By Reagan Long
Identity is a funny thing, especially in college where we are exposed to many different people and situations we’ve never been in before. I have always been secure in who I am for the most part, but over the past three years there have been a few things I started to question about myself. This isn’t necessary bad; there were some areas of my life I just needed to grow in.
But at times I started to question the very core of who I was.
This insecurity mainly came from an unlikely source: the church. Most of the people I knew had personalities that were vastly different than mine, related to and heard from the Lord differently than I did, and were gifted in areas that I knew I wasn’t.
This made me question if my natural personality left something to be desired. For example, I wondered if I needed to be more extroverted like other Christians I knew.
Why was I seeing such a disparity between myself and others? I knew that every Christian goes through sanctification to make them more like Christ, but would that make me more outgoing, loudly displaying the glory of God? If it would, then why did God initially give me a calm, quiet nature, only to change it later?
The idea that the Lord would have me go through a complete 180-degree personality shift like that didn’t sit well with the truth that I knew the Lord intently made me who I am and considers it wonderful (Psalm 139:14-16).
I began to pay more attention to how Scripture describes the church as the body of Christ. In several of Paul’s letters, he refers to the church as one body with many different parts.
In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” Whatever our spiritual gifts are, they have been given to us because it benefits everyone, and it is not lesser because it is not what you see in someone else.
Paul continues in verse 18, “God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted.”
Just as He wanted.
However, I was more concerned with how I fit into the body of Christ than how I contributed to it. My focus was on myself, not the Lord. By hyper-focusing on myself, my insecurity grew. And Satan used that insecurity to try to isolate me from community with other believers, therefore keeping me from contributing to the body at all.
Honestly, this is a battle I am always fighting. I have to constantly remind myself that there is value in what I bring to the church body, and there is purpose in who I am – created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and formed and known by Him (Jeremiah 1:5).