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Chasing Freedom

Identity Theft – Don’t Be a Victim

By February 15, 2012 December 3rd, 2014 4 Comments

1-ThumbprintAs I was driving home from work today, I had an epiphany. I’m slowly falling victim to identity theft once again. No, not that kind of identity theft. The identity theft where you start to lose who you truly are–the “you” God created to an identity you have created.

I’ll be honest, when I started running and training for a marathon, I thought I was pretty awesome. I felt as if I was doing something worth being respected because not many people can say that they had the discipline and preseverance to train for all twenty-six point two miles. For the first time, I was attaching myself to something other than my disordered eating that deserved attention, and I was proud of myself.

Here I am, six days from my race, and I’m searching…searching for the gratification, the self-worth, the success, the feeling of accomplishment that I expected to feel, and I can’t find it.

So many times, we search in every place but the right place to find our identities. To feel approval and acceptance, we alter what we see in the mirror to fit an idea in our heads. We hang onto every word people say, thinking their opinions of us are more superior than God’s loving, nurturing acceptance. We buy that new car, new house, that new pair of shoes. We run that marathon…all in the name of identity. Some people fall into traps like drug abuse, alcoholism, or eating disorders to feel like they belong…like they can control something. Ironically, the moments in our lives when we think we are the most in control are the times when we are usually the farthest from God and his divine will for us.

Our issues are at their peaks when we realize our identities are not our own. Most people call this “rock bottom.” Until we realize that no one but God can repair the damage that has been caused from losing our souls to a nameless identity, we will never know who we are. Nothing else will work. God is simply waiting on us to open that door where we can invite him in and be used for his purpose.

My life with disordered eating has changed greatly. With every single day that passes, I’m given the opportunity to see more of what God has created me to do and be; however, it seems that I will always want that sense of acceptance and approval. It’s simply natural to want to be loved and accepted. Our concern should be that the desire we have is fixated on God and his will for our lives. In no other capacity will we flourish in the way He wants us to…the way that will bring us true happiness.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 states, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (NIV) Isn’t it amazing knowing that God’s plan for us is out there waiting for us? Isn’t it awesome knowing that we wouldn’t be here unless He had a purpose for our lives? It’s a comforting notion that we can rest in his protective, loving acceptance and know that our search for identity is over. When I look into the mirror, I want to see Him. When I surround myself with people, I want to hear about Him. When I begin in with negative self-talk, I want to hear his Word. I want my identity to be found in Him and nothing more.

I want to encourage all of you to join along with me on this journey of identity. The road might be bumpy from time to time, but when our hearts and minds are set on Him, we will succeed. Galations 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV) God’s door of acceptance is always open; all we need to do is open it and begin to see ourselves in a whole new way!

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Brynna says:

    This post put into words exactly what I finally began to realize around this time last year. Having spent the prior year in treatment for a pretty bad relapse of an eating disorder….I turned more and more to running, as a healthy way to motivate myself to fuel my body and listen to my dietician so I could improve my race performances and gain strength.

    But after several months of keeping on pushing through some overuse injuries-last February I had to step down from marathon training, unable to run (or barely walk) for more than 2 months. Just this past week I finally did a 6 mile run….my longest in over a year. But, what was the biggest struggle during that period-what I can look back now and see played such a huge part in why I couldn’t just let myself stop running and heal, was because I had let being a “runner” become my new identity. I’d become strong and healthy, pushed beyond the eating disorder to once again be the disciplined athlete I was in the past–and allowed that to steal my identity. But, eventually I was brought to my knees, by…well, my knees physically giving out on me. I still am struggling to be able to fully trust in God and know that looking towards him is where I will be able to know who I am. I guess that’s just part of the journey though, right?

    • Mallory says:

      Brynna, I would say that I completely understand, but I guess you already know that! Training for my first marathon had me wondering at times what it used to be like to enjoy running and doing it injury free. Sometimes I felt so mechanical; I had lost that freedom and joy that comes along with running peacefully on a beautiful day. In retrospect, I’m so glad I stuck with it. Yes, I wondered if I was just seeking another label to attach to myself, but after it was over, I had never felt more powerful, more accomplished. I hadn’t let it define me after all! God showed me what my body is capable of doing no matter what I weigh or what size I wear. That step in my recovery was very important because I’ve never been an athlete, and I had never believed in myself in this context before. Continue seeking God and surrendering yourself to him and the plan He has for your life. There is one; otherwise, He wouldn’t have you on this earth! There’s so much peace in the process of finding the you God wants you to be. I hope you find it!

  • Eugene says:

    Hi Mallory,

    It’s Eugene over at the +Parenting blog. Your post helped me reflect on my own life, and it encouraged me, too. Thanks! (And how did the marathon go?)

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