6 September 2017

Where is Your Identity?

Do you ever bury your words? I began writing this in May but my anxious nature left it in the drafts. I worry about who will read this. What will you think? But, sometimes, a moment of bravery brings you back – both in writing and in life. 

About four years ago, I woke up one day with an enormous weight of sadness hanging over me. I was a final year creative writing student in Cheltenham, and that was my life. I could pinpoint exactly what it was that triggered it, the beginning of it all, but there were so many other things to come. It was a snowball effect. There was no single reason. Not one I can pinpoint. If there was someone or something I could blame it would be easy.

My 21st Birthday was one I would rather have forgotten, had it not been for my family. You don't realise how fortunate you are, how much worse it could be, how much love there is in the world, until it all goes to shit and your family is there to see you through. Had it not been for the smallest gestures, the constant love, the every-day smiles, I might not be here.

Mental illness isn't a choice, but the way you deal with it is. And you always have a choice. I chose to find a way, and now, four years later, I am still struggling, but I can say with great boldness that I am 100% myself.

It is now, when I look back, that I see what God did. He brought me back to Him.

When I went to university I turned my back on God. I couldn't wait to do whatever I wanted after living in a Christian household my whole life, and while it was fun to begin with, the inevitable downfall was not worth it. Not even a tiny bit.

Now I know who I am, I know where I am and, even though I don't know where I am going, I know where my identity lies. My purpose is in something much bigger than me or anyone on this earth. It isn't spread around in a random scattering, on anyone or anything. It doesn't land on whoever captures my attention for longer than a minute, or two. It lies solely in Him.

When I put my identity in other things I allowed a part of myself to be lost. Whatever it was... it couldn't keep me safe. Nothing is forever or as constant as the love of God. He was the only thing that stayed the same in the darkest moments of my life, and for that I thank Him every day.

I have lost love, friendships, time, experiences, a piece of myself... but what I lost was found ten times over when I put my identity back in Him. My life is richer now. I have a purpose. My identity is in Him and I am protected. And, when I feel like I'm beginning to falter – when I feel like I am losing a part of myself again – I re-centre my focus onto Him, and it is well with my soul.

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