I recently sat down with a mentor of mine and my first words were “I want to be myself. But I don’t know how to do that.”
I don’t think I even know who I am
After listening to me affirm confusion by trying to explain myself in 1928 different ways, he asked: “Do you think that you really know what it means to be God’s child?” Initially, my cliche-dar went off. But he dove a little deeper and I realized that the reality of what it means to be a daughter/child of God is not one I consistently walk in. If I’m honest, I don’t really feel much weight in that statement at all.
His next question set off my awkward-dar. “When you read Song of Solomon, do you know that it is a picture of how Jesus loves you?” Uhm, no. Why? Probably because you have to read it in order to have a perception of it. The Sunday school teacher who tried to explain to 10-year old Becca why “breasts are like baby deer” put that one on my quiet time avoid list.
The conversation that afternoon uncovered a critical root. This identity crisis isn’t an issue of me being confused about who I am, it’s an issue of me being confused about who God is. The realization caught me off guard, because ironically in this season of my life I feel closer to God than I ever have before. But the fact remains that I am still very insecure about who I am, who He is, and what it means to be a child carefully created in His image.
This identity crisis isn’t an issue of me being confused about who I am, it’s an issue of me being confused about who God is
What we think of ourselves is closely tied to the way we see God. I know this is true in my life because my perspective of God fluctuates just like my self-esteem does. It is often a reflection of my circumstances or other peoples’ opinions. I want it to be a good thing, I know it can be a good thing, and I want it to appear as a good thing. But it doesn’t always feel like a good thing. Deep down it often confuses me and sometimes even overwhelms me. Yep, they’re pretty similar (and Solomon-less).
We are created in an image, so it makes sense that we cannot recognize our identity if we do not have an accurate perception of that image. We have to know whose we are in order to reach any kind of true self-realization.
We have to know whose we are in order to reach any kind of true self-realization
If you are a Christian, your initial reaction to that last statement might be similar to what mine was. I already know Him. And that may very well be true. But just because you follow Jesus doesn’t mean you have an accurate perception of Him. A humbling thing to admit, I know.
Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you have an accurate perception of God
So then what does it mean to be a child of God? According to the Bible, it means we are each worth a heck of a lot. It also means we are offered things the Bible promises come as a result of a relationship with Him: freedom, trust, confidence in who we are and our unique purpose in His kingdom. But actually living this way can seem like much more of a distant reality than the words on paper. Let’s break it down a little further:
In order to realize your worth, you have to know the One who designed you.
In order to be free, you have to know who freed you.
In order to trust, you have to know who you are trusting.
In order to have confidence in the One who promises these things, you have to know Him.
It’s pretty obvious that living the life we are offered as children of God cannot be obtained without first seeing Him for who He is. In order to do that, we have to make a choice to proactively seek a relationship with Him. How? The same way we would build any other relationship. It isn’t some extraordinary feat. We get to know Him personally through reading His word and talking to Him.
Can it really be that simple? Yes. I believe it’s always been that simple. Too simple for us to accept without faith.
True identity lies in who He is, not who we think we are. For me, that means I need to slow down, go back to the basics, and take a look at the roots of what my soul was meant to be by seeking the One who created it. I need to start asking the hard questions. I need to stop avoiding books of the Bible that make me uncomfortable. Not so I can find more of God in some newfound understanding of my own, but so that He can reveal Himself to me. He tells us to seek. He will handle the rest.
He tells us to seek. He will handle the rest.
Am I excited to read Song of Solomon? Not yet. But I am excited about letting God reveal Himself to me His way instead of exhausting myself by trying to create a picture of Him through limited vision.
And I invite you to rewind with me, friend. Whatever that means for you. Let’s explore what we are afraid of so we can fully step into the security of the One we belong to. The good news is He’s right here, wanting and waiting to reveal the soul-deep freedom He died to give us.
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful…You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 1:15, 4:7