They say that part of growing up is being comfortable with oneself. The trouble being that one must be aware of who exactly that person is. At least that is the hard part for me I should say. I’ve managed to acquire a lot of labels in my life, some positive and some not so much. Whether positive or negative though they were still definitions other people placed on me. Due to insecurity of my part, I’ve held tightly to these labels and what other people thought in hopes of finding acceptance.
In high school everyone knew me as the “good girl” and a “runner.” Not bad labels for sure, but is that really my identity? After repeated injuries and my weariness for the sport, track fell from the focal point of my life and I decided to not run in college (it would have been a small school anyways.) Suddenly I was lost. I had spent anywhere from 2 to 4 hours a day working out either at track practice before school or cross training club at night so its absence from my life was deeply felt.
After starting college I needed to fill the whole that track had left behind. Since being “the nice girl” had little to no appeal, I soon acquired the label “party girl” and believe me did I work hard to earn it. I was definitely the girl everyone had to “take care of” at the end of the night as it soon became a pretty much guarantee that I would be in trouble. I should count my blessings that I still have friends from those days. Needless to say I rarely do things halfway regardless of the importance and usefulness of my pursuit. Those who only knew me in high school would probably crack up laughing at the thought of my new label. It was that night and day.
I found many friends through this identity though and received much attention from boys so I had little desire to remove it. At the same time, the guilt of my actions caused me to hate who I had become but out of fear I kept the pretense; the belief that this life brought me happiness.
Now that I’m officially an adult, or so it would seem anyways, I find myself at this odd place of trying to act responsibly and living a life that brings me fulfillment. At times I haven’t felt like these two ideals can peacefully co-exist. How can I enjoy life if I have to force myself to be so serious and mature all the time?
My newest addition to the list of labels has been “a good Christian girl.” I almost feel that this one has caused me the most grief out of them all and my heart has grown weary. Instead of being who I am, I’ve tried to conform to what I envisioned a “good” Christian to be. I stopped going to clubs, dancing, and attending parties that I felt did not fit this ideal. I wanted to make myself a good person. Of course the whole circle in square peg thing never works and my main accomplishment has been to make myself miserable.
On a surface level, I know that my identity is in Christ so why do I care so much what other people think? What will it take for me to really believe and trust this? To have the courage to throw off the labels that have been wearing me out and rest in Jesus knowing that by His grace I am a child of God. To know that it doesn’t matter how other people define me. The truth is I’m not a “party girl” nor am I “a good girl.”
And so the question remains: who am I? Through bible study and the precious friends God has placed in my life, I've now learned that I am a child of God who is forgiven and loved. Nothing more is needed and thankfully, whether good or bad, nothing I do will ever change that. Amazing right?! That somehow the creator of the universe would choose to love us. And so I don't have to prove my worthiness to anyone! The only thing that changes is the choice I make to cling to this truth or not.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!