When I was 19 years old I had a straight up identity crisis. I was a freshman at the University of Alabama, loving college life and the new experiences. I was plucked right out of small town USA where I literally knew everyone’s name, and they knew mine. I had grown up with my friends and classmates for the last 8 years and there was mutual acceptance all around.
So when I stepped foot on this huge college campus I was faced with a variety of new kinds of people. The trends at The University of Alabama during the year of 2005 included a few things: pearls, Vera Bradley tote bags, and boat shoes. I literally owned none of these things. I was, instead, wearing Converse sneakers, sporting necklaces with peace sign pendants, and carrying my books in a hot pink messenger bag. What had I just stepped into?
While no one was forcing me to adopt these other trends, I slowly found myself feeling like I needed to. So for Christmas I asked, and received, all of the trendy things listed above and I went back to school for the spring semester as a new woman. I played the part for a while but slowly started to hate it.
The truth was, I didn’t really like pearls that much…they weren’t really my style. And while I am a fan of Vera Bradley (the woman engineers a fantastic bag), carrying all my books in a tote hurt my shoulder. And those boat shoes, OH MY GOSH, they killed the backs of my heels. What was I doing?
However, as I began to cultivate new college friendships, I eventually began to realize some truths. These friends were going to be my friends no matter what I wore or how I carried my books. That realization was extremely freeing and by my sophomore year, I was back in my old skin. (And shoes).
Lesson learned, right? Sort of.
Over the last 11 years I’ve had similar identity crises happen in other ways. How often do we scroll through our Facebook and Instagram feeds, longing for someone else’s life? How often have we bought some article of clothing that we did not really love, but it was in style, and we just wanted to fit in? Society is constantly telling us we should be someone different. The world is in our face saying to be this way, not that way.
But what happens when we ignore society and the world and instead lean into who God has made us to be?
When we drop all of the extra work that we have burdened ourselves with trying to be someone we are not, weight is lifted.
Becoming who God created us to be means leaning into our passions and our gifts. It means pursuing the things that set your soul on fire, and discarding the things that don’t. It looks like embracing your full self – quirks and flaws included. It is accepting yourself for who you are and surrounding yourself with others who do, too.
God already accepts/loves/adores you exactly as the person you are becoming. All you have to do is choose to be her.