1. Finding my identity in God
2. Finding my contentment in God
I suppose I should start with the first. My identity. What makes me...me. What defines who I am. For years I have held onto my past as my identity. Africa. Africa was my joy. It was in my life as a missionary kid I had defined my purpose and identity. Yet in a conversation where unexpectedly someone asked all the right (or wrong... haha) questions, I realized that I had let something wonderful like my past in Africa define every part of my being. What does this mean? It means for years I have lived with the loss of... what I considered, my identity, my purpose, my hope. Some may say, "Sarah, you were barely a teenager when you left Africa," but that doesn't make any difference. When our family came back... I never had the oppurtunity to overcome my sense of loss. My sense that something wonderful had been stolen from me. Growing up, I used to use the loss of Africa against my parents as a weapon, to hurt them. I think now, it was partially because when I came back to America... I felt like no one understood. I'd let my past become an idol. Honestly, when I heard the words "idol", I thought of negative things (money, greed, power), those were idols to me. My past could not be an idol. Instead, what I learned last night is that Satan will use ANYTHING to pull us away from God. Even things that are good things, that we cherish. Satan will use these things to hurt us and turn us away from God. For years, I have spent my life holding onto my past as who I am.
It is not who I am.
My identity is in Christ. Jesus Christ was died a brutal and painful death so that I could find my life, my hope, my everlasting life, and my identity in Him. In 1 Peter 2:9 it says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in to his wonderful light”. In God, I am who I am. It is His hope, strength, and love that gives me life and purpose.
Secondly, finding contentment in Christ. I can't tell you how many days I sit in my room gazing out the window feeling like I was doing nothing with my life except existing. Recently, in letters to my best friend Molly, I'd filled pages of handwritten paper with dreams and hopes of doing something inspirational with my life. Yet here in farm country Pennsylvania... my life felt purposeless and incomplete. I was going through life with a constant stain of discontentment. Mind you, it wasn't always like this, but I'd go through phases where my head would just pound with the question "What am I doing here?"
God does not want us to feel discontent, lost, or purposeless ever.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I've heard both of these verses many times before, but looking at them now I am trying to convince my heart that they are true. God has plans for me! Plans that only he knows! God created me the way I am, and put me where I am right now because it's preparing me for good works He has in store for me. Plans He's known for me before I was even conceived.
Yet, I answer my own thoughts of God in my head with doubt. It's a lot easier said then done, Sarah. I know this, but I also know in my heart... I am longing to find my identity and my contentment in Christ. That is all God asks of us. Seek and you shall find. All I can do is acknowledge it and offer it up to God. I don't think it's going to get any easier... and I realize that there will still be times of discontent and a constant loss, but I do know when I find myself facing those times I can turn to God for comfort and purpose.
I'd also like to ask that you all who are reading this keep me in your prayers. God is teaching me and helping me grow, but it's not easy. I also pray that these blogs would not only be an encouragement to me, but to you as well. Please comment, I'd love to hear from you and hear what God is doing in your lives!