I saw myself as Maggie the responsible oldest daughter, the good student, the reliable friend. That’s how I saw my identity. That's how I defined myself.
Yet I had also wrapped up my identity with how I looked, with what I ate, with how much I exercised, with how everyone around me perceived me.
I felt like I was on this hamster wheel, continually trying to be good enough.
It took Jesus interjecting Himself into my life, fully revealing Himself to Me and me being receptive to Him, for my life to really change. I can tell you today, I am alive because of God’s continued hand of grace and protection on me.
Because I didn’t save myself. Jesus is the one who saved me.
While I had prayed as a kid, and I always believed in God, I had never accepted Jesus in my heart. I thought being a Christian was going to church every week, praying before bed, and obeying the rules. I assumed if I lived “good enough,” I’d go to heaven when I died. I didn’t realize that I could never be “good enough” because only Christ is perfect.
But He loves me and you anyway, and He wants us to live a life for Him.
God took my struggle with an eating disorder, he took my fears and my anxiety, and he took my moving to New York City (something I did because it was my own plan) to in fact lead me to Himself. He used all these parts of my life to show me my need for Him. He was writing the story the entire time. And when I was 23 years old, my eyes were finally opened to it.
I finally understood what it meant to live my life for Christ. I surrendered to Him, and I didn’t want to ever turn back.
After repenting and beginning a true, intimate relationship with Jesus, things started to truly change for the better. Jesus saved me time and time again. He showed me where my identity came from, and it wasn’t from myself. It wasn’t from my looks, from my grades in school, or my job, or my relationships. Not from the number of likes or followers on Instagram.
My identity comes from Him and Him alone.
He tells us in Romans 10:9 that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and we believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.
Not we will be saved when we… pray X amount of prayers, or do X amount of good deeds, or memorize X amount of Scripture. He doesn’t say that we’ll be saved when we have it all together. He says we’ll be saved when we believe in Him and invite Him into our hearts!
When we do that, we take on a whole new identity.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”
The old self is gone; the new self remains!
God claims this over us, over ever single one of His believers. He sees us as holy, as saints.
We know from the very first book of the Bible, from Genesis, that we were created in His image. This is no small thing. We were created with specific traits to reflect the character of God.
Let that sink in for a second.
God created me, God created you, in His image.
He didn’t create us to live as lost, hopeless children. He created us to live full, whole, free lives rooted in Jesus Christ.
Because seasons change. All the things that the world says make us who we are—our looks, our relationships, our bank accounts, our social media profiles—all these things are going to change.
But God? He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And when you are a Christian, His Spirit dwells within you.
Think about that for a moment. The Holy Spirit, of the God of the Universe, the Creator of all things—lives within you. That truth, which comes from 1 Corinthians 3:16, helps me whenever I’m tempted. It reminds me that my life is not my own. My life belongs to God.
God wants me to stand on holy ground and to see myself the way He sees me: a temple suitable for Him to dwell in. He wants to use me, just like He wants to use you.
For me, my eating disorder has served as a way to cope with some much deeper issues in my life—this idea that I somehow have to be "perfect." That I have to have it all together. When I was stressed or worried about not measuring up to my own crazy standards, I could at least control my food and my body. I could look perfect even if I didn't feel that way.
But the eating disorder always leads to a dead end. Finding my identity in anything other than Christ never satisfies.
There have still been hard days, even after accepting Christ. I have to constantly remind myself where my identity comes from and who I am in God’s eyes.
God keeps pruning us like a plant. He wants to make us more like Him. So as Christians, we aren’t guaranteed a happy life. There’s going to be hard stuff! But we are guaranteed a life of knowing and loving Jesus—and living with Him in eternity.
Take a look at Ephesians 2:1-10.