Things aren’t always rah-rah, happy-clappy, go-go-go! I never want to pretend that they are.
So, I’m not going to lie, this week has been one giant ugh.
I was sick for most of the past week, and I still kind of feel like garbage. It’s not like this is unusual. For those of you who don’t know, I have the immune system of a potato, so I get sick A LOT (yay).
In addition, I also found myself overwhelmed and anxious about anything and everything this week.
The sickness coupled with the anxiousness left me exhausted, both mentally and physically. I think that it was because of my fatigued state that I started to feel “ just not good enough”.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the energy to change that mindset, so I just let it hang around. As a result I felt as though I was having a mini-idenity-crisis. I’m talking switching back-and-forth between worship music and Cardi-B kind of crisis.
Have you ever just been like “who am I, what am I doing, and where am I going!?” Because, that’s what kind week this was for me.
In my mini search for my identity, I began to repetitively measure my worth through my actions, my achievements, in the tasks I completed, and even in Instagram “likes”. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could find myself in those things. I had some vague expectation of where I should be at, and when I didn’t feel as though I reached that expectation, I felt my value was decreasing.
That nagging feeling of worthlessness would not leave-me-be no matter how hard I tried. When that feeling of worthlessness reared it’s ugly head, anxiety was quick to follow.
“I will NEVER be enough,” echoed on repeat from some dark region of my brain.
My motivation shrivelled up and died because I felt fake, worthless, and annoying.
You guys, I knew these things weren’t true, but I couldn’t quite shake it. Those feelings haunted me throughout the week, overcoming me when I least expected it.
The more that I felt this way, the more that I turned to achievements and Instagram to try and find my value and sense of worth again.
BIG mistake, obviously.
The more I turned to these things in search of my value, the more I lost myself, the more confused I felt, and the more overwhelmed I became!
I know that my value isn’t in these things, but for some reason I still tried to search for it there.
Honestly, I don’t think that I was even consciously aware that I was searching for my value in places that were so material and unsubstantial. Once I took the weekend off of Instagram, I had time to pause and reflect, and I realized what it was that I was doing.
It really hit me that it is just so easy to get exhausted, anxious, and beat-up when we find our value in achievements, productivity, Instagram likes, and in the opinions of people. These things can only sustain us for so long until we are soon chasing the next thing to reinforce that sense of value again. We can easily get separated from ourselves.
It is beyond easy to not even realize how much we are searching for our value in unsubstantial things until we take a break to step back and refocus.
This is not the first time, and will probably not be the last time, that I try to find my worth in things like achievements.
I used to put my worth in how well I did in rugby, how fit I was, how many friends I had, and what kind of material possessions I owned.
You know what? None of those things EVER, ever, ever, fulfilled me fully. I was always chasing and comparing. I chased one achievement to the next to fill me up and satisfy me again. I competed and compared myself to others tirelessly critiquing myself, or them.
It is exhausting and so unhealthy, yet so easy to get caught up in.
My identity and my value is not, and should not be, based in anything other than Christ. Everything else is temporary and fades quickly. I have to remind myself of this constantly throughout the day.
You and me are living and breathing humans created by a God who makes no mistakes.
We are worthy and valuable simply because we are.
My strength, my identity, and my worth are not found in fading things. If I do try to find my strength, identity, or worth in fading things, then soon they will also fade. I will not be able to make it through anything with an identity that is so fragile.
For some reason I felt drawn to read Psalms this week, and I found so much comfort and healthy reminders that God is the one we need to keep our eyes focused on. David (the writer of Psalms), went through a lot of extremely difficult circumstances throughout his life, and yet his faith in God remained incredibly strong.
Psalm 121:1-2 became my mantra: “I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth”.
I can lift my eyes to all sorts of things, but my strength does not come from those things, and my identity is not found in those things. I need to take my eyes off of those things and refocus. My strength comes from the one who is bigger and more eternal than everything, even mountains. My strength comes from the Lord.
I will fade in the blink of an eye if I continue to search for my identity and strength in things that don’t matter.
If you feel anxious, worthless, confused, and if you are having an identity crisis: pause, step back, and remind yourself that you are valuable because you are you.
It sounds so simple, but it’s true.