It’s been a few months since I’ve written a (public) blog post, but don't worry, I have been planning something BIG for you that I know you’re going to love over the last few months! You’ll hear about in a few weeks (and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you!), but for now, you’ll just have to trust me that its going to be so good!
I’ve been doing a ton of study and thinking on identity the past few months and I finally had something click in my little head one morning: I think we’ve been missing something in our conversation about identity. When talking to women about identity, pastors and teachers often stick to the same few topics, insisting that we put our worth and identity in: beauty, men, or our career.
And for sure, we as women do often put our identity in those things. The problem is that these things are in and of themselves good things. It’s good to work out and take care of our bodies, it’s good to enter into a God-fearing marriage with someone who loves and adores you, and it’s good to be a hard worker and put effort into your studies and career. But, when we talk about these things we are speaking to women as if they each already hold one or all of these things in the world’s eyes, yet not very many women I know feel they do. To truly put our identity in something, we first have to believe that we possess that thing.
Side note: I think this is another issue we need to attack for the betterment of the Kingdom. While we can't fully put our identity in something we don't actually have, we can spend our lives chasing after something we intend to wrongly put our identity in if in fact we catch it. This is obviously related to our conversation about identity in this post, but is not a question of misplaced identity. It’s a chasing after an identity we think will eventually fulfill us. Identity is the way in which we call ourselves, our defining quality, not a striving for something we wish we did, but don't have.
Somehow I think we’ve forgotten that we can also put our identity in things that are not in and of themselves good. Let me explain.
During all the sermons or Bible studies I’ve heard on identity over the years, the topic of beauty has ALWAYS come up as one of the ‘options’ of things that I could be putting my identity in. Then the study would go into discussion about how this manifests: judging other women, not being able to go out of the house without makeup on, eating disorders, constant comparison with other women, extreme guilt or self hate over missing a day in the gym, etc. Well, if I’m being honest I’ve always felt that I relate to this discussion at some level, but something seemed off. Until one day, it hit me. I was putting my identity in lack—in my ‘lack of beauty.” Now, before you start to feel bad or try to correct me and say, “no, julia, you’re beautiful!” just as I would anyone who said what I said, I want to explain what I mean.
I’ve struggled for a long time with self-love and acceptance. I’ve had people in my life that have known about those struggles and used them to manipulate and control me. About three years ago I finally started to see the evil seeds they were watering in my heart and removed these people from my life. Three years have gone by since then and I truly thought I had finally uprooted up all those evil things they watered, but thankfully the Father loved me enough to open my eyes a few weeks ago to what had been sitting right in front of me all along. Although I had been doing these studies about identity and working to not feel pressured to wear makeup every day or feel like I couldn’t buy ‘those jeans’ because it would attract too much attention to my thick thighs, I was still putting my identity in something other than the Lord: my lack of beauty, my lack of a height, and my lack of a perfectly slender and toned body.
Have you ever heard the song Crowns by Hillsong? If not, go listen to it right now and really try to listen to the words! I have loved this song for years because of the image I see listening to it. I see a girl, like me, wearing a crown that says something like, "Straight A Student," who then sees the Father looking at her with all the love in the world. She then takes it off, sets it down, and puts on another crown that says "DAUGHTER OF THE KING." Why does she exchange crowns? Because she knows that the second crown holds more weight than the first. If she didn't, it would be like Michael Phelps hiding his gold medals in his closet because he's ashamed of them, but proudly displaying little league trophies on his mantle.
This sounds funny, but it’s true, we sometimes wear crowns of thorns, the crowns that say ‘lack of beauty,’ ‘no thigh gap,’ ‘way too much cellulite,’ ‘doesn’t have enough friends,’ ‘doesn’t have the best job,’ ‘didn’t make it through college,’ etc. We wear those crowns into our job interviews and into our friend groups and onto our dates. LADIES, let me say it again for the people in the back, those “crowns” are crowns of THORNS! Crowns that the enemy uses to keep us away from and unable to see the crown that the Father has for us! The crown that says, “DAUGHTER OF THE KING.”
Part of walking in our identity is walking boldly with our highest crown proudly put on.
That means going to the beach and knowing that you don’t have this “bikini body” thing the world says we need to have to be able to set foot on the sand, but walking onto the beach with all confidence because you are wearing the crown that’s inscribed with ‘DAUGHTER OF THE KING.’ That means walking into a job interview, that maybe if you look around the room you’re not the most qualified for, but you are wearing the crown ‘DAUGHTER OF THE KING’ which means you are highly favored. That means you can go on a date and not feel insecure or like you have to be something you’re not in order to impress him or work to find ‘the one.’ Did ya hear me?! Friend, wearing the crown that says DAUGHTER OF THE KING means that you aren't going to have to work for or change yourself to meet Mr. Right.
‘But Jules, I still struggle with insecurity even when I try to put my identity fully in him.’
Girl, I feel ya. Even when we put our identity in Him and our relationship with Him, people will continue to call us by the old crown we used to wear. People will still make comments to me about my height or weight, but we have to see the power that’s at work behind those comments—it’s the enemy trying to convince us that the crown the Father gives us could never truly be our identity. The enemy wants us to place our identity in the crown that he hands to us—that of insecurity, shame, impurity, etc.
Friends, let’s choose together to get up every morning and put on the crown that says ‘DAUGHTER OF THE KING’ rather than any of the other crowns we have in our closet. Let’s choose together to walk boldly into every room with our identity as daughters of the King.