Over the next few days/weeks, I will be posting blog posts from my old blog. A part of me wants to remember the girl before the illness, before the diagnosis. This particular piece is from August 8, 2015.
About this time a year ago, I was having quite the identity crisis. God had been restoring pieces of my heart rapidly fast which made me a little crazy for a while. If you look up research on how abused children react once they are in a safe environment that would describe me. Reactive instead of responsive, floating between varying levels of maturity, constantly spiraling out of control. I made a mess out of everything I tried to build. I wanted desperately to find myself so I went after this idea of “tribes.”
Tribes are basically high school cliques for grownups. It took me a month before I saw that I could not find my identity in a tribe. Considering that a tribe by definition only accepts people that looks, acts and talks just like them, I can see now why my pursuit of finding my “tribe” led to more anger and spiraling. I had never be one for choosing my friends based on how much we had in common.
Growing up, I was just grateful if someone wanted to hang out with me. My disability often isolated me from my classmates so even just a friendly conversation was welcomed with an open heart. It’s one of the best gifts my disability has ever given me. Because most people go their whole lives without realizing the insufficiency of attaching your identity to anything other than a child of God.
A year ago, I was really struggling with the feeling that I never quite fit in anywhere. I wrestled with how to grasp who I was so I decided that instead of trying to figure myself out, I was going to work on understanding the character of God.
A lifetime of work, I get it, but it seemed like a more fruitful effort than trying to figure myself out. I mean, at least God stays the same. I’m not really sure at what point this happened, but a few weeks ago, I came to this realization that I had stopped wrestling with my identity. When I started to learn more about the character of God, I just decided I would be more like that.
If He was kind, then I would be kind.
If He cared about justice, then I would care about justice.
If His heart ached for unity and reconciliation between His children, then I would pursue that in my own life.
My pursuit of understanding God more rested any frustrations I had about who I was. If at any point, I doubt who I am, I need only to look to God to know who I am supposed to be. It was the simplest solution to figuring out who I am. And by putting to rest this idea that I needed to fit into a “tribe” in order to be normal or accepted (seriously, why can’t I just love people), I found this freedom in finding my identity in Christ.
That I could just enjoy life and not worry about fitting into a box.
To enjoy pizza and beer, walking in the park and playing with animals.
To like parties and also staying in on a Friday night. To be reserved and still chatty.
To enjoy an art exhibit and a baseball game.
To just be grateful that I get to live, because it wasn’t easy to get here.
You know it when you see it. The people who make choices daily to attach themselves to things that don’t matter. Everything they own has a rhyme and a rhythm to it. They only socialize with people that remind them of themselves. They never get in the messy business of reconciliation because usually God presents the challenge with people we’d rather forget. (Reconciliation is not always about a relationship, because there are legitimate reasons to not engage in one with another person, but we are called to forgive and apologize.)
I’ve said it before but I ask God all the time why He chose to rescue me. I’m not special or worthy. I’m just not. And when I think about what He continues to redeem me of, I mostly just feel grateful.
I heard once that finding your identity in Christ gives you the freedom to be the person God intended for you to be. It was a beautiful sentiment, Instagram-worthy. But it’s a call to action. Not to celebrate possessions, our affiliations or even our abilities. None of that is eternal. The freedom we have in our identity in Christ is to become more like Him.
To pursue Him even when it hurts.
To accept the gift of joy and peace that God offers us daily.
To wrestle through the hard stuff with praise and thanksgiving.
I’ve been sick all week and my fever broke sometime last night. As I laid awake in bed, I ran through all the prayer requests that hang heavily on my heart. I daydreamed about what my life would look like if God said yes to everything. I asked myself if that would be enough, if I would celebrate and praise God higher than I do now. And honestly, I responded with a no. Not because I was trying to be an ungrateful brat. I just reached this epiphany that even if God blew my mind with unbelievable earthly blessings, I would consider it all a loss when compared to knowing Christ. It is by knowing Christ that I get to know who God intended for me to be.
What is worth celebrating more than that?