How my Identity Crisis Led me to Jesus
Have you ever just felt like you’ve failed yourself so badly that you can’t even recognize the reflection in front of you? That was me.
Before college, I used to be the girl in high school that everyone perceived as “perfect.”
I was involved in community service, had good grades, a strong friend group, and was class president. But once I got to college, I realized that this girl I wanted to form in a different place was an impossible expectation. The academic rigor was stressful and I was a part of the college soccer team which challenged me physically. I felt like at this point in my life I had too many things to focus on and I had to put my faith in my back pocket. I began indulging in the night life of college for comfort and involved myself with people I never imagined I would. Not to mention, I rekindled an old relationship from high school.
It wasn’t until after going home for the first time during my second semester that I realized my identity change affected my peers. It felt as if my high school friends were being distant with me and I recall one saying, “you’re not the girl I thought you were.” This stung me and I felt broken at their words. I went back to school after that break and still carried the judgment from home with me. Not long after, my relationship ended and I was heartbroken. Not only was I ashamed of who I was, but I also lost someone who I found comfort and identity in. I was upset for months and felt like there was no way out of this pit I had fallen into.
It felt like I eventually ran out of tears and was no longer in the crying phase anymore, but rather desperate for a savior. Something to save me from myself because all I felt was pain in my heart. I look back on those days and it still hurts me to see how low of a point I hit. I remember looking in the mirror and speaking to God simultaneously, “Who am I? Please God, just help me. I have nothing left, just please. I’m sorry.” It felt as if almost instantly God heard my desperate prayer.
I slowly began to have motivation to read my devotional again and dove back into my Bible. I spent my days reflecting and I wrote to God every day.
Still, I didn’t know who I was. I knew I wasn’t the girl who went out every weekend. She was desperate to fit in, be loved by others, and found her identity in her desired social group. I felt like I had lost myself. But in that instant, I think God pushed back at this thought, and I knew exactly what he was saying.
I hadn’t lost myself because truthfully, I had never found myself in the first place.
The girl in high school who I thought was worthy was prideful, proud of not being like the others, and whisperingly passed judgement under insincere smiles. She thought she knew God because she did everything right, but it was all just a facade. The reality of this revelation was, I went from being the girl who judged others, to being judged herself.
One of the hardest parts of faith is constantly being stuck in a cross-road of being who you want to be, who God wants you to be, and being who you actually are. In this case, I felt like I had experienced two worlds, yet their outcomes were seemingly no different. Both were artificial and left me broken, and led me to an ultimate truth: all I wanted to do was find myself and I knew the only way was to find Jesus. That’s the glory of the entire story.
When I was at my lowest point and only saw shame and sin in that mirror, God saw beauty and took delight in my honesty and vulnerability. I found myself finally understanding that no matter who I am, I will never be perfect. I can never satisfy this world, and most importantly, I wasn’t meant to.
During all of this, I remember loving the quote “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” I never understood it, but after what seemed like an identity crisis, it made perfect sense. Being the girl who intentionally did everything right and tried to never sin did not make me more worthy of his love than anyone else. And being the girl who was clothed in sin as a college student didn’t make me any less worthy than the former.
All I had to do was know Jesus and be the real me.
And really, the second part would come naturally after the first.
When I found Jesus, I no longer had to hide behind my insecurity and I could unapologetically be myself. I think that’s the greatest irony and news of his existence. No matter how much we’ve failed and how displeased we are with what we see in the mirror, the most perfect being of all time loved us with the purest of hearts, and in our unworthiness, we can be known by him who is most worthy.
About the Author
Jessica Escobar // @
Hey! My name is Jessica Escobar and I am a sophomore at Presbyterian College located in Clinton, South Carolina. I play on the women’s soccer team at my school and am a biology major with the hopes of going to veterinary school! Aside from PC, I grew up in Springfield, Virginia, just 15 minutes away from Washington D.C. Some of my hobbies are spending time with animals, shopping, and running. Fun fact: I’m a vegetarian and I love winter (and yes, I am wondering how I survived in South Carolina’s heat too)! I also enjoy reading literature about Christ and currently am loving Own Your Everyday by Jordan Dooley (so good!). I’m excited for God to use me through writing to connect with other girls in Delight and the sisterhood it will build!