Embracing your God-given identity that is developed through your relationship with the One who loves you and knows you best
When I was 14, I decided that I was finally going to be stylish. I went shopping and picked out anything I could imagine my most fashionable friend wearing. I was certain this would work. All I had to do was copy her exactly.
But as I started trying on clothes, I began to get a sinking feeling that something was wrong. I discarded the first shirt. And the second.
By the end of my shopping spree, I was in tears. Nothing fit right. Nothing looked natural or elegant on me as it did on my friend. Even the colors were wrong, and I couldn’t understand why.
A child of God
Unfortunately, I spent so many years feeling out of place in my own skin because I didn’t understand how intentional God is with His creations. I was trying to define myself by what I thought I should look like and by what others thought of me.
So I had to stop comparing my clothes, looks and personality to others, which took years for me to understand. Once I did, I was able to embrace my identity as a child of God, artfully made and intentionally crafted. Psalm 139:13 reminds me: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”
Your authentic self
Discovering and building your sense of self as a teen is hard. The pressure to look a certain way, act like your friends, be in a relationship and enjoy the “right” hobbies can feel overwhelming. But the way you are made—heart, soul and mind—can’t be shoved into someone else’s box.
Placing your identity in Christ and learning to embrace your authentic self is a process. And it doesn’t have to be as mysterious as it seems. Your goal is to take your eyes off of external influences and stay centered on Christ. Here are some tips for embracing your God-given identity:
Appreciate how God created you. Your life, your mind and your path are uniquely your own. Looking at someone else’s “picture perfect” life and comparing it to your own only detracts from the beautiful creative process that is you learning you. Just as someone else’s fashion style didn’t fit me, someone else’s life, dreams and passions aren’t meant to fit you.
Spend time by yourself
Turn down the noise, and focus on the gifts God has given you. Learning about yourself is an important part of the process. Take some time to discover the things that you enjoy, and maybe try a few new ones. Walk through a library, color, draw, listen to music, press flowers, play basketball or even shop by yourself. Be comfortable enough in your own skin to embrace time alone without distractions, and figure out what you like about yourself.
Stay connected to God
Thankfully, you are not alone in all this. God is waiting to show you how you’re wonderfully created. Invite Him into the process. You are never more your true, authentic self than when you’re connected with God. The further you drift from Him, the further you drift from the person you’re truly meant to be. Even Jesus, in the midst of His busy ministry, would retreat to spend time alone with His Father (Luke 6:12). Believe me, God wants to reveal who He made you to be. So spend time praying, worshiping Him and reading Scripture.
One of a kind
Over the years, I’ve developed my own unique sense of style instead of mirroring someone else’s. And the time I’ve spent exploring my personal passions, interests and relationship with God has made me the person I am today. It can be so tempting to think that by changing your outward appearance, you can create a new identity for yourself. But your identity can only be developed through your relationship with the One who loves you and knows you best because your identity is based in Him.
© 2022 Abigail Geiger. Used by permission. All right reserved. This article first appeared in the June/July 2022 issue of Brio magazine as “Artfully Made and Intentionally Crafted.”