“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP
Let me ask you something. If your iPhone starts acting up, are you going to take it to the car mechanic for them to fix it? I sure hope not. You’re better off taking it straight to the creator and the source, Apple, right? So, then my next question is, why would you take up your concerns about your identity with anyone other than your creator? Why do we let outside sources dictate how we see and define ourselves?
If you really think about it, our whole life is a journey of self-discovery. Over time we discover who we are. In most cases we allow ourselves to be defined by various things, such as our job, our romantic relationships, the school attended, the town we live in, the clothes we wear, the people we hang out with, the music we listen to...and the list goes on and on. With so many outside voices and influences telling us who we are (or who we ought to be) it becomes difficult to navigate our way through the wilderness of discovering our true selves (who Christ intends for us to be). One can certainly listen to those voices telling her she’ll never be good enough, calling her names that aren’t associated with her true identity, OR one can listen to the voice of their Creator- whose word lights the path before her, reminding her of how loved she really is, therefore allowing her to see herself through HIS eyes.
For years I only saw myself through the eyes of the men I dated. Men who didn’t truly value me. I thought that being in a relationship with “the right guy” would make me happy...more or less I was looking for someone to complete me, but I was so far from being complete myself (and neither were they). Looking back at all my past relationships, I realized how easy it was for me to lose myself in the process of dating someone. I wanted to live up to THEIR expectations (because I was seeking THEIR love and THEIR approval), so I gave up what I liked to do for what they liked to do. I gave up my morals and values for theirs, even if they didn’t match mine. I would pour my heart and soul into these relationships, thinking they would last, only to have it all blow up in my face. The aftermath always left me feeling devastated and lost, like I had to start all over. And in a way it was necessary to do so...
Dating now a days is hard enough y’all, and we make it harder on ourselves when we search aimlessly for love. The key to finding love is loving ourselves. I found the key to loving yourself is to go straight to the source, the only one who can complete you, your Creator. God is your source of love. Of strength. Of Value. He sees the potential in you and wants to bring it out in the best way possible. You don’t have to do anything special to impress him. He doesn’t call you names or lie. When I reflect on this, I see how patient God was with me, even in the moments I pushed him away, and especially through all of my mistakes. He makes sure not to waste a single experience of our lives. There is a quote by J.I. Packer that I think is fitting for this, and it says, “Our God is a god who not merely restores, but takes up our mistakes and follies into His plan for us and brings good out of them. This is part of the wonder of his gracious sovereignty.” (SaveOne by Sheila Harper)
I’m so grateful that those days are behind me. I thank God, my Creator, for showing me who I really am. So, who am I you ask? My name is Amber Nicole Casey, daughter of the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:18). I was created in His image (Genesis 1:27), and knit together in my mother’s womb (Psalms 139:13). I am clothed in strength and dignity, and I laugh without fear of the future (Proverbs 31:25). And therefore, since I am in Christ, I am a new creature, renewed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am loved (John 3:16), I am forgiven (1 John 1:9), and I am set free (Romans 6:7), and nothing or no one can take that away from me (Romans 8:38-39).
Now, what I’d like for you to do is take a second to reread that last paragraph aloud, or write it down. And make sure to replace my name with yours. How does that feel? Reflect and mediate on it. That’s who GOD, our Creator, says you are. There’s power in that. So when you are in Christ, the reflection in the mirror is no longer defined by the voices of the naysayers, the doubters, the ones who don’t value you...they are defined by the word of God. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.