Life offers us many transformations, often cloaked in the attire of suffering. These transformative periods, be it loss, grief, significant change, or a global pandemic like COVID-19, have an uncanny way of shaking the foundations of our lives. They jolt us out of our comfortable routines and challenge our ideas about who we think we are.
Many of us have spent our lives forming identities around our professions, roles, routines, and the perceived opinions of those around us. However, when the storm hits, as it did with COVID-19, we find that the rug under our feet isn’t as firm as we thought. This pandemic was a disruptive wake-up call, questioning the very core of our identity.
The echo of my own personal storm – a mental health crisis – still reverberates through my life today. I was diagnosed with a major depressive episode years ago, and I felt the ground I had built my life on crumble under my feet. I was faced with an existential question: “Who am I?” When all the roles, tasks, and personas I clung to were stripped away, I was left with an identity crisis.
However, the aftermath of my “crash,” as I call it, brought me closer to my true self. I learned to accept God’s love and to love myself for who I am, not for what I do. I became more open to loving others and experienced the joy of being authentic and true to myself. I embraced my unique traits and began to see them as gifts from God, meant to be used joyfully rather than as tools for seeking validation.
As I journeyed into self-discovery, I began to shed my fear of rejection and started taking risks. I discovered the importance of being my own authority and experienced the exhilarating freedom of simply being me. This transformation, this re-birth, was not easy, but it was enlightening and liberating.
At the core of this transformation is the profound understanding that our identities are rooted in our relationship with God. Just like the apostle John, who defined himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” we can also find our identity in God’s love. God’s love isn’t merit-based; it’s an act of outrageous grace that transforms us from within.
This transformative grace doesn’t make us passive recipients of God’s love. Instead, it energizes us to be thankful and take bold actions. The more we internalize God’s grace, the more we break free from our victimhood and step into a life of gratitude and service.
This new identity is a treasure to be cherished, replacing feelings of inadequacy, fear, and worthlessness with truth, honesty, and confidence. This transformation is an act of God, a divine intervention awakening us to truly live. In the midst of our darkest times, we discover a deep union with God, who lovingly reveals our true selves to us.
Just as the man in Matthew 13 sold all he had to buy the field containing a hidden treasure, we, too, must surrender our old selves to uncover the treasure within us. This awakening is transcendent and affirming, severing the cords of attachment and freeing us from the need for external validation.
The profound realization is that we are because God is. This realization is a gift of grace that allows us to flow with God’s love, knowing that there’s nothing to earn, nothing to justify. We simply are. Our true self-confidence lies not in our deeds but in our being, anchored firmly in God’s love. And in this divine love, we discover the freedom and joy of true self-confidence.