Until you know who and whose you are, you will keep striving. You will continue to look for approval and acceptance from people to validate your purpose and your worth. This has been my story.
Growing up, I was confused about my identity. It all started with an alien registration card. As a refugee entering America, this card was proof I was a legal resident.
Couldn’t there have been a better word to describe people who are displaced and in need of a place to call home? 😢
I knew then at 9 years old I was an outsider.
In school I felt like an outcast because I looked different, dressed different, and my peers didn’t let me forget it.
It’s when I began telling myself stories. You don’t look right. You don’t dress right. You don’t fit in anywhere. No one likes you. You’re not accepted. You don’t belong anywhere.
Little me dreamed of being someone other than herself because she was confused about her identity.
I wanted to change my outside to get rid of the ugly feelings on the inside. I didn’t want the slanted eyes, the straight black hair, the short stubby legs, the flat round face, the straight eyelashes, the yellow skin.
I didn’t know who I was, but I knew I didn’t want to be Vietnamese. Because being Vietnamese gets you mocked and ridiculed for how you look and speak. I couldn’t value myself because I didn’t know a Creator made me just so on purpose. I wanted to look like everyone else so I wouldn’t stand out and be teased. I wanted to be in the inner circle. To be popular. To be noticed. To be liked. But this has never been my story.
Because I was confused about who I was and didn’t understand God made each person uniquely with His identity, I worked hard at changing my identity.
For a time, I wanted to be white. Then I wanted to be black (this was an acceptable term to use back in my day). Never did I want to be Asian.
Even as a young girl of 10, I knew my identity mattered. And I was right. For the Creator, God made me with an identity. I was just confused about who I was supposed to be.
I had a bad case of identity confusion.
Identity confusion happens when we do not understand that we are created in the image of our Creator and our identity is in Him. So we identify ourselves with an ethnic group, a social group, or anything other than God, our identity giver. We try to be like, to look like, to act like those with whom we identify. And this may calm the confusion temporarily. But the deep dissatisfaction with self will never subside because we can’t deny the unique identity God gives to each one of us. We were made to find complete satisfaction only through identifying with our true identity as God’s created beings.
My young friends, you and I were created by God to have an identity. Because we are made in His image, our identity is with Him and it comes from Him. We may look different on the outside, we may speak different languages and we may have different cultural backgrounds, but our insides are all the same. Every human has a body, mind, and soul. At our core is the imprint of our Maker, God Himself.
Deep in our soul, each of us need to know our identity. We need to know who we are. We need and want to know our existence matters. We want to be accepted and loved for who we are, not for how we look, what we do, and what we have. Because God identifies us as His image carrier, we don’t have to prove our worth. We don’t have to change our looks, our personality, our created attributes in order to be accepted. When you know your identity comes from God, you no longer feel the need to prove your worth. You won’t want to be anyone other than yourself. You’ll stop striving to be better and more beautiful than the girl with the gorgeous bod, the perfect complexion, and her to die for social feed, which you’ve secretly envied. You’ll accept and love yourself how God made you.
Young hearts, if you don’t know your identity you will always compare, compete, and covet or want to be someone other than who you are. Not knowing your identity will cause you to think highly or lowly of yourself or to think these things of others.
But if we believe our identity comes from Creator God rather than our ethnicity, we will rightly identify ourselves with our Maker. We will view all people as God’s creation and not think ourselves better or less than others. We will value each individual as wonderfully made by God and treasure each person’s worth uniquely as He does.
My young friends, God made you exactly the way you are on purpose and for a purpose. Your identity comes from Him and is determined by Him because He created you in His image. Don’t be confused about your identity. You can know who you are and be confident of your worth as a unique creation of God by scrolling through His love words to you, the Bible, not your ever-changing social feed.