If you knew who I was before this summer and compared it to me now, you would recognize that I am a completely different person. Really, I have been constantly reforming my life and personality since my senior year of high school. The difference this time is, I am truly happy and I credit that to the discovery of who I am.
(PS, 50TH BLOG POST! :D)
Freshman year of college, I took a class called Spiritual Formations, and in that class we talked a lot about identity. This is something that I have been constantly hearing and contemplating on—what am I putting my identity in? I generally figured that I hadn’t been putting it in Christ. Well, I have finally realized what I put my identity in.
I put my identity in affirmation from others. I always have. Affirmation, for me, comes in forms of attention, gifts, time, and more. I find that whatever we put our identity in, we become irrational about the subject. So if a few people couldn’t come to my birthday party because they had the flu, I would decide that they hated me and that I was a piece of crap. If someone wouldn’t text me back, it’s because they didn’t feel I was important enough to contact. If someone who called me their close friend didn’t invite me to every single thing they did, it was because they didn’t want to hang out with me. For some reading this, this might sound irrational and crazy. To others of you, this is your reality.
I’ve never felt “loved”, not by the world’s standards of love at least. I was never the most popular or the first pick for anything. I never felt the kind of love I felt I should get (or honestly deserved to get) from my parents, my friends, or anyone. So I would whore myself out to get love. I would put myself at the center of attention to feel affirmed. Whether it was putting myself into inappropriate positions with boys, fighting hard to become the leader of an organization, or having a temper tantrum to get my parents to notice me, I tried to grant myself love and affirmation.
The thing is, I didn’t have to fight. I knew where to find love all along. That’s what drew me to church when I was five. I realized that just recently. The one place where I feel loved and affirmed is in my Lord’s arms. The reason why I’ve been so genuinely happy lately is because my identity and purpose are both finally being fulfilled in my work through the church (that’ll probably be another blogpost, haha). I finally feel like I mean something to the world, because the Lord is constantly affirming my calling and using people to affirm it too.
Affirmation is a wonderful thing, and I find that I am getting affirmed constantly and more so than when I was seeking it myself. However, this kind of affirmation is different. It’s a genuine kind of affirmation that I don’t have to ask for. When people affirm my beauty, it’s not because I had to dress a certain way to gain it. When people affirm my work, it’s because I’m working for the Lord and not for myself. My identity is in the Lord, and any affirmation I gain is because of that identity. So it really proves to me that my identity is finally in the right place. I don’t need to whore myself to the world for affirmation. I sold my life so that I might truly gain it.