You’re a failure.
You’ll never amount to anything.
No one could ever love you.
You’re a nobody.
You’re not good enough.
That hurts, doesn’t it? Not the way you were expecting to start off a series about identity?
Well, maybe it doesn’t hurt that much because you don’t really know me and you know I didn’t write this specifically for you, but I bet it hurt when you heard it from someone in your life.
Maybe that someone was yourself.
But why? Why do those words hurt us so much? Why do people say those things to each other? Why do we think these things about ourselves?
Are they true?
That’s what you really want to know when you get down to it. Maybe you don’t hear these words spoken aloud every day, but when you take an honest look at your life, these are the things that you truly believe about yourself. You kind of know they aren’t true, but you don’t really know what is true. If you knew what was true, those things I said in the beginning wouldn’t be hurtful at all.
We all want to think good things about ourselves. We want to believe people when they give us compliments and encouragement, but so often we brush them off. It fuels your joy for a moment, but the compliment is quickly swept away by all of the negative things you believe about yourself.
What has happened to us that we can’t even believe someone when they give us a compliment?
There is something seriously wrong with who we think we are. There is something wrong with what we believe about our identity.
This is not what we were created for.
We were created to use our own personal gifts for the benefit of others. We were not created to be perfect at using those gifts, but to grow into those gifts and fail along the way without major devastation. We were created to celebrate and invite all kinds of diversity, quirks, and nuances in other people. We were created to listen to criticism with a free and peaceful heart. We were created to speak life into others without feelings of jealousy worming their way into our minds. We were created to live in deep contentment even in the midst of life’s greatest stresses, anxieties and tragedies. We were created to be free. We were created to stand firm. We were created to know who we are and never waiver in believing it.
Where are all of these people?
I hate to break it to you, but you’re the problem.
I know, I know. Learning about your identity is supposed to be a joyful and fulfilling experience. You’re supposed to walk away feeling warm and fuzzy and basking in your own awesome-ness. But the problem with that is that those tactics don’t get to the root of the problem and therefore aren’t the deep and lasting identity journey that we are craving.
Have you ever wondered why relationships are so hard? Why you have moments of overwhelming loneliness? Why you feel so awful after getting off social media? Why you can’t be fully happy for someone when she got what you wanted? Why friends are coming and going? Why you’re still not satisfied after finally getting a boyfriend? Why you keep doing things you regret? Why nothing seems to be working to give you the freedom you’ve been searching for?
You’re living in a false identity.
It hurts to know that you are the problem. No one likes to find out that any kind of pain, hardship or inconvenience is your fault. But it’s your fault that you’re not living how you were created to live. You got in the way of your freedom.
No jokes here.
This identity series isn’t aiming to give you tips, tricks, life-hacks, schedules or motivators for how you can be the best, most confident and free “you.” This is not that kind of series. These articles will have some hard truth that will be sure to knock the wind out of you, but it will also put that wind right back in you with some real truth that leads to freedom.
See, the reality is, there is a giant gap between who we were created to be and who we are now and we created that gap by running away from God and trying to do things on our own, in our own way, and on our own terms. Now we are so deep in that false identity that we have little idea what truth sounds like anymore. And trying a bunch of motivational, inspirational, self-help techniques will only widen that gap between who we were created to be and who we are now.
What if I told you that you don’t have to think the things you think when you look in the mirror? You don’t have to have an all-consuming fear of failure. You don’t have to be frozen by the thought that you will never be good enough. You don’t have to re-live that guilty memory every time you see his face. You don’t have to be crushed every time someone gives you negative feedback. You don’t have to hold on to anger when someone hurts you deeply. You don’t have to cry alone or lie awake at night with worry and anxiety. You don’t have to change yourself to be popular. You don’t have to lash out at the person who hurt you. You don’t have to compare yourself to everyone. You don’t have to worry about the future. You don’t have to be afraid of what people think.
The list goes on.
We experience all of these things on a daily basis. They steal our freedom, crush our confidence, defy our joy. But how do we usually try to overcome it all?
We do more.
We obsess over what we eat by starving ourselves, throwing it up, or following a strict diet. We spend hours watching people on YouTube and try to live like they do. We put on more make-up. We put on the right clothes. We post the perfect pictures on Instagram. We train to be the best at our sport. We spend more money. We lie about everything. We smoke pot and try drugs. We get more friends and ditch others. We try to get a cool job. We plan out our future to perfection. We strive and push for more. We work out. We get straight A’s. We withdraw from people. We date and have sex and breakup and date again. We drink and party and put on a fake smile. We change our style. We try to find a place to fit in. We do everything we can to be happier and find out who we are, all the while our emptiness grows and the thoughts and fears and failures wash over us endlessly.
It’s a never-ending cycle.
Are you dizzy yet?
It’s not supposed to be this way.
Freedom is real and attainable. It isn’t just reserved for a small group of people. Freedom doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, culture, or age. It doesn’t avoid people who have made painful mistakes. It can’t be lost forever. It’s not waiting on you to clean up before it comes into your life. It doesn’t arrive after graduation.
Freedom comes when you know your true identity. Why? Because what we believe about ourselves shapes the way we see the world. It determines how we interact with people. It informs the words that we speak, the way we think about ourselves and the decisions that we make. It determines everything about our lives. And when you learn your true identity, every part of your life is set free.
Your identity is so much deeper than some personality traits and abilities. It goes beyond your passions or your interests. It’s more than what you do or how you portray ourself. Your identity is eternal. It can never be destroyed or ruined or changed.
So, how do we get to know who we are? It’s very important where we start, but it’s not where you think.
Follow along every Wednesday this summer to discover your true identity and find the freedom you’ve been craving.
Click here to head to part 1.