I’ve always been a definitive person: self - aware, decisive, knowledgeable. I can’t remember a time where I’ve had to face the ambiguity of my character. I have always known who I am. A sister, daughter, friend, cousin, student. I hate winter. I love coffee. I love the color yellow. I’m afraid of escalators.
I like tangible results, anything I can put a label on and used to classify and categorize. I find generalizations helpful. I’ve never really understood the gray area. If I can define and explain myself, I can control who I am and how I present myself. It’s easy.
One of he most frightening things about growing closer to God is learning that my definition of self has no merit. The labels I used to put on myself, my likes and dislikes, my character traits, hobbies, personality, and identities are absolutely meaningless in the heavenly realm. As my intimacy and connection with God has astronomically increased within the past few months, I have been finding it harder and harder to hold onto who I thought I was and what the world has defined me as.
As you can imagine, for someone who’s a self-proclaimed know-it-all about themselves, this has ensued a lot of panic. Where I used to take a personality test and get the same, cookie-cutter results every time, I began to get drastically different answers every single time. Through tears and frustration I’ve been asking, no, begging God to restore the labels. To put the yoke of these old labels and traits back on. Some of them weren’t necessarily what I wanted them to be…
Bitter. Prideful. Stubborn. Angry. Hurt. Broken. Anxious. Meaningless. Undesirable. Bossy. Weak. Longing. Unforgiving. Sensitive. Insecure. Ashamed. Unworthy.
But they were familiar and known.
Through God’s relentless love, restoration, and transformation, the labels that I used to use to describe myself just aren’t as accurate anymore. I am getting to witness Him slowly unravel who I thought I was - who I had identified as my whole life. Almost like a giant ball of yarn.
This has left me with nothing…yet. Now, as discouraging as that sounds, the cool thing about nothing is that it leaves space for something. As I allow God to unravel the strings of my heart, my character, there is space for Him to redefine and restore who I am based on the solid truth that is His word. His definition, not mine. If I continue to hold aspects of myself loosely and make room for Him to work, there is transformation, restoration, and a new sense of self that is Christ-centered.
What I initially thought was losing my sense of self was really the Lord graciously breaking the binds and strongholds that had entrapped me for years, making me inflexible to change. Some of those labels were good, some were bad. Very few were rooted in biblical truth.
Although this transformation has been pretty involuntary, it goes to show how good and gracious the Lord is. Not only is He loving and patient enough to recognize my need for a new definition, He does it without me even having to ask. He cares for me through the stretching and growing as I am, string by string, knit into the person He created me to be.
What used to be a tightly wound ball of yarn is now an unraveled mess, picked a part by the Father.
In the midst of this season of redefinition, of reclamation, I am reminded of this song by Micah Tyler:
“I don't need to recognize
The man in the mirror
And I don't wanna trade Your plan
For something familiar
I can't waste a day
I can't stay the same
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
Till all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there's something different
So come and be different
As I move forward in this season, it is my goal, day by day, to become more and more unrecognizable. To be less and less of me and more and more of Him. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who I’ll be. But I know the One who does and I’ll continue to rest in that.