I recently watched “The Greatest Showman” for a school assignment. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s a musical encouraging viewers to be themselves. One of the songs in the movie is called “This is me.” It strives to celebrate the differences between human beings. In other words, the song shouts, “Be yourself!”
Today, I’m writing about identity. But I’m doing so from a biblical perspective.
In my home, there’s a quote on the wall. It reads, “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.” It’s a cute cliché, but I forget it’s there. Actually, I forget the words. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to be comfortable in my own skin.
I’m not alone. People struggle heavily with identity. For some, the identity crisis pertains to outward appearance. For others, the insecurity comes from personality differences, social skills, or intelligence levels. In our eyes, we don’t have what it takes.
The insecurities plague our minds like flies in Egypt. So let’s grab a fly swatter (the Bible) and start swatting insecurity in the face.
The first page of the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27 ESV). If you’re a human being, then you’re made to be like God. You’re created with more ingenuity than science can explain. You’re so incredibly precious in the eyes of your Creator. However, because of sin, your identity is fully discovered through the grace of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10 NLT).
Here’s the truth: you cannot know who you are until you know who Jesus is. Because of Jesus, you are somebody. If you want to be comfortable in your own skin, develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. The more you know Him, the more you know you.
But here’s the problem: most Christians still struggle with being themselves. Why? Because it’s difficult to look past human insufficiency and gaze at Christ’s sufficiency.
We often think God wants to remove the source of our insecurity. But sometimes, God allows the source of our insecurity to remain. When it comes to overcoming insecurity, it’s less about removal and more about focus. It’s less about God removing your insufficiencies and more about how well you look past your insufficiencies to see Jesus.
The Apostle Paul writes about a “thorn” in his flesh. He says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:8-9 ESV).
Are you focusing on your “thorns” or Jesus? I know you’re frustrated by your “thorns.” It’s hard to look in a mirror and see the details of a face you know all too well. It’s hard to keep walking when you make mistakes. It’s hard to have confidence in the power of Christ when you know your weaknesses. But sometimes, God allows your “thorns” to remain. Why? Because God loves to work His power through weak people. He loves to be sufficient through your insufficiency. That’s the beautiful grace of God.
Whether or not you live in insecurity depends on your focus: “thorns” or Jesus. Both are real, but which one has your focus?
My girlfriend Gabrielle has a favorite quote. It reads, “I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, about Somebody, who can save anybody.” Now, I understand what the author is trying to say. But I don’t like this quote. She knows that. (I think she keeps it around to bother me.)
You see, in Christ, we become somebody. The Bible says, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:10 ESV).
In my opinion, a better quote would be, “Once a nobody, now a somebody.” But who am I to argue with the lady?
On a serious note, the choice is yours. You can base your identity on your “thorns” or Jesus. You can be a “nobody” or a “somebody” in Christ. The choice is yours.
Isaiah Pauley is a 2018 graduate of Wahama High School and attends Ohio Christian University. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.