Have you ever wondered, ‘Who am I?’ ‘Does life have any meaning?’ and ‘What is the purpose of my life?’
When we don’t know our identity and the answers to these questions, we don’t ‘live,’ we just drift along life’s journey, pushed by one current or another. What others say becomes very important for us. We hang on to every word they say, yearn for their acceptance and appreciation… but even when we hear some words of appreciation, we feel hollow inside. Is that how you feel?
The journey to discovering ‘self’ is tough
I’ve been there, done that. I spent years longing for acceptance and love. I just had no ‘self-concept’ though I did well in certain things while growing up. Others would have thought I was very confident as I won prizes and seemed to do well in studies and extra-curricular activities. But inside I felt empty, invisible and unwanted.
While growing up we base our self-value on how much love is shown to us. A child who is doted on by his or her parents will feel very confident, important and loved whereas a child who is rejected by members in the family will tend to feel useless, lost and unloved.
The truth is that whether others love you or not doesn’t say anything about you. It actually speaks about them and their hearts. But unfortunately, that is not how the unloved ones feel… they take the lack of love to mean that they are not worthy of being loved, that they are somehow defective pieces, not on par with others.
Feeling unloved leads to self-hatred
Not being loved leads a lot of people to think their lives don’t matter. They turn against themselves and do acts of self-harm or behave in detrimental and self-destructive ways. Many people, when confronted about such behavior will turn around and say, ‘I don’t care!’
It is true, if they really cared, they would have thought about what they were doing and avoided doing those things that would hurt themselves, their reputation, their bodies, their health, and even their soul. On the contrary, those who have a positive self-image usually care for themselves.
We tend to attribute the things that happen to us to God. If bad things happen, some people would think ‘God is bad! He doesn’t love me!’ or ‘I am so worthless even God doesn’t love me! Everyone else has a better life, my life sucks!’ Thus we distance ourselves from God and go deeper into a hole.
The truth is that God loves each of His children. He would never tell a parent to ill-treat his or her child. He is a God of love, it hurts Him to see His children suffer. It hurts Him when parents abandon their child, neglect or are indifferent to their children.
He is the ultimate parent and He cares for each of His children.
How much does God care for you?
Psalm 139:13-18 speaks about how much we mean to God. It says, “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. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.” NIV
When I was going through the worst time in my life, I discovered God’s great love for me in Isaiah 43:1-4. It says, “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.” NIV
Lessons I have learned from hardship
I learned through those years of difficulty that the God of Israel is a God who keeps His word. He was with me in those years when it felt like I was in the fire or drowning without anyone to help me those times of adversity. He won me over with His love.
Ever since I gave my heart to Him, I have found that His love has only increased and His faithfulness is something I am sure of, more sure than I can ever be of myself.
In Psalm 91:14-16, it says, “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” NIV
Are you struggling to know who you are? Are you wondering whether you have any worth or value as a person?
Have you been rejected by the people you loved – by your family or friends? Have you suffered heartbreak after heartbreak and reached a point where you feel you just cannot go on?
Call out to God and He will answer
In Psalm 120:1 David said, “In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He answered me.” NIV
Call out to God, the One who created you, and He will answer you. He is a witness of everything you have been through, He doesn’t need proof or anyone to testify about what happened to you. He is waiting for you to turn to Him so He can make things right for you. Will you give Him a chance to show you how much you mean to Him, how much He loves you?
If you have questions in your mind about life, justice, peace, fulfillment, love or anything else, you can ask Him! In Jeremiah 33:3 God says to us, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” NIV He speaks to us through His Word even today. He will speak to you too!
In Matthew 7:7,8 Jesus says to you, “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” AMP