When I was a little girl, I used to stretch out on the curb face-down at the end of our driveway and watch the ants march back and forth. I was fascinated by their hard work, and I'd get lost in imagination wondering about God's creation—why did he create ants after all? It was here where I recall having my earliest conversations with God. I was young and unaffected enough to just be me—me and God.
This pure sense of being connected to God dissipated over time. I quickly became all too aware that the "me" I was before God at the end of my driveway was not always the "me" the world connected with. People in my life didn't seem to value my spiritual side. In fact, I was often ridiculed for it.
It didn't take long for me to start hiding that part of me—my true identity—as I worked to create a different self, one I thought people might like better.
Only this year did I discover what it means to live from my true identity. A memory was triggered about being that little girl at the end of the driveway, and spontaneously I realized God had hardwired my identity before I was born. If he and I were naturally tethered, it was because he decided we'd be—not me. I had nothing to do with it, just like I didn't get to pick my eye color or my bone structure.
One of the most liberating moments of my life was when I decided I would live out the rest of my life celebrating the identity God created in me—an identity rooted in him as my creator. I am his, and he is mine. It was this way since the beginning, and no matter how far I may try to run or hide from it, the essence of who I am is still him.
In this issue of Today's Christian Woman, we're taking a multifaceted look at identity. How, as women, do we form our identities? What messages shape us, and whose voices do we listen to in determining our value?
From Suzanne Burden's heartfelt reflection on how women find their identity apart from motherhood, to Margot Starbuck's excellent essay on what our bodies are for, and Mandisa's authentic confession of what it means to put Jesus first as an American Idol, we hope you'll have much to ponder and discuss with your friends as you read this issue. And ultimately, we hope that these stories help you find your true self too.
Marian V. Liautaud
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