We all want to have a sense of self-knowledge and belonging. Belonging is our primary need. Even God says it is not suitable for man to live a life without companionship or community (Genesis 2:18). Too often as young women, we wander around looking for affirmation, acceptance and security on our screens (TV, phones), in relationships or personal accomplishments. We want to ‘measure up’ but is that all there is? We keep falling to low self-esteem because we are turning to the world to define our identity and not scripture. “We know the Gospel is meant for our hearts, but we seem to have the amnesia of what it means when it comes to our identity,” Andrea Burke.
I have often seen ladies place the ‘#Proverbs 31 woman’ caption on their social media posts and often wonder if they know the kind of woman described in that text. The fear of the Lord makes the woman praised. (Proverbs 31:30) meaning; she is one who honours God in joyful submission to His authority and walks in obedience. She is trustworthy (Proverbs 31:11), does good (Proverbs 31:12) and is hardworking (Proverbs 31:27). Can this be, confidently, said about you?
Our identity is already defined.
For a long time, I wrestled with my plus size body. I thought that being lean was the definition of beauty. I likened my identity to being beautiful. I also likened beauty to having very many guys chasing after me. I did not have many guys chase after me; most times, I would do the chasing, and so many days, I would blame it on my body shape. What I didn’t know is I had a very wrong idea of my identity. My identity had been warped by culture. What I did not know is, my identity had nothing to do with my or anyone else’s opinion. It wasn’t for me to shape my identity, neither the world’s, I needed to let God’s word shape my identity. What do I mean? God had already defined my identity. He designed me and thus had already determined my identity. Today I marvel in awe at the idea that God knit me (and you) fearfully and wonderfully (Psalms 139:13-15) in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). God values us more than the birds (Mathew 10:31), and this should give us much confidence that we are God’s good design, just as all His creation. We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). See, it is far much more about God than it is about us. God made everything for Himself, including us, and thus all creation belongs to the Lord. (Psalm 24:1, 1 Corinthians 10:26, Romans 14:8).
Designed for a Purpose
“You can be or do anything; you just need to set your mind on it.” How many times have you been told that, or have you heard that statement? The truth is, that is the most ungodly yet impractical lie. I mean, put your mind to become a spoon, will you become it? I know, the answer is no. This statement denies that God has authority and influences what happens in our lives. It also denies us the freedom to trust in God. Instead, it makes us believe in ourselves and set ourselves to be our idols. Drawing back to Ephesians 2:10, the verse does not end at God designing us; Paul further makes it clear that God designed us for every good work (His work) that we may walk in them. He created us to follow Him, to trust Him to be a better designer than we are. Therefore, far beyond receiving our identity, we are called to believe it and live it out. Living out our identity costs us to deny ourselves (Luke 9:23), letting go of all the things that we draw meaning and identity from and letting God define that.
He does not force us to follow Him; He invites us to do so. Receiving this invitation frees us from trying to create a self that never has and will exist. It frees us from the warped idea that we can save or preserve our lives (Luke 9:24). We get to live knowing that God who is before all things and in whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17) sustains our lives (Acts 17:28, Hebrews 1:3). Following Him will give us the confidence to boast in Him, not even in our adornment (1 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10). Then we will be able to sing ‘My worth is not in what I own, Not in the strength of flesh and bone… not in skill or name, in win or lose, in pride or shame, But in the blood of Christ that flowed At the cross.’ (Hymn: My Worth is Not in what I own by Keith and Kristyn Getty).
So let us stop striving to be better versions of ourselves. We will never get an identity that is satisfying if we seek it elsewhere, apart from Christ. In Him, we find our identity and fullness of life (Colossians 2:6-10). When we submit to Him, we are free from conforming to what the world thinks (Romans 12:2). In Him, we find the freedom to look away from ourselves and the world. We base our confidence on to who God is for in Him all things hold together (Romans 11:36).