Do you struggle with your identity? Is your self-esteem low? Are you addicted to your career, alcohol, food, people, money, perfectionism or anything else that occupies your waking thoughts? Maybe some, or all of these, describe you. You’re not alone.
For years, I struggled with my self-worth and found it in all the wrong places, mostly in being a people-pleaser and a perfectionist. I hid behind a mask of self-deception, trying to convince myself, and others, that I was whole. I identified myself as daughter, sister, wife, mother and high school teacher. However, I didn’t really know who I was. I tried so hard to live up to other people’s expectations of how I should act and what I should say that by the time I reached my 40s, I imploded like a light bulb that blows inwards when it burns out—and that is not healthy for anyone.
I began to question my existence and identity. My sons were grown, my 28-year marriage ended and I found myself alone for the first time in my life. Raised by a mother who expected her daughters to do their best, I became an overachiever. For 28 years, beginning at age 19, I had sought to please a man who could not be pleased—and I didn’t have a clue as to my identity.
In the fall of 2001 I began to seek the One who knows me better than I know myself. Although I had attended church faithfully as a child and teenager, I had drifted away in my 20s. I returned for several years when my sons were young; however, it wasn’t until that October afternoon that I realized what was missing in my life—a relationship with my Savior. He is the only One who can fill the God-shaped hole to make us complete.
Since that time, my journey has led me to discover my identity through a personal relationship with Jesus. Spending my early morning time with Him, pouring out my heart on the lined pages of a journal has led to my wholeness and healing. Through this journaling process, I have regained the sense of self I had as a young child who delighted in spending time in the outdoors with God.
When the ink flows across the pages of my journal, I am free to be completely authentic with Him. To be authentic means to be genuine. If you’re hiding behind a mask, it’s hard to be real with yourself and with others.
God is the only One who can help us find our self-worth. The true sense of one’s value or worth as a person can’t be found in other people, things, jobs or the world. Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
In whom or what do you place your trust? Is the object of your trust absolutely 100 percent dependable and eternal? If not, you’re giving up the freedom to be yourself.