The Case of the Skewed Identity

I’m not very good at receiving compliments. I’ve never been good it. If you were to compliment me, you’re likely to hear a quieted, murmur something like, “uhh…yah thanks…” If you were to ask me about my identity or self-image, you’re likely to hear some evasive, nondescript version of, “I guess I’m pretty.” or “I think I’m healthy?

It’s a fairly skewed perspective.

I can’t trust my own perspective of myself though. I’d be nuts to believe everything I thought in the uncertainty of my heart. My daily emotions would leave me unhappy, broken and just plain confused.

Instead of leaving my identity up to myself, I have to rely on something or someone else (this is where the compliments kick in). I can get a self-esteem boost from hearing a fantastic compliment about my style or my hair or my personality. It honestly feels great…until you don’t hear those compliments often. Then this happens: “Oh, no one has complimented me or told me how great I am, so I’m unsure of who I truly am.” The compliments fail. Image

            (Photo by Ty Carlson)

So, take out the compliments and where is your self-esteem at?

Let’s check the mirror. Depending how we look and feel, a mirror can be a nice judge or a terrible one. Recently, I discovered my cracked mirror that was resurrected several months ago, has been reflecting a cracked image of me. Literally. After months of checking the mirror casually, glancing at my outfits, deciding which colors look best together, I find out the broken parts have affected the rest of the mirror. This so-called “reflection of me” has been tacking on a few extra inches to my width! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I pushed the glass back together and saw a body different than what I was used to seeing.

If I can’t count on compliments and can’t count on mirrors to tell me who I am, where will I turn to?

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” Ephesians 2:10 

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1

“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

Turn to the truth of who you are, not what this world or your mirrors or your friends are telling you. We are so much more than our own opinions.



Some Things Don’t Ever Change

Traveling is all about change. Change of scenery. Change of language. Change of people. An infinite amount of dissimilarities.

Yet through the nearly 4,000 miles of traveling, I’ve recognized some things that haven’t changed.

Such as my enjoyment of a solid nap to break up my day, or the way I talk to my two miniature Dachshunds in that high, squeaky voice – even if it is over video chat. It’s given me the neon sign that points directly to what things I care most about keeping. I still have found ways to share life with my closest friends, and request advice from those wiser than I. I’ve found ways to read the news and be informed on what’s happening in the world, and update my parents on where I will be (kidding…kind of). I know which restaurant has the better Asian food, and which bookstore has the better comfy couch. I still don’t wash my hair often, but somehow I don’t think that will ever be different, and Diet Coke is still welcomed like a drug.

Some things don’t change, no matter how far away you go.

Equally, my God doesn’t change – no matter how many miles I travel.

He is still the same faithful, trustworthy, all-knowing, loving God. Just because my location has differed, He surely has not. Almost one month ago, I wrote a post about being in a “waiting season” and seeing what God had in mind for me here. Now, a short time later – still unsure exactly where this trip will take me – what I know to be true is Jesus. I can rest in His presence, I can believe that this day is a gift. This day is another day to focus on Him – the one who remains. The one who stays the same.

And while I know that some day my love for sushi may fade or I won’t be capable of taking a nap each and every day – which dear goodness, I hope neither of those happen – what I do know is that some things, some One will never change.

Rest in His hope. Rest in His love that goes beyond borders.