When I was a teenager, I felt I was fat. I thought I was fat. I saw myself as fat. In my mind, I was fat. When I look back at pictures of myself, I realize I was not fat. I don't remember what I weighed, but I remember being measured for my cheerleading uniform and my waist was 26". One of the girls on the squad made a big deal over how "tiny" my waist was and I thought she was crazy. Now I know that I was the one who was crazy.
But, I bought into my identity as a fat girl and eventually one day, I ended up, well, fat. My identity became my reality. And, in this case, it's kind of sad. Actually, in every case of mistaken identity, it is sad.
See, the mistaken identity doesn't come from God. God doesn't create confusion or chaos. He doesn't make us loathe ourselves. He doesn't make us jealous of someone else. He doesn't say to us, "if only you were ________, then I'd love you."
No, that's what the enemy does. He whispers a lie into our ear over and over again until we believe it.
"You're weird," he says.
"You're fat," he says.
"You don't fit in," he says.
And then when we feel those things, he says, "if only you were normal."
"If only you were thin," he whispers.
"If only you fit in," he coos.
"If only you were rich," he urges.
"If only you were married," he chuckles.
If we're not careful, if we don't ask God to guard our hearts and minds, we will actually begin obsessing over that lie. It will consume our every thought. We will eat, sleep and think "if only" for the rest of our lives. It will ruin us. Eat out our insides until we are a shell. We will feel worthless, invalid, unloved, mistreated and left out. And we will spend our whole lives trying to "fix" something that wasn't actually broken.
Some of us manage to"fix" it. Some of us, either by sheer will or some sort of intervention, will actually attain the "if only." Some of us will actually manage to become thin, or a different gender, or another race, or a different economic class, or another religion or fall in love. But it is rare that that "if only" will actually fix anything.
Because that which needs fixing is actually something only God can fix. That hole we are looking to fill with our "if only" can only be filled by God. We can spend our whole lives chasing after the next fix to find out that we still have a hole. Or we can spend our whole lives filling that hole with God.
We can easily choose to believe the identity the enemy tries to give us. Or we can choose to believe the reality that God created us and He loves us. He loves us just as we are. That is the reality regardless of our identity. Every moment is an opportunity to choose whether we will believe what the enemy says about us or believe what God says about us. It's hard for us to understand why and how God, Creator of the Universe, could love us despite being flawed. But, He does. But God doesn't ask us to understand. He asks us to believe.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
"...in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:10
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6
""In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10
"To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24
"And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:19
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1