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God is part of who you are...even when you're feeling lost.

“I was people I hated and people I admired. I was exciting and boring and infinitely sad. I was both on the right and wrong side of [things]...I had, in short, lost myself”

This is not a quote from the Bible or a religious text, it is not inspiration from my own mind, it is a quote from a book I’m reading. And as I read this I realised that feelings of being lost and unsure of who I am (feelings I have been experiencing lately) are not unique to me. The author of this book understands what it’s like to not know who they are, to dislike some of the things they have done and to be confused by what that makes them - he feels it so strongly that he wrote a character who also has this experience. I have also had this feeling, and thought there was something wrong because of this confusion. I read these words and immediately related and I thought perhaps others would too. In the Bible, in Romans 15, Paul writes “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”. He knew what it was to love parts of himself and hate other parts, he knew what the conflict of trying to know who you are is. So I thought, since this resonates with me, and the author of my book, and Paul the apostle, maybe others are going through this too, and maybe it would be helpful for me to discuss this...

In life we are given opportunities to be many things, sometimes we choose to be happy and optimistic and positive, other times we sway towards brooding and serious. We choose our actions and our words, sometimes these are of kindness and love, other times they are of hate and cruelty. As we grow and age, we’ve all made a combination of these choices and others, and the older we are the more we will have made. I am 21 years old, I’ve made a lot of choices but I have far more ahead of me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the choices I have made, so many I am proud of, they lead to positive outcomes for myself and the people I love and for strangers as well sometimes. Others I have made and I am disappointed in myself, ashamed or sad by the affect they had on myself, the people I love and strangers too. I am a combination of all these choices, of all these things I have been. And recently, knowing that has left me feeling a little bit lost. If I am happy most of the time, but also have times of sadness, which am I? If I am a good person often, but act selfishly sometimes, which am I? If I help people regularly, but hurt people through some of my actions and words, which am I?

I know that I don’t have to be just one thing, and I know that to choose to be one thing would make me awfully dull and annoying. But these descriptions and these choices help anchor me to who I am, to the definition of me - and when they conflict each other as they often do, I feel ungrounded, and inexplicably ‘not myself’.

I’ve been struggling with this quite a bit lately, and I’m coming to realise something valuable that I feel I should share.

Though I make choices in life that conflict with each other, and I act in a variety of ways, and I feel lost and unsure of who I am. I can find comfort in one thing - even when I don’t know who I am, I am a child of God and He loves me. Unconditional love is such a huge thing and it’s often so hard for us to fathom that we lose sight of it. But no matter whether I made the good choices or the bad, whether I like my actions or dislike my words, whether I feel proud of myself or disappointed, whether I feel lost and untethered...He loves me and accepts me and knows me, and chooses me.

So along this journey, this path of life, when I don’t know what defines me, when I lose sight of who I am or who I have become, when I am 100 things at once but at the same time and equally feel I’m none of them. I take solace and comfort in the knowledge that God knows who I am and He loves every part of the tangled up mess of qualities that may or may not define me. In fact, even before I was any of these things, when I was nothing more than a seed in my mum’s tummy he knew what I was and what I would be and what I would do and he loved me (Jeremiah 1:5).

As unnerving and scary and upsetting as it sometimes feels to be lost and unknown to yourself, I can find peace thinking of Him and spending time with Him and knowing that whatever I am, whoever I may be, I am loved by the creator of the Earth. I am loved by the greatest being to ever exist. I am loved by the all knowledgeable, all powerful deity who has the capacity to love every person there ever has and ever will be.

And I think to myself, in this moment where confusion was only a few minutes ago very prominent, that I’m going to be okay. Because whatever I am, whatever I become and whatever I do, my God who knows all of me, loves me unconditionally. He knows it all, and He loves me. He knows how messy and tangled that combination of choices that make me up have become and He loves me. He knows that the good in me doesn’t always win over the bad and He loves me. He knows I fall short and hurt the people I love and He loves me. He knows that I selfishly put myself before strangers when I have the option to do the opposite and He loves me.

So though I may not have a clue who I am right now, and though I may feel lost and confused by the choices I have made and what they mean...God knows who I am, and He considers that person to be worthy of love. And if God can love me, fully knowing and understanding all my good qualities and all my flaws - then I think maybe it doesn’t matter that I’m not completely sure who I am or who I have become or who I will be. Because if I focus on Him and go where he guides me and do the best that I am capable of, then I can know that whatever I am, part of that is Him. And if God is part of my identity, I’m doing just fine.

If the verse from my book resonated with you, or if you can relate to Paul, or if you understand my feelings. I hope you can find comfort in what I have said here because it is true for you! No matter how confusing life may be or how much you might dislike some of the choices you’ve made or how lost you may feel...God loves you, being His child is part of who you are, and you’re going to be just fine.

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