As 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!