Mistaken Identity

Where do you find your identity and self worth?

Is it in how you look, who you know or who you date?

A lot of times as teenage girls, rather than looking to God – the one who made us and knows us inside and out – we look around us to what we physically see and who we know. We look in the mirror, we ask friends, we search social media, we find a guy. But all of these things are really shallow. Social media changes by the second. What’s in today is out tomorrow. Friends come and go, boyfriends disappoint. And when we anchor our self-worth or our identity to these things, we are in for a lot of disappointment and heartache.

The definition of identity is who you truly are on the inside. It has nothing to do with anything external.

The perfect scripture to sum this up is: 1 Samuel 16:7b says – “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So how do you know if you are dealing with “mistaken identity”?  Take a look at what we usually value more than what’s happening on the inside of us:  (The inside is where our true identity lies).

  1. Your self-worth comes from your Appearance.

Do you care more about what you look like, than how you act?

Our society values appearance. Teen girls everywhere idolize women like Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and Emma Roberts. They are envied because of their looks, followers and popularity. But their public lives are only a piece of their real lives. What we see on billboards, magazines, social media and TV are the images their publicists want everyone to see – modified, edited, photoshopped images that create a reality for girls to envy and look up to. Every once in awhile we hear what they are really going through, but quickly those things are swept aside, so you can focus on the surface things like what they are wearing or what hairstyle or make-up brand they use.

Proverbs 31:30 – “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Do you know any women who really fear the Lord? Maybe you should follow their lives a little more closely?

 

  1. Your identity comes from who you know.

From the time we are little, we understand the social system of popularity.  We create categories and try to identify where we fit best.  Our identities are formed by those we hang with – the athletes, the preppy kids, the nerds, etc. –  and from a very young age, we believe our identity is defined by who we know. But, when we try to find our value in the friends we hang with or if our identity is wrapped up in that, we become devastated when relationships fall apart.

As teen girls, we often get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves with other girlfriends.  We compare our looks, talents and abilities with those we hang with.  It creates a feeling of “I’m not good enough because everyone around me is prettier, smarter or more talented.”

The truth is: Our value does come from someone we know, and that person is Jesus.  Think about this for a second: you have been invited to have a personal relationship with God – the creator of the universe. What greater relationship could there be on the planet?

 

  1. Your worth comes from a boyfriend.

A lot of times as girls, we find our identities in who we date. We think that we need a guy to tell us we are beautiful and loved, rather than knowing we are absolutely adored by God.

A lot of times, the way we feel about ourselves totally depends on whether we are noticed in a room, or get enough social media likes on a post. Our value and worth is dependent on how guys treat us on any given day. If we are noticed or complimented, it’s a good day. If we are ignored, it’s a terrible day and we feel awful about ourselves.

Guys cannot determine your value or worth. Jesus did that when He died for you. He proved that you are so precious and valuable – valuable enough to DIE for. Relationships are fragile, and change and if your value is based on the guy you are with, as soon as that relationship ends, your self-worth will be shattered. You have to know who you are and who you belong to in order to remain secure in your identity.

Isaiah 43:1 says – Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  (This is what God says about you.)

THIS is the place of secure identity – the place of knowing we belong to God.

So I’d encourage you today – don’t base your identity on things like your appearance, your group of friends or having a boyfriend. Let your true identity come from knowing you belong to God and that He absolutely adores you – just the way you are!

Pam Lozano is the Founder and President of Pure Design Ministries and Teen Magazine. She is a Youth Pastor with her husband at Oasis City Church in Westerville, Ohio. She loves investing in and mentoring the next generation to raise them up to be who God has designed them to be. Pam loves to write, drink Starbucks with friends and go for long walks.

What I learned OFFLINE for 8 months!

savannahofflineI deleted my social media for 8 months.

And cable and Netflix and secular music and pretty much everything else that is entertaining.

Part of me hates social media. Actually scratch that – almost all of me hates it and wishes that it never existed. So when I felt called to get rid of it all for a while, it was somewhat easy for me and let me just say, it was the most productive time of my life!

Let me explain…

Late at night, with just my cell phone and I scrolling through the latest posts from my friends, famous people, and advertisements, that’s when I would hear it.

The thoughts condemned me for not being as beautiful, as tan or as sexy as them. The countless images of girls in their trendy outfits, the bikini pictures, the selfies… It drove me into a downward spiral of insecurity. I would compare myself to what I saw and realized how little I could compete.

I allowed my life to be consumed by the influence of the world, society, and media, instead of being filled with the love of Christ and it distorted my view of myself and the people around me.

After 8 months offline, I learned one thing:

savannahmirror

I cannot control what I see at all times. The only thing I can control is how I allow it to affect me.

This simple idea has changed my life. I realized that the pain I was feeling inside my heart was no one’s fault, by my own because I allowed it. I didn’t understand the power of my thoughts and my words. I told myself so often that I was ugly and then wondered why I started to believe that I was ugly!

I noticed this shift in my mindset one evening standing in line at Chipotle. There was a girl with purple hair and winged eyeliner who was rather kind to me. This was significant to me because I didn’t have a trace of makeup on, wasn’t wearing a stylish outfit, and my hair was a mess… and I NEVER go out looking this way. She didn’t give a second thought at the fact that she could see my “flaws” and it made me realize that I was my harshest critic.

jesuspicI cried that night on my way home as my burrito waited in the bag for me. I began to feel convicted about the way that I was viewing my sisters in Christ – for being judgmental and seeing only their outward appearance instead of their heart. Kind of like how I viewed myself!

It may have taken me 8 months to figure it out, but that detox was just what I needed. I now focus on how each and every person is made in the image of God, including myself.

It is my prayer that women of God will come together and unite to be encouragers and not competitors, to support one another, and to celebrate the beauty in one another, while still knowing that they themselves are equally as beautiful.

As for myself and my own appearance, I choose to focus on more important things like my dreams, relationships, and my Savior. As I focus on things that I value inwardly, the meaning of the outwardly always diminishes in comparison.

“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

savannahlewie

Savannah, 20, is a young writer and video creator who strongly believes in the power of young women coming together in Christ to bring real change to the world. As a result of marrying at the young age of 18, her life is far from ordinary, but her unique life has given her an opportunity to encourage other young girls to see the value of marriage. Savannah has had a relationship with the Lord since she was very young. During the last few years, she has truly begun to find her identity in Christ, which gives her the confidence to share her story in hopes of impacting others.

Sisterhood: Overcoming the Beauty Lies

brokenmirrorWhen you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Do you immediately see the blemishes, imperfections and things you dislike about yourself? Most of us do!

Culture today tries to define what our identity should be.  Beauty is defined by society as being stick-thin, air-brushed, perfect skin complexion, toned muscles and trending with the latest fashions.  We see movie stars, athletes, musicians and others in the spotlight day in and day out and we have this image of what beauty is.  But we often forget that images on TV, in the movies and especially in glamour magazines aren’t real.  They are airbrushed, modified, photo-shopped, cropped and edited to make us believe that there is an element of reality to what we are seeing.  What we ALSO fail to see are the eating disorders, the stress filled days, the workout regiments and the tension that these women and girls are constantly under in order to fit into this elite bracket of “beautiful”.

Our identity is wrapped up in what we look like, what we know, or what we can contribute to society.  The Bible, however clearly says that our identity should be found in Christ.  We should draw our value and self-worth from what God says about us.  In order for us to bravely become ourselves and be secure in who God has made us to be as women, we have to agree with the truth of God’s Word about us.

We must CHOOSE TO REFUSE THE LIES, AND CHOOSE TO BELIEVE THE TRUTH.

We have to look at glamour magazines and remind ourselves this isn’t real, we have to watch movies and realize that Hollywood is glamourizing what’s on the screen.  We have to recognize society’s perspective of beauty isn’t real, but a lie, and God’s perspective is the truth.

In order to believe the truth, we have to realize that we live in a broken system in this fallen world.  We have to understand, that the enemy is out to steal from us, to kill us and destroy us…  And He is going to use every weapon that is at his disposal to get us to buy the lies he wants us to believe.  Unfortunately, the beauty industry is after our money and in order to get our money, they must “sell us a belief system” that says we need make-up, we need the latest fashion, and need the latest hair style in order to fit in and be beautiful.

We have to reject these lies and embrace that we are beautiful just the way we are.  And that these things – makeup, clothing, hair and accessories simply enhance the beauty we already have.

The ONLY WAY to begin to gain confidence in who we are is to begin to learn to combat the lies with truth – the truth of God’s word!!

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Image found on Google images.

mePamela Lozano is a conscientious leader who believes in investing in and mentoring the next generation to raise them up to be who God has designed them to be. She is the President & Founder of Pure Design Ministries which publishes Pure Design Teen Magazine on a quarterly basis.