Who are you? … I know, it always sounds like such a deep question; but I have come to realize it’s a question I’ve never really asked myself nor did I think it was that important.
In my early teenage years, I met a guy. But he wasn’t just any ordinary guy, he was THE guy. The first guy who made me feel those butterflies, the first guy who ever told me he loved me, the first guy who held my hand; and I was THAT girl, always writing my first name with his last name in my notebooks in the middle of a big heart, constantly staring out the window daydreaming, whispering to him under the covers on the phone so my parents couldn’t hear me up at 3am talking on the phone. This was it. This was my happily ever after, everything I dreamed of, I was in LOVE. Mind you, I was like 14 or 15; but my goodness, looking back I realize how crucial those years are for young girls figuring out ‘who they are.’
I had acne, I’m short, I had this gap between my front teeth, my hair was long and usually in a ponytail, and I used to wear tall tees (they were such a huge fad back then). I always saw the girls at school having ‘boyfriends’ and talking about the guys they kissed, and when I met this guy I thought I had to hold on to him – tightly because if I let him go, no one else will want somebody like me. “Hold on to him Jasmine – no matter how bad it gets.”
I made him my whole world. Do you know what’s wrong with making someone your whole world? When they leave – you think your world is over. I didn’t realize how toxic that mindset was, and still is. There is a healthy way to love someone – which is something I learned years and years later, but I’ll save that for another post. So, for those 4 or 5 years of my life, my whole identity was in this person. He didn’t understand the power he had over my life. I stood by the lies, the cheating, the hurt, the drugs and the verbal abuse, all because if I lost him, I wouldn’t know who I would be without him.
At 18, I lost him, and it wasn’t his or my idea. I truly believe it was Gods idea, and Gods way of breaking us out of these toxic patterns. He fled the scene leaving me to deal with firemen and the police who found illegal substances in my apartment. One minute he was with me, and the next minute he was gone out of my life. Just like that. I never spoke to him again. So, with him gone, and me left with my worst nightmare of facing who I am, I did what I thought I should do – I moved on… with someone else.
I was like a serial monogamist! I went from relationship to relationship, because I didn’t know my identity or even remember who I was when I was alone. But it can be a dangerous thing not knowing, because not only can you end up hurting other people, but you can continue hurting yourself.
Relationships and love is truly a beautiful thing; but if you don’t know who you are, if you don’t value yourself or if you don’t know your worth – you are going to give the power of those things to another person or your job, or material things. Some people think their identity is based on the car they drive, the type of house they live in, the kind of job they have. These things shouldn't define who you are.
I started going through major transformations in my life when I was 26. I had always felt a tugging and pulling at my spirit, but I would never listen. Once I started attending church again and surrounding myself with different people and intentionally being aware of what I was putting into my mind – there was a shift. I wrote in my journal one day ‘I forgot who I am God, please remind me’, and daily God has been reminding me, through songs, through reading His word, through prayer and through people. I was putting my identity in everybody else but never in the person who created me.
I don’t regret my past; and I am not ashamed of it either. I freely tell my story and everything that I’ve been through, because I am beyond thankful for who I am today. I’ve learned something about myself and life from each relationship and person that has entered my life. I’ve asked for forgiveness to anyone I have hurt, and I asked God for forgiveness for myself, for not remembering that I am His masterpiece, I am Chosen, I am Worthy, and I am His child.
So, take time to reflect on your own life. What do you let define you? Where is your identity found in?