My story starts in an ideal Christian home with parents who love each other and seemingly everything you think would provide identity, love, and consistency. I was an athlete, a straight A student, and a member of many clubs; all just titles that didn’t accurately describe who I was- only what I did. The things I did only provided temporary satisfaction and approval from those around me. My heart knew it needed something more. So I began searching, without even knowing it, for something real- an unconditional love and acceptance.
There was a major problem here. How could someone accept me for who I was, if I didn’t even know who I was. I found comfort in the words and attention from those around me anyways because it gave me some sort of identity. I took to heart every word like trying on different pairs of pants at a store that didn’t even have my size, just hoping one would fit. Once I was in high school, this mindset crept into my dating life. A boyfriend had to be the answer. I thought he could be what I needed but each relationship ended the same way. Maybe I was the issue at these failed attempts at love. Maybe I needed to sacrifice more to make others love me. So I did. I sacrificed all my values to fit their mold, but after every breakup I left feeling more unloved and more unappreciated than before. A downward spiral began which left me feeling broken, unlovable, and unworthy.
This continued for years until I had finally had enough. I ended my current relationship and in perfect timing, the summer before I started college, my brother shared with me his newfound relationship with God. I always went to church and believed in God, but because of my twisted perspective of myself- I couldn’t imagine an almighty God wanting a personal relationship with someone like me. But because I was so exhausted, I decided to learn more about who God was.
Then something beyond my craziest thoughts happened. As I started understanding who God was, I started to understand who I was. The identity of God was revealing my identity. How could this happen? It was because I was created in His image- I am a direct reflection of God.
Then I finally understood, I didn’t have to do anything at all to be loved. Jesus already did that for me when He died on the cross. I found out what unconditional love really was. It does mean sacrifice, but in a way that I didn’t fully understand at first. The sacrifice had already been made for me and for you. I just had to say yes- to accept Jesus into my life. I had to allow Jesus to love me because even in my brokenness and imperfection, I am made perfect by Him.
God’s love had always been everything I needed- my search was over.