Saturday, 25 October 2014

Mistaken Identity

It was November and I was on the verge of completing my Bachelor’s degree. The end was at the tips of my fingers, yet I couldn’t quite touch it. It was a time of the mad scramble of writing up final assignments, finishing off a block of work placement and working my part-time hours. I was stricken with anxiety in the midst of fighting a deadly battle for life and health.

My view of the future was bleak. It was impossible to see a way forward. During that time I was going through the motions with no hope. I did not believe I had a future. I did not believe it was possible that I could follow my passions.

The more I worked on the assignments, the more impossible they were to write. The more I faced work, the more anxious I was becoming. The closer I got to that finishing line, the further away “the future” seemed. Meltdown after meltdown, I was convinced that I was never going to make it as an adult. What about the words of God by the prophet Jeremiah, “I know the plans to give you a future and a hope”? I did not see that being fulfilled anytime soon, or at all.

This was not the first time I had felt this way. Many times, prior to this, I had fallen for the lies of the enemy:

“You are inadequate for taking twice as long to complete your degree.”
“You are worthless for still being single.”
“You are incompetent for not working full-time and only getting your licence at 25 years old.”

The fight against anxiety is an on-going battle. It is paralysing to believe it is possible to move forward when lies are swarming around in my head. It is exhausting. However, there is a weapon for this battle: “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) God’s word is powerful. It breathes life and speaks truth. The battle runs deep into our hearts. Deception tears us down. It breaks us. The truth is, there is always hope. The truth is, I can know peace in times of anxiety. The truth is, I can have a future should I follow God’s path.

The anxiety was leading to false identities about myself. The beauty of God’s grace is that my ultimate identity does not come from what I am capable (or not capable) of doing. I have a Christ-given identity. And because of my Christ-given identity, I also have a future.

Every morning I look at a few verses in my mirror. One of my favourite passages comes from Ephesians 6. I read, “ (v. 13). Taped to the mirror is also a shield and a sword with the verses: “in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v.16-17). There is still a battle occurring every day. I have to constantly guard my heart against the fiery lies being thrown at me. But the power of God’s Word makes it possible to fight the battle. With the Truth, I can see hope for a future.

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