I struggle with my identity in Christ. A lot. It’s an ongoing battle. I know who I’ve been told I am: fat, not enough, too much, quirky, weird, unlovable, unworthy, abused, haunted, cold, flighty…. In other words, a hot mess.
The truth is, I am all these things, but the challenge is not allowing myself to live in these definitions. Transparency: I fail. Usually daily.
When I pray on my armor, I ask God to align my thoughts to His truths. Sometimes, it works flawlessly and the enemy’s arrows bounce off my shield (pew-pew-pew). At the very least, I can see these thoughts for what they are: an attack of the enemy to try and separate me from the God who created me.
When I’m tired, overwhelmed, ill, and/or sad, it’s a different story. The words of others replay over and over. They grow. They push God’s truths out of the way to make room for the toxic thoughts to snuggle up with a blankie and get comfy. I question everything and dwell on past mistakes rather than move forward and brush off the attacks.
I stay awake into the wee hours, replaying my transgressions in my mind. Sleep eludes me. I spend hours focused on what others have said about me, forgetting what God says about me. Maybe not forgetting, but at least coming up with “this is why” justifications of why I cannot accept the grace that is freely offered to me through my Savior.
My brain isn’t wired right, but it usually serves me well. I have ADHD, quite severely, so my brain is like a ping pong match, bouncing back and forth between thoughts, but unable to shut off. ADHD is a bedfellow to anxiety and depression. Depression is usually fleeting for me, but the anxiety…. Well, the anxiety is another story. When you add exhaustion and frustration into the mix, it’s impossible to breathe. It’s impossible not to cry. Ugly cry. Body-wracking sobs. Crying makes me angry, so cue the angry tears. Angrier words and so much confusion.
This was where I ended up at 1am. I was emotionally exhausted and didn’t feel well.
When I am rested, I know God created me for a purpose, but the enemy never stops attacking. I know I am here for a reason, but am paralyzed to act on it. I know what He says about me, but my brain cannot process it. #shortcircuit
When I have prayed on my armor and not allowed inconveniences to affect my thoughts, I can eventually remember who God says I am so I can straighten my crown and press on – usually after having a good old-fashioned temper tantrum about whatever went off course – in front of my Heavenly Father. I know he can handle my anger, my hurt, my confusion.
I don’t expect life to be easy. I don’t expect to always be right. I certainly don’t expect perfection. I don’t expect everyone to think I’m awesome or smart. I don’t expect to be everyone’s number one choice. I don’t expect everyone to understand me.
I do, however, expect to remember that becoming who I was created to be will be a lifelong journey with unforeseen shifts along the way. I expect to be able to adapt and listen for guidance. I expect to show love to others. I expect to accept the grace offered to me. I expect to keep moving forward regardless of how I may feel on the inside. There is work to be done, work assigned to me because of who I am in HIM.
God chooses the broken, the imperfect, the people with a past to reach others. We just have to lean on Him and trust that he knows what is best. This isn’t easy, nor is it pleasant, but He will protect us so that we can do His work.
He expects us to walk by faith, trusting in Him for wisdom, insight, and guidance. He will reveal who we are intended to be as we spend time with Him, even if that means telling him how angry we are with the plans. Honesty is part of any relationship and He expects nothing different from us.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NKJV)
In the same way, I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born. Isaiah 66:9 (ERV)