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Identity: Purple Sparkly Pants, Captain Morgan, and The Beautiful Truth

Do you find your self-worth in what you do, what you do not do, or who you are in Christ?

 

It’s a question of identity, a question I heard over and over at youth group, church camp, and christian conferences. As a good, southern girl growing up in the Bible Belt, I always knew the right answer. Jesus! (duh…)

I knew that my identity should come from my relationship with Christ, but truthfully, I had no idea what that churchy statement actually meant when it was applied to my daily life.

Honestly, I’ve lived most of my life in the other two categories. Either I have found my self-worth in what I did (my GPA, my accomplishments, my status) or what I did NOT do (get drunk, have sex, say the “F” word). And neither brought me much joy in the end.

Purple, Sparkly Smarty Pants 

In middle school, I was not the most stylish girl on the face of the planet. Ok, let’s be honest here; I was a dork. My wardrobe consisted of two things – purple, glittery high-water bellbottoms and overalls with colorful patches (also high-waters). I was extremely shy and ridiculously clumsy (which probably explains why I was a bench warmer on the C team for both volleyball and basketball). Also, the first boy I had a crush on received a black eye from my purse as I attempted to seductively swing it over my shoulder to get his attention…

Needless to say, I did not find my identity in sports or popularity as a 6th grader. Instead, I found confidence in my grades. I was in the “Gifted and Talented” program, was always teacher’s pet, and consistently made straight A’s. At least until that one fateful day when I ripped open report card to find an 88 written next to Algebra…

Oh, the devastation. Yes, I was (and probably still am) that kid. The one who cries over her grades. I know it sounds silly, but ever since that day, I never felt like I belonged with the “smart kids.” My identity was ripped out from under me with one fatal quadratic equation test. Since I wasn’t a successful athlete and never fit in with the popular girls – I felt completely lost, inadequate, and worthless.

Perfection is Not a Requirement.

I know this may sound like a ridiculous story to some of you, but this example is just the tip of the iceberg. My entire life I have struggled with perfectionism and still fight the fear of failure daily. I have to constantly remind myself that God doesn’t need me to be perfect before He can love me and use me to do great things for His glory.

Not only did He come to save us while we were still imperfect, sinners (Romans 5:8), He also called us His workmanship (aka His masterpiece) before we even accomplished anything at all (Ephesians 2:10). Not only does He absolutely adore us despite our perfections, our Father in Heaven is proud of us.

Now let me fast forward to high school…

Captain Morgan captain morgan

While I did not excel at basketball or volleyball, when I got to high school, I found my calling in cheerleading. I made captain of the freshman cheer squad and everything changed… Boys started paying attention to me. I got cat-calls from the “senior bridge” and in 9th grade I was asked to Homecoming by 4 different guys. While I didn’t have the slightest idea how to handle that new attention, I secretly loved it!

By senior year, I had been on the Homecoming court, was crowned Prom Queen, and nominated for class favorite twice. I was best friends with the quarterback and was dating the cutest football player. Anything I had ever seen on TV or in the movies told me that my life was perfect. If I knew all of this would happen as a 6th grader, I would probably have peed my sparkly purple pants! What more could I ask for?

Prom King & Queen

Prom King & Queen

The truth is, none of those things fulfilled me. Even though everything I had achieved said that I was “popular” most of the time I felt like a complete looser. Because I was one of the few cheerleaders who didn’t go “too far” with my boyfriend and refused to drink, I was treated like an outcast or, worse, a baby. There was always something I was insecure about: my clothes (it was a cardinal sin to repeat an outfit), the fact that I was shy, or that I wasn’t allowed to go to the crazy parties.

My attempt to find fulfillment in popularity or my identity as a cheerleader failed miserably.

The Beautiful Truth

Thankfully, God knew our strengths and shortcomings before we were even born (Psalm 139:13-18). Despite anything we have or haven’t done, we are chosen as member of God’s family and a co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4-6). In fact, we are royalty in His eyes and have received full citizenship with Him in Eternity! (Phil. 3:20) We are His crown of splendor! (Isaiah 62:3)

For believers in Christ, this is our identity, not our accolades, not our failures, and not the number of likes we get on Instagram.

This is something I have to remind myself daily. (I have to remember to wear my invisible crown!) Even though fully believe this beautiful truth, I often fall for the lie that I am what other people think of me. And my deep-rooted desire to please others distracts me from the beautiful truth of who I am in Christ.

I wish I could say that high school marked the end of my struggle with identity but, unfortunately, it was only the beginning. When my intellect proved to be imperfect and I found popularity to be hollow and stale, I continued to search for other places to achieve my worth. Instead of relying completely on Christ to fulfill me, I’ve put my identity in everything from dating relationships to marathon running, from my Louboutin shoes to my marriage. I continue to labor and toil to be the Pintrest-perfect housewife or to receive the “exceeds expectations” score in my review at work.

But in the end, I am so deeply thankful our loving Father knows the dorky, type-A, Audrey Hepburn loving, obsessive to-do list achiever that I am. And He loves me. 

He loves you too. Whatever your story is, He is proud to call you His beautiful, precious daughter (or courageous, handsome son).

So what’s your answer to this question? (Like, your real answer…)

Do you find your self-worth in what you do, what you do not do, or who you are in Christ?

 

My prayer is that you will be brave enough to identify those things in your life that are consuming your identity other than Christ. There is a very heavy weight that comes with striving for and clinging to those earthly identities. I believe that the sooner we identify those distractions in our lives, the sooner He can free us of them. Only then will we be able to put on our crown of splendor and begin living the fabulous page-turner He has planned for us!

xoxo

Photo Credit: Rebecca L. (text added)

3 Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Morgan, thank you for being so vulnerable! Great reminder, too!

  2. Pingback: Dealing with Embarrassment: A Full Moon on the 4th of July | Living a Page-Turner

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