I have this instinctual response to alter my personality, interests, and lifestyle when I meet someone I like. Maybe you can relate. I wish it were limited to only romantic interests because that would be a smaller problem to approach, but it also applies to family members, friends, coworkers, and leaders in my life. The transformation is loaded with good intentions to connect with someone I enjoy and is usually undetectable until it’s a little too late to revert to my most genuine self. I don’t mean to be fake or act like someone I’m not. At the root of my chameleon-like tendencies, I want to be worth something to someone.
The most compelling reason I am interning at Wesley is to learn to be who God says I am all the time no matter who is around or what environment I am in. I have been rewiring my mind to function from the belief that I am wanted when I am fully myself and that is infinitely better than striving to be desirable at the expense of who I was created by God to be. I’m learning what it means to allow God to define my worth. He has spoken and still speaks about the priceless value He has placed in me. When I’m not careful, I take for granted the cost He paid and the intentionality in His forming me. I start to see Him like I see my parents— someone who would say I’m beautiful when I’m ugly and amazing when I’m really not because they have to. While seeing God as Father is life-changing, the familiarity of knowing Him this way without the reverence of knowing Him as King can limit our ability to love the identities and callings He has given us. When the King speaks, reality aligns with His will. He is Father and the God of the living and the dead who calls things into being that were not (Romans 4:17). He is both Father of glory (Ephesians 1:17) and King of glory (Psalm 24:1).
My misconception of God is at the core of the problem I’m working to resolve which means I am once again being invited to know more of the heart of God. There is so much grace in our shortcomings. In His love, mercy, and gentleness, God says I am enough. As the Lion of Judah and Lamb that was slain, He assures me that I am not too little or too much. When I live from the belief that I am already worthy and wanted by the One who is truth, I no longer have to adapt my identity to complement that of those around me. I can connect with people without the pressure of pleasing them. Confidence in God’s declaration of my value is my safety bubble that protects me from feeling like a disappointment or someone not worth loving.
When I live to earn the affection of people, I am handicapping myself. My thoughts are consumed with trying to figure out what they want from me and how I can give it to them instead of having thoughts about what God has given me and how I can give it away to them. My interests fluctuate causing confusion and a lack of trust for those who know me the closest instead of having interests that reflect God-given passion for life. My wavering lifestyles take away the opportunity for people to know me and remove the opportunity to be consistently vulnerable with people I love. I limit my God-given gifts because I become preoccupied with being who they want instead of who God created me to be. The greatest irony of all is that the version of me people really want and need the most is the version of me that God has authored and is perfecting (Hebrews 12:2). I don’t have to live in agreement with the lie that people would want me more if I were different, less, or more.
Discovering our identities and what God says about us is a life-long, thrilling journey. As we know God more, we are transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). We never stop developing into better versions of ourselves as we develop intimacy with God. Christ gave us the opportunity to be transformed, defying sociocultural norms, behaviors, and beliefs by renewing our minds (Romans 12:2). Affirming the identity God gave you starts in the mind— in the pursuit of the knowledge of God. I could tell you every place in the Word I know where God talks about who He is to us and who we are to Him but I would rather just tell you there’s good stuff in Bible so go look for it. Tell me what you find and I’ll tell you what I’ve found.
Supplemental to knowing God as a way of discovering your identity, write out what you know about you. I keep a list on my phone of things about myself that are unique to me. Only a couple of friends have seen it, and it’s not really for show. It’s just a reminder that I am different and that’s fun. Write out your passions, dreams, goals, and fears. What makes you angry and what makes you get out of bed in the morning? The more you can flesh out those questions, the more you should notice patterns and staples of who God uniquely created you to be. Ask the people closest to you to share what they see in you and see what matches up between the different responses. You can even take assessments like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or Enneagram to add to your self-awareness. Then lay all the verses, all the facts about yourself, all the truth you can find before God and ask Him what He says. I assure you it will be life-altering and kind every time, not just because He is your parent but because He is King and so much more. His word is truth and His truth will set you free. I hope this helps you find freedom from fighting to be wanted and striving for affection like it did for me. Even more so, I hope you are able to identify the misconceptions you have about God that are producing fruit in you that is less than the best for you. You deserve the best and God wants to give it to you. Ask Him what freedom He has for you this year as you know Him more.
Author | Savannah Ugan