Engraved

Celebrating Individuality, Understanding Our Identity – Who Are You?

“You can’t do anything right!” screamed her thoughts. Rachel was once again beating up herself after failing another test.

She started say, “Why can’t you be more like Anna?” You see, Rachel had been depressed for quite sometime and it had started to affect her relationships, her work and studies.

She decided to talk with her friend Sarah about it in detail.

Rachel sobbed painfully, “I feel so hallow,” she broke off and took a gasping breath, “…and helpless, it’s like I am watching someone else’s life fall apart . I don’t quite know how to explain, it’s like I um… I am empty but drowning at the same time.”

A lot of things came up in the conversation but the greatest discovery was, Rachel was living a life that she wasn’t contented with. It seems her major decisions were based on expectations rather than inherent desires.

Sarah then asked, “What do you want?” Rachel hesitated, she hadn’t really thought of that before.

Sarah gently prompted her further, “Who are you Rachel?” Rachel thought it was rather absurd for her friend to ask her that after knowing her for three years now but the more she thought of an answer, the more one seemed to evade her. She started rubbing the circle of her gold wrist watch nervously.

Rachel, slowly lifting her eyelids to see her friend, who had a very concerned look on her face, said, “Sarah, I… I don’t know”.

Who Are You?

Many of us find ourselves in the same position as Rachel. We have lost touch of the things we once valued, it seems we have lost purpose, meaning and a sense of self. Or did we even have a correct perspective in the first place? There is no easy definition for identity. Some say it is learnt acceptable thoughts and behaviors, a perception, a role accepted but I don’t always trust google. If all we are, are learnt behaviors and nothing more than just another person in this world, is our existence of any value? Do we have a right to say we are special? I am hoping we will develop a coherent definition of the concept of identity together or even come close to one.

What Makes You, You?

Is it the color of your eyes or skin or the frame of your body? Possibly, is it your ideologies and internal value system? Maybe it could be it be your favorite things or your preferences? Would you still be you if you had different beliefs, desires, body shape, gender? I guess what I am getting at is, your identity is determined by every aspect of your physicality, personality, preferences, character and mind.

How Did You Become Who You Are?

We are the sum of all the experiences we have had and will have. Our identity started long before we were born. Christians theorize we were known to God before time. (Jer. 1:5) Others believe our identity started from the womb and some after birth. Christians and others agree that the mother plays a very important role in the life of a child. Happier mothers gave birth to happier babies. So, does our childhood affect how we perceive ourselves? This leads us to next week’s focus. Are the problems facing Rachel somehow related to how she was grown? Follow the blog to find out! Thanks to the friends who shared their ideas and editorial skills in compiling this post. Remember, you are precious.

The Claws of Comparison

When I settled to write this post in my journal, I had a major issue with finding where to begin. This is owing to the fact that comparison has been such an early and continuous battle for me. It ate away at my self esteem and destroyed any hope of me achieving my fullest potential.

Growing up was a bit of a challenge. I was the youngest of four children and the most introverted. This made it difficult for me to express myself clearly, especially if I was displeased. The introverts know exactly what happened next, yes, I retreated to my shell. Surprisingly, it was not that I didn’t feel safe or loved, it’s just I wasn’t wired like everyone else to just, talk.

Evolving into a teenager made things worsen. I started to compare my body with other persons’ shape, hair texture, smile, personality and the list goes on. Where I found not matching the ideal, I grew a strong dislike for that aspect of my feature (did a post about one on Facebook, link is in menu, check it out).

It didn’t end there, I found I was compared to my sister a bit more than I could handle. Okay, so she is extroverted, very outgoing, fun loving, joke telling, and charismatic. It’s hard not to love being around her. Then there was me at the time, too shy to even say good morning to community members, barely knowing how to interact with extended family members, loving my own space and lost in my own little world. People would often say in my presence, “I prefer (my sister), she is more down to earth, Shanann just so stuck up ,” or “She (my sister) would have had us laughing.”

This had a reverse effect on me as I didn’t covet or hate her, nothing can change my love for her, smiles. Only the introverts know what happened next too. Yes, you guessed right! I retreated deeper into my shell, affecting my relationships even more. In my social circle at the time I would always be listening, not because I had nothing to say but afraid of what the response would be to my thoughts. Afraid that what I had to offer wasn’t enough-that me being me wasn’t enough. Also, afraid that I needed to be someone else to matter. (Whew, this blog has me sharing all my secrets!) Persons would say you are so much like your sister. (Me at the time: I wish!) I took it as a compliment but deep down I wondered if that is all people will ever see me as, a copy and not an original.

So much rests on identity, no wonder the enemy seeks to keep us from truly realizing who we truly are.

Shanann Williston

The Liberating Power of Purpose

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So, to the good stuff! This is how I overcame, I found my purpose. Yes, I know it is not as simple as it sounds. God gave me some instructions and promises unique to me that I was reluctant to do but obedient to. Then after much conviction and bawling I decided to submit to His plans for me. (Submission and obedience are similar concepts but God delights in one, reflect on that.) Upon understanding the why of my existence, I deeply to desired to truly know the God who dictates my path. I found this mind blowing truth that He loves me endlessly so why should I want to be someone else?

What makes me different is the very thing that makes me beautiful. So yes, I am still a bit socially awkward, too caught up in my own world, not very expressive, living with a constant battle of indifference and sensitivity, not the best story teller, but guess what, I am totally, absolutely, unashamedly, me. I am not saying that I have never been tempted to compare after, but it no longer has power over me, I can rebuke the thoughts with the Word of God. I am even now seeing how the odd parts of my personality and physique are instrumental to fulfilling my purpose!

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Breaking loose from the claws of comparison has been a rending and mending process. It’s forgetting what you have accepted about yourself and reaching for who you were created to be. It’s experiencing absolute freedom, contentment, peace and being happy in your own skin- in your own mind. Don’t you want that?

If you are struggling with comparison, it’s because you haven’t truly discovered or accepted yourself and your uniquely devised circumstances. You might also be thinking I should have been like this or that but God is too wise, too powerful, too creative to make something that is irrelevant. You matter. He saw the world and said, hmmm the world is going to need one of you. Imagine a perfect God, fully knowing us, failures and all, and yet He still has precious thoughts towards us. This is a part of the reason why this blog is called Precious Thoughts! (Psalms 139:17, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”)

If your creator has precious thoughts about you, why should you think about yourself otherwise? Spend some time to mediate on Psalm 139, let the Word convict and tear down the inferior, defeated mindset that you have about yourself. Do a study on your true identity. Tell me, have you really found you? If not, start the journey today. Our future posts will definitely address how to. Here are two songs to reflect on in your quiet time (I couldn’t decide lol), “You Say”, by Lauren Diagle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIaT8Jl2zpI and “Loving Me”, by Jonathon McReynolds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfyVeJ2OdQg .

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If you want to hear more about the details on overcoming comparison, don’t be afraid to email me at shanyesica@gmail.com so we can chat on Hangouts! All information shared will be confidential. Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to like, follow and share! Until next time, remember you are not only precious but you are loved, important and uniquely designed, embrace you!