“So, Tammy, what do you do?”
It was the party question I hated to be asked. The conversation-starter that bubbled every insecurity to the surface and made me feel like an insignificant nobody. For years, I dreaded attending social events with people I didn’t know.
No college degree. No professional “career.” Married at 19. A mom of two at 23. According to the standard of the world, I was a nobody. Even though I LOVED being a mom and felt a higher calling in motherhood than at any other time in my life, deep down, I still felt like a nobody.
After my kids left home and created lives of their own, I struggled to find my way. Even though I continued teaching Bible studies and volunteering for various ministries, nothing ever fully satisfied the void within.
So my answer to the stupid party question? “Nothing. I don’t really do anything”. That’s what I wanted to say because that’s what I genuinely believed about myself: that I didn’t do anything of value. That I really was an insignificant nobody.
Because I had no idea who God created me to be.
For years I’d heard the message that my identity was in Christ, but I didn’t fully comprehend what that actually meant. Therefore, I felt driven to define myself by the world’s standard rather than my relationship with Jesus.
Maybe you can relate? Do you define yourself by your position, your possessions, or your appearance? Does your worth and value come from your achievements or the words and opinions of others?
It’s incredibly easy to lose sight of our unique self when we try to create one through external means. But our true identity will never be found in anything or in anyone outside ourselves.
Your identity is your distinct character and God-given personality traits that make you different from anyone else on earth. It’s the uniqueness that makes you you. Before you were born ~ before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb ~ God knew who He would create you to be. He had your beautiful, image-bearing self at the forefront of His mind before He began knitting you together in the secret place.
But then, the world did its work in you, just like it does in ALL of us. Our sins ~ and the sins others commit against us ~ bury our image-bearing beauty so deeply within that we hardly live out of it at all. Instead, we live from all the other selves we’ve created in her place. The ones we fashion to survive. To self-protect. To fit in. To feel loved.
But that original God-created self is still seen and known by Him and still cries out to us from places deep within. And part of our work on this earth is discovering the inner masterpiece He originally designed to reflect His glory while expressing our uniqueness.
This life-long journey of transformation into our original identity is a gradual process of self-discovery where we allow God’s reality about us to become our own. And it won’t be one big “ah-ha” moment, but a lifelong uncovering of who we already are as we walk in a relationship with God, allowing Him to reveal the self that is already known and loved by Him.
It’s not a task to be finished or an assignment to be completed. We won’t find our true self by seeking it. We find it by seeking God; intimately experiencing His presence, then knowing ourselves through His eyes, as His beloved child.
Who did God create you to be? Who is the image-bearing masterpiece He placed within you? Are you paying attention to her unique voice? Or are you silencing her, listening instead to the clamor of outside noise trying to cast you into their image? Pay attention; she speaks all the time. Then give glory to God by being exactly who you are.