Where are we going? Where will we stay? What will we do? Where is the food going to come from?
“Mom, you just arrived here and don’t even know the roads.”
Fear griped me as these thoughts ran through my nine-year-old mind. One day while my dad was at work , Mom told me to pack my bags, because we were leaving. They were getting a divorce. As a young child I felt a lot of pain. Did anyone care? I looked at this situation and asked myself: What is going to happen in the future?
When I surrendered my life to God at the age of fourteen, I realized that I had been aimlessly wandering through life. I had tried to fill the emptiness I felt inside with movies, video games, girls, music, and friends, but at the end of the day, I felt miserable. Why is that? You see, in every human being God has placed an infinite void, a thirst, a craving, a desire for something satisfying, which no finite human being or thing can fill.
Unfortunately, I too often have adopted a false since of identity for myself. For a lot of my life I was living totally oblivious to that fact. Satan attacked my family, and at the age of nine my parents got a divorce. This affected me more than I even realized. In fact, I remember saying these very words to my mom when I was young: “Does anyone love me? Am I even worth being loved?” I would get up in the morning, have a bite to eat, get ready, and go to school. Wanting to fit in at school, I would do the dumbest things because it made people laugh and made me feel accepted and important. My identity revolved around shallow relationships; people only accepted me because I was funny. Coming home from school, I would sit in front of the TV or play video games and do homework. But after doing all these things, I would come to the end of the day feeling completely empty and miserable inside. The devil had me trapped in my insecurity. I wandered aimlessly through life, trying to fit in, trying to be something, looking for love and security. I didn’t want to admit it, but deep down I was miserable. I was a shadow of those around me, saying and doing things I had never thought of before. My character was heavily based on those around me, but overall, I was a puppet on the end of the devil’s strings.
When I made the decision to surrender my life to Christ, my journey of claiming my identity in Christ began. God pulled me out of Satan’s kingdom and has shown me a better way. As I drew closer and closer to Christ, I felt satisfied. I began to have distaste for the things which I once loved. My life started to take a turn in a different direction.
Coming from a broken family was very painful for me and still affects me today, but when I realize God is all I have I realize that God is all I need. The devil can take away my possessions, my friends, my family, even my life, but he can never erase the fact that I am God’s child. As I came to a deeper understanding of the Bible and who God is, I found myself falling into another trap. I began to take pride in my knowledge of the Bible, and a lot of my motives for doing good things was to prove to others that I was a spiritual person. I realized that if that’s what my Christian experience is all about, then there is no point in calling myself a Christian. That’s basically serving in Satan’s kingdom under the title of a Christian. I need to constantly surrender to Christ in order to kill that selfish nature. It doesn’t matter if I try to fit in this world, try to meet the status quo. But what does matter is what God thinks about me, whether or not I’m fitting in with Him. I belong to God. I am His child. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). God has said that I am special to Him; I was chosen by Him to proclaim to all the world what He has done for me. There is only one me; why should I live life merely being the shadow of someone else, when God has such a special plan for my life?
The only way to have peace, to feel loved and accepted in this world, is to claim your identity in Christ. No sin you can commit will make God love you less. No matter what you have done, God is always waiting for you with open arms. In my walk with Christ, I cannot say that I have arrived, because I know that if my identity was 100% rooted in Christ then I wouldn’t be so prideful and selfish. It’s a progressive experience, and I will continue to follow Christ every day. The Lord is still working on me, but I can say now that I don’t have to feel empty anymore; I don’t need to live a miserable life. The void that was once so empty has been filled with the love of Christ.
—Written by Eddy Darisme
Eddy is a senior theology major at Walla Walla University, and the student intern at Milton Adventist Church.