Stepping Boldly

i am twenty years old and i have lived in three different cities and two states. i have really long, really curly hair and i think my eyes are hazel. i wear a lot of black but i am learning that i like wearing dark red colors too. i have a lavender bike and i love silence and reading and writing and traveling. There are a lot of things that define me, a lot of things that i just wrote could easily shape the way that people think of me and even the way that i think of myself. If i have learned anything in my short amount of time on earth it is that we are always growing and changing and seasons are always ending and starting and very few things in life are permanent.

i don't think i really figured myself out until my sophomore year of college. It took a lot of counseling and self evaluation and hard questions, but at the end of it i loved myself and started to become proud of who i am. i am learning to love my hair and my body and my sometimes-too-loud laugh. i am learning to make the choice to love myself everyday because i am learning to accept the gift of my unfading identity in Christ. 

Last week i had a really bad day and i felt terrible, both physically and emotionally. It's been a really full week and in the midst of all i had to do, i forgot to take care of my very introverted self and i got overwhelmed and felt anxious to my bones. My brain became clouded and i lost track of who my Creator says that i am. i lost track of the fact that my thoughts and feelings do not dictate my identity. i allowed the rush of exhaustion and emotions to sway my brain and i began to believe lies. Frankly, it sucked.

i am living in a cool community with incredible people and parents who are often unreal. i didn't grow up in a Christian home, so living in one at twenty is more of a gift than i could have ever dreamed of. Because living in community is messy and hard sometimes, my rock-bottom mood was noticed and addressed. My house-dad loved me well and said good and hard things and sternly reminded me that the liar has no place in my brain. When we finished talking, i left the house and prayed a lot and then i remembered that i had a choice to make. 

Here are the words straight from my journal, because i believe honesty and vulnerability are important parts of life.

"Help me, Father
i am coming before you now simply pleading that you redefine the way that my brain is looking at the world. Jesus, i need you to do this for me. i am not defined by what i feel. i am defined by the Spirit that lives in me.
i am choosing truth.
i am choosing to boldly step into the things that are hard to believe about myself.
i am a daughter of God, chosen by the King of kings to be an heir to His throne. i am adopted. i am victorious. i am just as i am supposed to be today. 
My brain is not a playground for the enemy, but a workroom for the Father.
i belong to God. My brain belongs to God. 
You told us in Eden that we get to choose if sin rules over us.
Today i choose victory.
i am a daughter of God."

i will openly admit that it is easier for me to believe bad things about myself than it is for me to accept a compliment. i could list a million things that i see wrong with myself and i could tell you a lot of titles that i deserve before, "child of God." i am more comfortable in the slum that is made of lies than i am in truth.

i walked away from praying feeling lighter and confident. i woke up the next day remembering who my God says that i am. i may not have felt worthy or beloved or righteous or beautiful. i may have thought my hair was too big or my glasses look silly, but i believed that i am wonderful just as i am. i made the choice to step boldly into who i was Created to be. 

i do not know what lies you are believing, but know that a lie is nothing more than a lie. Truth is complex and beautiful and full, but a lie is nothing more than its name. When we choose to believe lies, we are not allowing ourselves to be who God created us to be.  We were made to embrace the abundant life and the One who gave it to us. 

We are not static characters and our stories are not done being written. We are made in the image of that One who created the whole universe, which is something to get excited about. If we are made in the likeness of such a diverse God, we should be learning new things about ourselves everyday (today i learned that i feel closer to God when i'm creating things). My identity is not in what the world says, what i think, what i feel, or even how i act. The most true thing about myself has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Jesus. We do not have time to believe the crap that swims through our heads. 

i want to invite you to counter the dark thoughts, to challenge the rock-bottom feelings, and to embrace truth. We do not have to let the lies touch us. We get to choose to do the hard thing and to give the lies a middle-finger and bravely believe truth. No part of the world is going to tell us that the truth is right, but no part of the world is eternal.

i may not always love the color black or reading and one day my lavender bike will break. My hair will probably never calm down but maybe sometime i will decide to get contacts. These things about me are important, but they do not define me and neither do the lies. 

Today is new. It has never been lived before. It is an opportunity for redemption and laughter. Today can be the day that you allow truth to reign victorious in your life and then you can make that choice again tomorrow. 

Friend, you are a child of God. You have been chosen. Your God is crazy about you and He loves you more than words express. His love never fails and it does not have time for lies. Let's boldly choose to be brave together. Let's believe the truth and step forward into the love and light of our Maker. Life will be sweeter if we do.