“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Just before I moved up to seventh grade, my brothers and I transferred to a new school. It was a difficult transition because I had loved the school we attended beforehand, and it was especially hard to say goodbye to close friends I had grown accustomed to seeing everyday. My parents had told us that they were transferring us out of obedience to God, so knowing this gave me a sense of peace.
Days before the school year commenced, our new school invited all new students to attend an orientation. It was here that I befriended another girl who was also going into the seventh grade. She was really sweet and we bonded over both being new students to the school. That bond carried us through the first few months of the school year, and I was so grateful to have a friend who I could really relate too.
As the year progressed, we befriended another girl in our grade and became an inseparable trio. However, over time, they became closer and closer and I slowly got pushed to the outside. They developed inside jokes that I was oblivious to and would hang out together without me.
Oh, if I could go back and do things differently…I should’ve seen these signs as a hint that maybe I wasn’t to be friends with them anymore. But no, I wanted to fit in. I wanted them to like me. So I tried really, really hard. I morphed into someone I wasn’t so that they would accept me and include me. I wanted to belong to a crowd and if this is what it would take, then so be it. On the outside it looked like I was in with the popular crowd, but on the inside I was miserable. So when my parents told me the next year that we were moving states, I was overjoyed. I had an escape.
Man, can middle school be rough. Ultimately, I was seeking desperately for my identity, but I was looking for it in the wrong place. I thought that people pleasing would quench my thirst for acceptance, but it only showed me all of the ways where I didn’t measure up to those around me. That made me feel worthless, second-rate, and just not good enough.
Not wanting to ever experience this again, I cried out to God for help. He led me to pray a simple prayer that I pray often today: That I would be who I am in Christ. Not who I want to be. Not who I think I should be. Not who I think others want me to be, but who God has made me to be.
Thankfully, God makes perfectly clear multiple times in the Bible who He has made us to be. He says in 1 Peter, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Our identity, who we are, can only be found in Jesus Christ.
Oddly enough, a very similar scenario played out during my senior year of high school. At first, I fell into the same trap of trying to please my way into acceptance. But this time, having experienced years in between of living with my identity found in Jesus, I was able to see that I wasn’t being me.
It is such a painful experience to not be accepted for who you are, but it is NOT worth it to alter yourself to fit someone else’s mold. Instead of focusing on trying to fit in with that one crowd, focus on the One who has His arms open wide, desperate for you, as you are, to run into them.