What if I told you that I know the truest thing about you? What if I told you that the truest thing about you is not the way you look, the things you do, or even who your family is?
From a very young age, our culture tells us that following your dreams will bring you true happiness. The message is tempting, isn’t it? We all have big dreams, fantasies about what the perfect life will be, and, according to our culture, if we can just stick to our dreams long enough, everything will work out.
We live in a world full of ambition. Ironically, in our attempts to follow our dreams and find happiness, we can lose sight of who we truly are.
Don’t Forget Yourself in What You Do
Ambition is not inherently bad. God made each of us unique and gave us special dreams that we are called to pursue. Discovering the unique ways God made us is truly beautiful and God honoring.
However, we must be careful not to let our ambitions define our identity. It is extremely easy to put our worth in the things that we do, the relationships that we have, and the things that we are known for. Sometimes we do this without even realizing it. How many times have people referred to you as “the soccer player” or “the smart student” or “the theater kid?” How many times have you referred to yourself this way?
Rooting our identity in what we do increases the pressure on ourselves and leads us down a path of “what ifs.” What if we don’t get it right, or if the things that we put our value in are suddenly taken away? Then who are we? What if the relationship that we believe we need in order to be happy falls apart? What will happen to us?
Inevitably, these what if questions will come true. As wilted roses, we know that we will not be able to live up to the perfect standard. We know that because of sin, we will let each other down. Relationships may fall apart. We ultimately do not have a ton of control over the things that we may feel define us.
The good news is that our identity is not based on whether or not we succeed at reaching our goals. As Roses, how can we flourish and discover the beauty of how God created us without forgetting ourselves in what we do? In order to do this, we need to remember two things: who we are and Whose we are.
Remember Who You Are
The truest thing about you is what God, your creator, says about you.
So, what does God say about you, Rose?
God says that you are loved (Ephesians 3:18).
God says that you are chosen (Ephesians 1:11-14).
God says that you are made in His image (Genesis 1:27).
God says that He has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11).
God says that He lives in you (1 Corinthians 3:16).
God says that you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
This, Rose, is the truest thing about you: you are a beloved daughter of God. This who you are.
With so many things fighting for our identity, it can be really easy to forget who we are. It’s easy to give in and let our fears and insecurities determine who we are. But we must not do it. We must remember that we are beloved daughters of the King.
When you are tempted to feel worthless for not doing as well as you hoped on your last test, or getting cut from the soccer team, or not being cast in the school musical, remember who you are.
Remember Whose You Are
We are roses of the one true King. God lives in us through His Holy Spirit. God is with us and has promised to be with us always. Because of this, no matter what happens, we cannot be shaken. Romans 8:31 says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” We belong to God; we have no reason to be afraid!
Recently I was surprised to learn that I did poorly on a math test. It was so disorienting— I felt like a failure for a whole week. But God reminded me that I belong to Him. He met me as I read Scripture and invited me to simply sit still and be with Him. Sometimes I knit or colored or drank coffee, but as I sat I offered my whole self to God and allowed Him to fill me, love me, and hold me. And as I did so, God met me. I heard His voice as He reminded me of the truth of who He is and who I am.
Our ambitions may change. We may accomplish more than our wildest dreams or we may never get the opportunity to do so. We may even fail our attempts to pursue our ambitions. But whatever happens, one thing will always remain: we belong to God. Nothing can change that.
Pursue Your God-Given Ambitions, But Root Your Identity in God
The truest thing about you, dear Rose, is that you are loved by God and you belong to Him. You are created in His image and have a unique purpose in the world. So go out in the name of Jesus and fulfill that purpose! Allow God to use your dreams and ambitions, and pursue them for His glory!
But in the face of all of it, remember that your success, failures, and ambitions do not define you. In the midst of ambition, remember who you are and Whose you are.
Malaya Gaboury is a native New Yorker who loves Jesus, coffee, sappy books, and theater. When she’s not writing, you can find her singing show tunes with her dad and sister, roaming about the city with friends, or curled up on the couch with a book in hand. She firmly believes that God is actively at work in her generation and that no one is too young to have a big life with God.
Connect with her on her blog, Life Abundant, where she explores what it means to follow Jesus in our day to day lives.