for camp not knowing what would happen, but I was excited to return to Hume Lake Christian Camps, where so long ago I first felt the presence of the living God.
Since then a lot of changes also happened in the church I was working for. When I was hired as the director of student ministries I was having coffee when someone told me, “your first year in ministry will chew you up and spit you out”. Honestly at first I thought the “advice” was a little harsh but later I was grateful for the warning because it was true, and I love when people speak truth into my life.
This year I returned back to camp with a heavy heart and stuck in a rut of confusion. I don’t know exactly where the Lord is leading me this year but I am excited to continue to follow Him into whatever adventure He has in store for me next. What I love about what I do is that I am constantly learning from my students. They teach me to live life to the fullest and remind me to not take everything so seriously.
Ten days of camp with my students this year taught me a lot about identity.
I had separate conversations with two middle school girls who felt stuck in relationships with their best friends. Their friends were controlling and rarely let them hang out with other people. I had to remind these girls that their friends are probably looking to solidify their identity in their friendships and encouraged them to pray that their eyes and hearts would be open to the identity the Father wants to lavish upon them.
I could encourage them in this way because I was once that girl, searching for my identity in relationships with other people.
Whether it was boyfriends or best friends, I was constantly looking to other people to show me who I was. I put pressure on others to help me feel valued.
We live in a society that tells us we need someone else to complete us.
We constantly hear people call their significant others their “better half”. Demi Lovato has a song out that actually sings “you ain’t nobody til you got somebody”. I bought this lie when I was young and I sometimes I can slip into that head space, even as an adult.
Don’t get me wrong, here’s what I’m not saying…
I’m not saying having close friendships or serious relationships is a bad thing. Quite the opposite really, I fully believe God intended for us to live in community and He places desires in our hearts only to fulfill them.
Jesus told us to love God & love others. ***Notice which one comes first. I have grown to learn that when I love God and give myself to Him fully, loving others actually comes easier. When I love God first, I’m able to see who I am through the eyes of my creator. I can understand true and meaningful love better, therefore I’m able to turn around and love others selflessly.
I don’t create relationships to solidify my identity anymore. Instead I bring my identity in Christ to the table and intentionally seek to show others their beauty, inside and out.
If you are reading this I want to remind you, you were made unique and with a purpose. Seek out your identity, but don’t look through the lens of your bestie or your boyfriend. Pray this, “God, please open my eyes and show me who you call me to be. Remind me of the promises you have placed over my life, and reveal the true and pure identity you want me to take on. Strip away any false perceptions of identity I have received from this world. Help me to see who I am through your eyes and show me who you want me to become.”
When we put pressure on others to make us feel validated and secure, we throw them in a really tough space. Of course those who love us want to serve us well and help us feel valued. But we are all human and in our earthly nature we can only achieve a limited amount of success.
You were created with a unique identity.
There is no one else like you in this world.
People (in the church world) always say there’s a Jesus sized hole in your heart and until you learn to fill it with what was intended to go there, you will always be searching for more. No human or item or substance can fill that void in your life!
Today I encourage you to pinpoint who or what gives you your identity. Is it a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or best friend? Is it work or drugs or instagram followers or body image? Break it down and decide if there are some habits or mindsets you can change. I promise when you find your identity in the creator, your life will be more fulfilled.
Jesus promised us life and life abundant. If you question that statement or even question who Jesus is, I hope you stick around to read more.
Thanks for stopping by 🙂