Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Identity Theft

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come so that [you] may have life, and have it to the full."  -- John 10:10

I'm feeling a little cheated lately.  But I can't blame anyone but myself.  I let them do it.  I let them steal my identity and make me into something that I was never intended to be.  As you scratch your head in bewilderment, let me explain.

As long a I can remember, I have always been overweight.  From the time I was a little girl I have struggled with my body image as mean, unhappy people called me names like "fatso" and "lard a--."  Whether I really fit those descriptions or not, that's what people said and that's what I believed I was.  That was how I came to identify myself.  As I matured into adulthood, that image of myself never left my mind and I succumbed to it more and more, allowing myself to become what I had been told all my life I already was.  As a result, I became a shy, insecure, self-loathing young woman, unattractive to myself and to the people around me.  And it hurt.  Deeper than anyone could know.

Even after I married my husband, my identity as the "fat girl" invaded life.  My insecurity affected our marriage, our friendships, even Scott's ministry at times.  After our second son was born, I was at my biggest, 265 pounds, and I decided something HAD to change.  So I started working.  I found a friend who would work beside me and she was such an encouragement as I struggled through the first few weeks.  And then my body started to respond and I started to see changes.  The weight began melting off and for once I started to feel good about my body.  Other people noticed, too, and I began to hear -- for the first time in my life -- positive comments about my appearance.

I found myself in a new, strange territory.  I was still unsure of myself, but I knew that I liked the compliments and they compelled me to keep working.  Suddenly my identity wasn't wrapped up in being the fat girl; instead I was being defined by my weight loss.  And, honestly, it felt wonderful.

And then my husband accepted a new job and our family relocated.  No one in our new town knew that I used to be overweight or that I was still working so hard to lose the last 15 pounds.  And so I found myself missing the comments that I had so thrived on before.  And I found myself without a clear identity.  (Incidentally, I also gained back 10 pounds!)

And that's when I realized:  I am more than a number.  Whether it is a number on a scale or a size on a pair of jeans, I am not defined by that number.  As a kid, I allowed my peers to define me by my size, my weight.  As an adult, I allowed others to define me by the number of pounds I had lost.  I was wrong on both extremes.  

God did not create me to be a number.  He created me to be a woman after His own heart.  He created me to be me.  Now I just have to figure out who that is.

A few years ago I wrote a song  called "Lost."  I was trying then to figure out who I was, and I really think I found the answer.  Now it's time to live it and stop letting things, people...lies...tell me who I am.  Here are some of the lyrics of that song:

I'm lost.  I don't know who I am.  I'm searching, trying to understand.  But I can't find myself inside this life of mine.  I'm lost.  And I just want to be found.

And then I heard my Jesus say, "Lose yourself completely, every day.  Lose yourself in Me.  Lose yourself in Me.  And there you'll find the woman I want you to be."

And now I'm lost.  But I know who I am.  I sought You.  You helped me to understand that I can't find myself, except inside of You.  I'm lost.  I'm lost and I'm found in You!

God, may I be defined by You and only You.  Live in me and make me the woman you created me to be.  Be the Lord of my heart and my mind and my body, and make them Yours.  Let no one and nothing else steal this identity You have given me.  For in You I live and move and have my being.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. This was such an encouragement to me -- thanks for sharing!!!!


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