For the past couple of months, I have been interning at the elementary school in the counseling department. There are forms available to the students that allow them to request a meeting with the counselor. Since I have been there, it has been almost a daily occurrence to receive a report about “he said this…” or “she said that…”. These rumors became more and more common from the fifth grade girls.
I started leaving my internship every day thinking about the things that I would hear from these girls. The rumors that were spread, the harsh words that were used, and the control that it had over these girls’ lives was unnerving. Each day that I heard another rumor was another day that fuel was added to my concern for the future identity that these girls would believe about themselves.
Identity is a funny thing. You’re born without awareness of what it is, then you begin to discover it, sometimes it gets lost, then you find it…only to lose it all over again. It is enough to drive some of us nuts. Your identity is constantly being shaped by many different situations, circumstances, mistakes, major events, rumors, accusations etc. I have been thinking about my past and the things that I have been through that have had a positive influence on my life, but also the things that could have easily led me to believe lies about who I am as a person.
For example, certain circumstances I recall can be paired with a lie that I believed about myself in response:
I was lied to – I am not deserving of honesty.
I was cheated on – I am unworthy of faithful love.
I was lied about – The real me is not good enough.
I was rejected – I am incompetent.
I also think about the girls that I have met in Cambodia who have been lied to their entire lives. They have been told they are not worthy, they would never amount to anything of importance, and that the only good they could do is sell their bodies to make money for their families. These lies crept in and blinded them from the rights they have as women, the good things they deserve, and the beautiful women they are.
There are a number of situations that can take place to shape a person’s view of themselves: divorce, false accusations, spending time in jail, struggling with addiction, worldly pressure, opinions of others, just to name very few. If a person is not sure of who they are, these things have the ability to creep in and blind them from seeing the beautiful person they were created to be.
It wasn’t until I could fully believe that I was a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully created by Him and in His image, that I could learn to love every bit of myself. The mistakes I have made, I learned from but didn’t identify with. The lies I was told, I recognized the truth. The feeling of unworthiness and incompetency was replaced with a confidence to believe only the things that reflect how the Lord sees me. The song “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin resonates with me regarding this topic when it says:
“You’re a good, good Father
It’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am.”
My identity is not in what others say, the mistakes I have made, the circumstances I am under, or the lies I have been told. I am loved by the One who created me. That’s who I am. That’s who you are.