One of the most consistent struggles in my life can be summed up with one word: identity. I first became aware of it in my early teen years. I stopped eating to see the numbers on the bathroom scale drop. I worked tirelessly to get all "As" and to please all of the grown-ups in my life. Everything looked great on the outside, but I developed stomach ulcers by the time I was 16—so great was the pressure to become a person of worth.
Through the years, I've transitioned into and out of many identities: wife, daughter, mom, psychologist, author, friend, radio personality. But which really defines me? The Sunday school answer was always the backdrop: "I'm God's child. He loves me and made me in his image."
Why was that never enough? Even as an adult woman in a successful ministry (as a Christian psychologist!), why did I find myself still yearning for approval and fearing failure? The Bible verses that were supposed to make me feel secure somehow lacked teeth. What people said about me held a lot more weight. Even though everything looked stable on the outside, my day could be saved or destroyed by an email, a rejection, or a compliment.
Only within the last few years have I admitted to myself that I doubted the unconditional and intimate nature of God's love for me. How could I be sure that his love wasn't based on how I perform, like everyone else's love? I've had people profess their love to me only to change their minds somewhere along the way. How could I be sure that God wouldn't do the same?1