What To Do When You’re Having an Identity Crisis – Part 2

Hope in Christ

In Part 1 of What To Do When You’re Having an Identity Crisis, I described being at my breaking point and feeling insecure as I struggled to figure out who I was.

God worked in my heart to show me that I didn’t need to have all the answers. As a child of God, my identity is rooted in who He is, not in what I do or what I like. Because I follow Christ, the insecurity knocking at my door can be defeated. Even when I’m struggling, God promises that I can cast all my anxiety on Him because he cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).

I talk about following Christ, but what does this actually mean?

To follow Christ means to first recognize our need for a Savior. The first time I realized this, I was 18 years old, and I finally understood that my sin was just as bad as everyone else’s sin (Romans 3:23). Even if we’ve only committed one sin, that sin is causing us to be separated from God because God is perfect and holy (Isaiah 59:2).

So, how do we reconnect with God after we’ve messed up? 

The answer: Jesus Christ. It isn’t about what we can do, but about what God has already done for us. God gave us Jesus as the way to Himself.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (NIV)

If we get back to God through Jesus, how do we get to Jesus in the first place? 

The ever-popular verse to quote, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

Then, Jesus goes on to say, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17 (NIV)

There is beautiful truth in these verses! Because of God’s great love for us, he gave us Jesus. He doesn’t want to condemn, but to save. God’s plan is to bring us back to himself when we’ve gone astray because being with God is the best place we can be. He is the source of life (John 1:1-4). He brings hope (Romans 8:24-25). He brings peace (Philippians 4:7). He is love! (1 John 4:8)

Jesus said that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.

But, what does it mean to believe? 

As a child and younger teenager, I thought believing in Jesus just meant believing that he was real, that he existed. I didn’t realize it meant believing that he was who he said he was. I knew he was God’s Son, which meant that Jesus was God in human form, but didn’t quite understand the significance.

Now, I know that the reason Jesus’ sacrifice of dying on the cross is enough to pay for our sins so we can be back in a relationship with God is because a perfect sacrifice was needed. Jesus, being fully man and fully God, lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21). Essentially, in order for our sins to be forgiven, God had to sacrifice Himself. He did it all because He loved us.

Believing in Jesus Christ means having faith in His Word. Believing in Christ spurs us on to abandon our old ways and turn toward a new life.

We must first recognize that we have sinned and that our sin is separating us from God. We then repent of our sin. This means we confess our sins to God through prayer, turn away from that sin, and turn toward God. We then can rejoice and thank God for Christ’s completed work on the cross on our behalf. In that, we place our hope not in ourselves but in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth for a very specific purpose because God loved each and every one of us. We then receive the Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a deposit that guarantees our inheritance in Heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Each person’s journey toward understanding the truth of what it means to follow Christ is different. Some of my friends understood their need for a savior at four years old, but others were grown adults with kids by the time they met the Lord. Wherever you are at, whether you know the Lord or not, please remember that God loves you and desires a relationship with you.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)

Seek the Lord and He will show up.

Even if you’ve already had a point where you placed your hope in Christ and began to follow Him, remembering the truth of the Gospel and what it means to follow Christ will help you remember that your identity is in Christ. If you are a follower of Christ, you don’t need to look any further for affirmation of who you are. The only affirmation you need, you already have.

My prayer in writing these two posts on identity is that you will remember that even when life gets hard, you can never truly lose yourself when you have Jesus in your life. I have struggled to remember my identity, but even through it all, God was still with me, trying to draw me back to Himself.

I pray that if you are in the midst of your own identity crisis that you will find the answers you need. If you ever need someone to talk with, please contact me. I would love to walk this out with you!

Thank you for reading.

What to Do When You’re Having an Identity Crisis – Part 1

Identity in Christ

I remember the day fairly clearly despite the fact that I had been living in a continual state of fog for months.

“I don’t even know who I am anymore,” I said as I moved a stack of posters and made myself comfortable in the chair across from my coworker’s desk.

I had gone to her office for a quick work-related question, but then lingered. I was standing there chatting before deciding that if I was going to be there awhile, I had better take a seat before my legs gave out. I was at a breaking point and longed for someone to understand what I was going through.

My sweet coworker listened and responded in all the right places as I shared pieces of what had been transpiring in my life in the months prior.

I went on to share that I couldn’t figure myself out. No longer was I interested in the things I had liked. While I thought I was extroverted, I was experiencing strange social anxiety to the point where striking up a conversation at a public event where I knew most of the people was too intimidating.

I didn’t want to go anywhere. When I wasn’t at work, I preferred to be at home on my couch. But, I needed – absolutely needed – Jonathan by my side.

This wasn’t like me. I didn’t understand it. Why was I always in pain? Why was I cold and tired all the time? Why did I feel like a zombie? When did I become so clingy? These questions stirred in my mind as I became sadder about my current life situation.

The changes didn’t happen overnight, which is why I initially had a hard time pinpointing the source of the problem. The insecure feelings and personality changes were gradual as the disease I am now fighting was beginning to take over my life one step at time.

Living with undiagnosed Lyme Disease and co-infections felt like everything I had ever known was being ripped to shreds. If this was the way my life would have continued, I’m not so sure I would have chosen to continue my life.

But, there’s hope in the story…so stay with me…

God was working in my heart even when I was having a hard time going to Him in prayer.

One of the next times I spoke with my coworker, I remember sharing how I was still struggling with understanding my preferences and why my feelings often contradicted everything I thought I knew about myself. Only, this time, I was able to recall the truth about who I actually was – and still am today.

Even though I wasn’t as familiar with my preferences and personality quirks, I still knew who I was. The “who” about me is something that is never going to change. That’s because my identity lies not in what I do or what I like, but in who I am.

Who I am is a daughter of God. My identity lies in Christ because he chose me and redeemed me (John 1:12, Ephesians 1:5).

The same is true for every Christ follower.

It’s easy to get discouraged and be confused when the world around us is throwing out ideas about who we should be our could be. Stopping to re-evaluate and remember what it means to find your identity in Christ will not only halt the anxiety surrounding your identity, but it will give you a renewed sense of purpose. Knowing who you are – who you truly are – is a game-changer.

{Continued in Part 2 – We’ll dive into what it means to be a follower of Christ and how placing our hope in Christ will spur us on to be who we were created to be!} 

When Today Just Doesn’t Go Your Way

Lyme Disease

Some days I wake up and I literally cannot get up.

My body won’t let me.

My legs feel heavy with a tingly sensation as if they’ve just fallen asleep after I’ve been seated for a while. My hands are tingly as well, but there’s more pain, like pins and needles.

I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus.

I roll over and want to get up. But, I just can’t. Shooting pain moves up my arms and into my chest.

Frustration builds before I intentionally stop my racing mind.

I’ll be okay, I think. This is just temporary. Let yourself rest. 

Depending on where I’m supposed to be that day, I may shoot off a text to inform those I was supposed to be with that I can no longer keep our plans. I’m canceling again. Guilt may begin to surface, but I quickly remind myself that I’m healing and others will understand…at least I hope. I’m doing everything I can.

Next, I might pray.

This season has left me rather dry. I often have no words. Just a simple, help me! or sometimes a why? is all that may come out in my prayers.

When I’m better rested, the words are there as I pour out my feelings about the inner anguish. God already knows, though. He knows it all. He understands.

God has a bigger plan – I must remind myself.

This is just a glimpse of my life with Lyme Disease.

I’m pretty sick right now and it’s difficult.

Thankfully, since starting treatment, I have seen some progress. My memory has improved. The brain fog is less severe. Headaches have decreased. Anxiety isn’t as big of a problem. Those changes help give me hope. I see the possibility that one day I may feel normal again and the idea of that makes me abundantly happy!

But, still, I struggle.

Each day presents itself with its own set of challenges. That’s normal. We all have challenges in our lives, whether we’re battling chronic illness or not.

Yet, the hurdles I must clear sometimes leave me hitting the post with my back leg and tumbling to the ground, wondering if I’ll ever be able to get back up again. Will I ever run my race in the same way?

I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same again, and in a lot of ways I’m thankful for that. I may regain my health, but the journey I am on will have shaped me into a different version of myself. Right now, my prayer is that the changes I experience will bring out better, truer parts of me.

When my day doesn’t go the way I expect it to go, I have two choices. I can become bitter or I can surrender and allow the day to be rerouted.

In this season, I must do my best with the circumstances at hand. I have learned that becoming angry doesn’t change anything and that surrendering doesn’t mean I’m failing or that I’m lazy. It just means that sometimes what I thought was best really wasn’t what I needed at the time.

I am reminded of how easy it is for us as humans to think we have everything figured out. We put so much stock into our actions and desires, but those things fail. We will make mistakes. We will not be good enough. Only God can meet our needs and fulfill us in the way we are so desperately longing for.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

-Psalm 73:26

I am remembering this Psalm tonight as, once again, my plans were thwarted. But you know, I think right here writing this post is exactly where God wanted me to be.

When You’re Not Okay…

When you're not okay

I am convinced that we as a society put too much pressure on ourselves and each other. There are unspoken rules surrounding expectations, with hidden pressures waiting to pounce as soon as your guard is lowered. Sometimes those expectations come from others, but more often I have found that the expectations I place on myself are the ones leaving me discouraged.

I want to have it all together. I want to do well at work and have meaningful relationships with friends and family. Being active in church, exercising, eating well and sleeping enough are also high on my priority list. I want to have a daily quiet time with God, where I get to meet Him and pour out my heart, while listening for His voice. Sometime, I want to get better at this writing thing and actually blog regularly. There’s also a book I’ve been writing, but haven’t made progress in weeks, maybe months.

Striving is where you often find me. Pushing. Tackling. Aiming. Working. Wanting. and. Struggling. With the strive is the struggle. And, honestly, I hate it.

I can’t stand the way I constantly try to fix things – to fix myself. To fix the people I love because I think I’ll be happier that way. It’s pretty selfish, I know.

The past couple of months, maybe longer (I’m really not sure how long) I have been dealing with some health issues that I didn’t realize were present until recently. I kept thinking there was just something wrong with me that was my fault, like I had failed to eat healthy enough or get enough sleep. I kept trying to control the emotions the health issues caused and was constantly angry with myself for not being able to keep it together.

I’ve realized that I put too much unnecessary pressure on myself and I cannot live that way anymore.

I am currently in a place where I’m not okay… but it’s fine. It’s actually an okay thing to not be okay right now.

There’s a big part of me that wants to research and make lists and “get my life in order.” However, there’s another part that knows I just need to rest. Right now, I am a little weaker than normal. I could benefit from ceasing the striving and letting myself live – walking step by step, trusting that God is good and all will be well.

It is well with my soul

The other day, I was panicking a little to keep up with everything on my plate because I was at a place of sheer exhaustion. I had some work-related meetings that made me nervous because I was afraid I wasn’t going to be “on.” My boyfriend Jonathan so lovingly pulled me back to reality when he asked, “Who do you need to impress?” That question stopped me in my tracks. The answer was nobody. Yes, I want to do well at work, but I didn’t have anything I needed to prove in this particular circumstance.

I think I need to remember that question as I keep walking through life.

There are times when performance matters. The outcome of one’s work determines the next job they may be offered or the way they’ll be able to live in the future. It’s a good testimony to work hard, but our actions and doing – the striving – should not be what defines us.

I can get caught up in feeling like what I do is a value of my worth. It’s not.

I’m remembering Psalm 139:13-14 right now…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

God created me and not only that, but He loves me. [& in case you didn’t know this: The same is true for you.] He created me with purpose, knowing the mistakes I would make, knowing that ways I would disappoint, knowing that I’d have this problem with striving… but He loves me and calls me His daughter even in spite of my personal failings.

What I love about the Gospel is that God offers hope in the form of His Son Jesus. He offers Jesus to us as a sacrifice for our sins not because of what we have done to prove ourselves but because of who He is. God is love. Out of that love, he forgives our sins. We place our trust in Christ and we are washed clean. We are redeemed when we take hold of the love that God poured out to us through Jesus. And it’s not because of anything we could ever do to earn that redemption! How amazing!

1 John 4:9-10 ~ This is who God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

So, I sit here today remembering that I don’t need to strive. While I am not personally okay right now, things will be okay because my hope is in something far greater than this world. I can rest in and walk in truth that, (in the words of Pastor Wood), “God loves me, and it’s going to be okay.”

7 Mistakes I Made in Dating

7 Things I Did Wrong in Dating

[Photo by the talented David Chesling Photography]

Jonathan and I haven’t had the easiest relationship.
…and that would also be a bit of an understatement.

Those who know my heart know how much I adore him and am proud to call Jonathan my boyfriend. I love him more than I ever imagined I could love. Yet, throughout our relationship I have had a roller coaster of emotions, making me question again and again whether it was all worth it. The answer to that question has relentlessly been “YES,” even amidst the trials we have endured as a couple.

When you bring two people from two different backgrounds with two very different schedules together, conflict will arise. It’s bound to happen, but how you deal with that conflict will either make or break the relationship.

These two years of dating have taught me more than I ever could have imagined. Without ever having a real long term relationship, I thought I knew what it took to make it work. I had watched many of my friends date and I figured that if I found a good Christian guy it would go smoothly. After all, he should know how to lead and would be intentional with everything.  That’s the way he should be if he wants to glorify God, right?

I didn’t stop to think that maybe the way he saw life was just different than the way I saw it, even if we followed the same God and both wanted nothing more than to make Christ known.  I never realized how much personality differences would either help or hinder our connection depending on how we responded to one another. A few thoughtless words here or a lack of communication there could turn our seemingly smooth sailing relationship on a downward spiral out of control.

Over and over, we didn’t know why we kept getting into the same arguments. We had the same goal, but different ways of going about it. This caused us to keep turning against instead of toward each other.

Now that we’ve started to figure things out a little better, we actually seem to be moving forward in the right direction. It’s a huge victory that has further shown us God’s grace. We know, though, that conflicts will again creep into our life together but we need to be prepared and equipped. We need to stop fighting against and start fighting for each other.

I know that there is a lot each of us could have done differently from the start that would have made a difference. We have learned a lot.


Here are the 7 Mistakes I Made in Dating:

1. Assuming we had the same expectations with dating

As you may have read in a prior post, the beginning of our relationship occurred when I was in China. Jonathan and I had developed a friendship over the months leading up to my return to China, but he didn’t tell me how he felt until I was halfway across the world. I, of course, was thoroughly excited because I had been falling for him, too! We did a lot of communication about deeper topics while I was abroad, so when I got back from China, we had major ground to cover with just relating to each other in person.

I had assumed we’d jump into spending a good amount of time going on dates, studying the Word together, meeting up with each of our families, and spending time with friends. I figured we would do a lot together as a team.

It took longer for us to shift to working together because I got back without having a set schedule when he already had a way of doing life in a routine that had been working for him. I should not have expected he’d see our season of dating the same way. We really should have better discussed our expectations from the start.

2. Seeing every argument as a place to practice my debate skills

I like to assert my opinion…about EVERYTHING. I do believe I have gotten better about this, but it still remains one of my downfalls. Debating has always been an area in which I was skilled. I find it fun to push my point and give reasons for why it is the logical choice. However, Jonathan’s personality type shies away from such controversy. Even if he doesn’t agree with something, he doesn’t feel same the burning urge I feel to explain an opposing viewpoint.

My natural compulsion to debate has been a point of contention for us. I have had to stop myself from numbering my points as we were discussing areas of concern in our relationship. It’s bad when I almost say, “secondly” before I make my next point…eek… our relationship is not a mock trial competition or a debate tournament.

3. Not fully listening

As I explained in my previous point, the way I share my thoughts can sometimes come across as combative. Perhaps, an even bigger issue here is not that I debated too hard, but that I only listened so that I could respond. I did not seek to understand through truly listening. Had I slowed down to listen before coming back with a response, I may have heard Jonathan and his heart. I may have been able to connect with him instead of push him.

About a month ago, we had a great discussion after a rough few days of doubt about our relationship. I think it was the first time where we really just listened to each other. I pushed aside my need to be right and listened to each of his points, then asked if I could respond, which I did in a more loving manner than usual.

I have learned that to truly connect, listening should be done for understanding, not for responding.

4. Expecting our love languages to be the same

 As someone who feels deeply, the feelings of love I have are quite strong. I want to pour that love out in many different ways, and because I give it, I also expect to receive it. That’s not always how it works, though. Even if Jonathan loves me as much as I love him, the ways he shows it may be completely different than my ways.

For example, I love words. Words are invigorating to me. They give me life and hope. I can cling to words. So, words of affirmation completely make my day.  Jonathan may appreciate words, but they don’t do the same for him. This is why if I pour out five text messages worth of prose detailing why I love him and adore him, he can reply back with a more simple, “I’m thankful for you, too, babe. I love you.”

Jonathan in no way means to be unloving, but there have been times where I took his responses as a lack of commitment from him. On the contrary, when he has written me letters, I about die of happiness because it’s so beautiful to me to see his feelings poured out on a page. Those letters get read over and over again.

I have to remind myself that just because love is shown in a different way does not mean it is not there.

5. Not respecting him

I never realized how important respect is to a relationship until we studied the book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs in our couples’ Sunday School class. I knew that I had needs that weren’t being met, but I was not as in tune with how my lack of respect for him was perpetuating the cycle of discontentment in our relationship.

Something I failed to recognize was that respect meant trust. If I wanted Jonathan to lead our relationship by pursuing me, I had to trust him to do it. As an assertive person, I don’t do well with waiting; I often try to take matters into my own hands. My inability to trust him was showing him a lack of respect.

I also learned that respect is heard differently by different people. In Love and Respect, Dr. Eggerichs suggests telling your husband (in my case, boyfriend) that you respect them. As I already explained in number 4, Jonathan doesn’t get jazzed up about words. Telling him I respect him is not nearly as powerful as showing him I respect him.

6. Trying to fix our relationship with a 10-step program

I have to admit that as an avid reader (lover of words right here!), I enjoy any sort of blog post, book or social media post that gives relationship tips. There have been times where I read an article and then sent a link to Jonathan saying, “Read this.” Because the article helped me, I just assumed he’d think it was great and have the same response. I later learned that every time I did that, he’d get annoyed.

It wasn’t that taking those ideas and implementing them was bad, but my delivery in trying to force them upon him wasn’t beneficial. My mind works in plans, systems and schedules. Those things get me excited because I see potential to be more effective in what I’m doing. Too much of that causes stress for him. We’re just wired differently and I have to remember that.

7. Talking about our problems more than praying about them

This is by far the most convicting one, which is why I saved it for last. If you don’t take anything from this post but this, remember that prayer works and God desires for us to unload our burdens on Him!

Psalm 55:22 says, Cast your burden on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (ESV)

I should have gone to the Lord first, but many times I went to friends and family members. It really upsets me that I did this. I know that I like to talk and my mouth can get me into trouble. I have seen what damage it can do.

Before I dated Jonathan, I had told myself I would never speak poorly of my husband to others. I wanted to only speak words of life. While Jonathan is not yet my husband, I still let myself speak ill of the man who could one day be my husband.

Going to a trusted friend can be beneficial if one is seeking advice, but I know that there were times I was just going to complain. The words from my mouth did not do anything to build Jonathan up. In fact, the more I spoke, the more I began to believe lies and get bitter. I put myself into a deeper place of despair because I ran my mouth.

That wraps up 7 of the mistakes I made in dating! I have learned a lot and still continue to grow each day. I hope to share more about how faith and life here in the present intersect. I’m honored that God keeps molding me and shaping me. The coolest thing is that He’s doing the same thing for you if you are a believer in Christ! If you have any questions or want to know more about what it means to walk with God, send me a message HERE!

Now, I want to hear from you!

What have you learned through the dating process? Do you have any wisdom to impart on us? Leave a comment below!