There's nothing like low self-esteem, an unfamiliar environment, growing up, and/or the opinions and expectation of others that will have you questioning who you are and your purpose. The circumstances resulting in the question of your identity may be different for you, but those four things brought about the big question, "Who am I?", for me. So...who am I?
I first began struggling with my identity when I made the dance team in junior high. I was one of the only two black girls, I had curves, I was an introvert, and I was one of very few girls without professional training. I just knew I could dance. I saw how long the other girls hair was, how slim they were, how they formed cliques, and how they talked about their previous training. I felt so out of place. I felt inferior. This was new to me because I had never felt that way before. I knew I could never be like them, but I wasn't sure if I even wanted to.
Going into high school was different. I was still an introvert, but I had accepted that. In high school, I had my first experience of people not liking me FOR NO REASON. I couldn't understand why some girls would roll their eyes or smack their lips when I walked by. I couldn't help but think, "I don't bother ANYONE. I walk with my ONE friend and go to class. That's it! What is wrong with these people?!" Then I started to ask, "What is wrong with ME?"
I finally started to gain some insight in college. At this point, I was strong in my walk with Christ and had accepted that I can't please everyone. However, I started to talk to this guy fairly consistently. I wouldn't say we were dating, but we built a solid friendship. I'll never forget one thing he told me that made me so angry at the time. He said, "You're a good girl and a rarity. I can't date you. You're wife material." I thought, "If I'm such a hot commodity, why am I still single?!" I can't lie, I was upset for a solid week about that. I had started to grow feelings for this guy and I felt rejected...for being a "good girl".
From the junior high outcast, to the high school "un-likable", to the college "good girl", I just didn't fit in. Because I didn't fit in, I was FORCED to be comfortable alone. It was when I was alone that I developed my bond with Jesus. I found where I fit in...in His arms! When I understood that and embraced it, the people around me started to embrace it. I started to attract friends that were like me or had been where I was. I wasn't fully able to let others in until I was comfortable with myself. Simply put, once I stopped trying to figure WHO I was and learned WHOSE I was, I found peace.
So, there it is. I'm a good girl. My faith is unshakable, meaning, I won't deter from Jesus to satisfy someone else...even if I have a crush on them. Not only am I a good girl, I'm God's girl. I may be known as "that church girl" or "preacher's daughter", but Christ knows me as HIS! Once I became comfortable with my identity in Christ, it was easier to accept me for who I was. I am still on the journey to discovering a lot of things about myself, but I am so proud of my progress. I'm comforable with my body, I'm trying new things with my hair, and I have a small but solid and supportive circle. I've found that it is unwise to hang on to leaches that suck all your energy, faith, and happiness. You deserve better. You can't save everyone. Enjoy, love, and protect God's beautiful creation that is YOU!
When you are searching to find out who you are, a lot of things come into play. It can actually be very dangerous when it comes to dealing with identity. Sometimes bad decisions come about because we are trying to find out exactly who we are.
To be honest, I am still dealing with my identity. I know that I want to be identified as a woman of God, and I want Christ to shine through me. However, there are times where I am in questioning about my identity. Fortunately, I know where to seek answers. There was a time where I was not so sure where to begin; a time that left me feeling isolated, confused, and rejected.
It’s no secret that before I began to seek a relationship with Christ, I was the poster woman for “Life of the Party”. I wanted to feel as if I belonged to someone and a part of something so bad that I began to do so by conforming to what I thought was acceptable to the world and people around me. I threw parties, partook in excessive drinking and illegal substances. I even tried to use sex and relationships to define me. After forming short-lived relationships with men, and I do mean short, I realized I just wanted to identify with SOMETHING to feel anything. Yet, this way of life left me so hollow, lost and shattered. I was nothing but a shell of a person. Society tries to tell girls and women that sex is beautiful, and that partying is a way of life; but here I remained vacant and isolated because I had dispensed fragments of my soul to everyone.
Somehow, I convinced myself that if I did what the people around me did, I would be accepted and everything would be picture perfect. Oh, how I was wrong. The void in my life just grew larger. I felt emptier than ever in those parties I threw, so I took more shots and hit the blunt a few more time just to quiet the loudness of internal distress. But guess what? Conviction fell even heavier the more intoxicated I became, and I literally saw my life dwindling before my eyes with every sip, every inhale, and every bed that I rolled out of. On the outside, my friends and family thought I had it all together. I was excelling in school, had a decent paying job, I was involved in all sorts of clubs, and partook in all types of community service activities at my university. Heck, I even attended church every blue moon. It looked as if Monique had it ALL mapped out…but I was in a dangerous place. I was lost and refused to admit it.
Well, I am so glad that I belong to a Father who never gives up on His Children. Although Christ had sent me numerous of signs and warnings that I refused to take heed to, He NEVER once gave up on me. It finally hit me when I tore my ACL. Many may not recall this part of the story but I was floating on cloud 9 when that accident happened. It was in that moment I realized, things have to change. I remember weeks after my injury, me being upset and frustrated with God because I had the NERVE to blame HIM for allowing this to happen to me. How dare I, right? LOL. In that moment as I cried out in frustration, He told me, “Baby girl, I had to get your attention.”
It was then that I knew my life would be different. He had my attention. Besides, it wasn’t like I could run away even if I wanted to lol. I began to seek answers and to literally cry out to God to help me deal with ME. To show me who I was and who I was supposed to be. As I sought out answers, I came across this passage:
“You see before you even had the sense to know who you were or what you wanted to be, God had already predestined (ordained, predetermined) your life… In fact He said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Wow, God knew me before I knew me…Self-identity isn’t an overnight process. It takes time and circumstance to develop into who you are supposed to be. The AWESOME part about it is that, guess what??? YOU have a FATHER that already KNOWS who you are and is just waiting for you to come to HIM. He gives you direct insight to who you are in His Word; we just have to want it bad enough to seek it out. His Word says:
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am the temple of the Holy Spirit; I am not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19).
I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people (1 Peter 2:9).
I am greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4).
I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:10)
I have received the gift of righteousness and reign as a king in life by Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
Sisters, we don’t serve a God who applies this concept to a select FEW…it applies to ALL of His Children!!
I’ll close with this. I may not know EXACTLY who the woman is that I WILL become at this point in my life, but I DO KNOW what I am NOT and WHO I belong to. I trust His plan for me…besides why not trust the One who knew you before YOU knew you?