Identity Crisis: My Struggle with Acceptance, Sin, and Who I Am

 

Friday, Courtney Cumbest was honest with us about insecurities. As I read her blog, it made me want to share with you all some things the Lord has shown me about my own insecurities. I was extremely insecure growing up. In middle school and early high school, I was 4’10, chubby, zit-faced, wore braces, and had blonde highlighted hair parted down the middle of my head. Do you think I had reason to be insecure? If you answered yes, it may be surprising to you, when I say no, I didn’t have a reason to be insecure…but I was.

Yes, I was made fun of on multiple occasions. I was the brunt of jokes. So when I hit my growth spurt, lost my braces, toned up some, cleared my face, got a new doo, and moved to a new city, I started to place my identity in…popularity. I had all the right friends. I was in the right crowd. I was part of cool groups. I was the new guy. I finally found my happiness…or so I thought.

See, the thing about all that is…it gets old. Eventually, I was no longer are the “new” guy. I became part of the norm. The excitement was over. On top of that, the girl that I wanted to date didn’t have the same feelings. I put all my eggs in that basket: my hopes, my desires, and to be honest, my identity. I had taken her rejection and believed that labeled me… a reject. I desired to be loved so when all those things failed, I tried to find love in other things.

There is a whole lot that goes along with trying to find love in other things. In fact, people trying to find love and satisfaction in other people, places, or things to feel good about themselves will ultimately turn to idolatry. You lift higher those objects and your own self greater than the love of God. I tried to make me feel good about myself, but ultimately, I felt dirty, worthless, lost, confused, and ashamed. Yet, I went on with life acting my part as the “good Christian guy”. Some people thought I was a great guy. Other people I had hurt. All the while, I told myself I was a fake and inwardly hated myself for everything. Obviously, I had a bad identity.

Hear me out, I was DOING all the right things but living a wrong lifestyle because I was trying to find purpose and meaning through all the wrong things. I was striving. I was still placing all my identity within the horizontal instead of the vertical. Paul Tripp states, “Identity amnesia will always lead to identity replacement.” I thought money, power, and women were going to make me happy even though I studied the Bible and knew about Jesus and what He had done for me. Therefore, because all those things failed, I told myself I failed. Insecurity reigned and therefore I had a bad identity.

In my first two posts this month, I talked about the importance of studying the Word. In my last post, I talked about the dangers of a person studying God’s Word. In my insecurity I realized the Word’s importance yet I lived in pride and legalism. I set rules for myself and when I failed in all areas, I beat myself up for it. Even though I said that the Word will transform you, I was forgetting an important element, the gospel.

I had to come to realize the whole gospel. It states, “Ryan, you are a sinner. God knew this and He sent Jesus to appease the wrath you deserve for those sins. You couldn’t do it. God did. Now, know that God created you! He doesn’t mess up. He has redeemed you and He will continue to grow you in the likeness of Himself. Know that He loved you so much that He would send His Son to die for you. Be satisfied in Him and enjoy life and the gifts He has given within the boundaries He has given.”

When I truly realized all God had done to appease His own wrath and accept me, it was humiliating. I don’t mean that in a bad sense but in a sense of putting me on my knees to realize my place. I am accepted by a free gift. Since God loved me that much, it not only changed my perspective about myself but gave me a new perspective toward others. I see others not just as what they should be but as they are. The gospel gives me more compassion. It makes me want to serve others. It makes me want to find the justice within the world’s injustices. It’s given me a new perspective on life and now I want to do the things of God! Fruitfulness has grown which tells me…I am a child of God. I HAVE A NEW IDENTITY!!

Some Personal Application:

PARENTS:

First, learn and grow in confidence of God’s love for you. How can you love or pour love into your children if you don’t have the confidence of God’s love? This may mean that you have a lot of hurtful struggles to deal with in your own heart.

Know what your child struggles with and love them the way God loves you.

CHILDREN:

Obey your parents. God has given them to you as a picture of Himself. Both God and your parents set boundaries for reasons of love and protection.

“The ‘who I am’ should always come before the ‘what I do.”-Paul Tripp

As you get into the Word believe what He says about you…His child.

“But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me”-1 Cor 15:10

“Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Gal 4:6-7

 

Next week, I hope to go a little deeper into discovering this new identity and what it looks like, so stay tuned…

 

 

Ryan Thomason works with Transform Student Ministries as the product development and events coordinator. He has voluntarily served Precept Ministries for close to 10 years before coming on staff full time. He has interned with their media department in 2008 and with the student ministry in 2009. He has lived in Guatemala to learn Spanish.

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints.” Colossions 1:25-26

 

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One Response

09.24.12

[…] Last week, I talked about some of my struggles that I had in life. I was insecure and my insecurity was masked by an identity founded on popularity. I wanted others to think highly of me according to the world’s standards. Well, I am reminded that the “sand foundation” of popularity is quickly washed away by the surf of life’s “sea”. What I was finding my identity in could not hold and, therefore I found myself just as insecure. […]

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