I am who I AM

Sunday, July 01, 2007 / Comments (0) / by elizabeth

I always believed that the older I got the easier it would become to define myself. Since I was never quite certain, I thought it would be a good idea to identify “Elizabeth” with the people around me and the activities in which I was involved. I was a cheerleader in high school so I clung to that image for a few years. I was in a sorority in college so I wore my shirts every chance I got to remind everyone how cool and accepted I was. The problem with this life philosophy is that I had to constantly re-invent myself, or so I imagined, in order to keep people interested. I always suffered from a sort of identity crisis between who I thought I was and who I thought everyone around me wanted me to be. I had the qualities of a chameleon, changing my style, my speech, my opinions, and even my hair depending on my surroundings.
I thought figuring myself out would eventually become an uncomplicated process after reaching certain high points in my life. In high school I believed I would learn “me” in college. My college life was so busy and hectic I assumed I would finally get it together when I graduated. I thought that maybe if I moved away from home and started over in a new place then I would finally have a chance to truly know myself. After I graduated I moved to China - as far away from home as possible, all the while hoping that I would finally figure myself out. I essentially spent five months in solitude while God revealed issues I didn’t even know I had. However, when God is encountered in a huge way it’s easy get lost in the experience. I returned to the States still not quite sure about anything, especially myself. I hid within in the false gods of legalism and rules and discounted everything I knew about love and hope and grace.
A little over a year later I moved to New York City, the city that allows and encourages individuality. If you don’t know who you are, you can attempt define yourself in millions of different ways. It doesn’t take much effort to get lost here - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. New York offers many places to hide. In my case, I hid in my room for 6 months. I was weighed down with the burdens of sin and disobedience and fear. I knew God called me here, wanted me here, had plans for me here that were beyond my own dreams, but I had been stripped of all that I knew, of my heart. And stripped of everyone and everything I allowed to define me. I was stripped of my “identity.”
One day I got lost in this immense city. Really and truly lost. It’s easy to do here, with all the metal and glass and laundromats and Starbucks…it all begins to look the same. After walking for what seemed an eternity, my surroundings started to look familiar. The longer I live here the smaller the island of 8 million people becomes. And it’s only when I can’t find my way out that I realized my Way out was there all along. It was then I finally grasped that not knowing myself is a beautiful thing. It is only when I am lost that I am truly found. And in losing myself I found something greater – that my identity is not mine. It is not defined by me. My life is not my own.
Moses dealt with the same thing. God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt but he was so insecure that he questioned his calling, his abilities, and, in turn, doubted God. And even when God said He would be with him, Moses asked who he should tell sent him. With that, God simply answered that Moses should tell them “I AM” sent him. Am is the present tense of the verb to be. Therefore, God told Moses that he is, he was, and always will be. In other words, I don’t have to be anyone or anything, because HE IS.
In the Bible it says that I must become less so He can become more. I’m not really looking for myself anymore…sure, insecurity is still a struggle, but more and more I’m looking toward Jesus. He created me in His image and I am His child. The more I know Him, the more I seek His face, the more I know me because HE IS is defining me. And He is enough.