I am not in the business of making resolutions that I intend to keep. Were I to choose to give myself a time limit or a due date I would be guaranteeing that whatever I were to accomplish by that time would be late or never happen at all. I’ve also had a phenomenon the past few years of having each year become focused on something drastically different from the last, without my resolutions or goals being involved in the slightest. First once upon a January I moved to Mass without a plan and had to trust God for everything. A year later I left my job and enrolled in a Cosmetology program, ended up moving a few times, and found myself sinking by the end of the year into a jobless, homeless pit. At the beginning of the next year I moved home to be with my family, and to make that year about being able to love them in the best ways that I can.
This year I don’t exactly have a plan. I have some goals I’d like to work on, but they are focused on my self-discipline more than anything else. When I discuss what I hope this New Year to be producing in me I can only focus on what I pray God will grow in my life. I have this theory that if I give as much as I can to Him and pray that He will multiply it in my life that He will be faithful to do what will bring me closer to Him, even if that means attempting to wake up earlier and ready His word, or to reestablish some of our communication lines.
What I refuse to focus on when it comes to goals and resolutions, or whatever you might call them, is my identity or self-worth.
When these words are mentioned in reference to goals for this upcoming year they are more about regrets for the past year. The resolutions turn into finding where my identity is or working on my self-worth because of feeling like nothing was accomplished that’s worth talking about in the past year.
For me these words, identity and self-worth, turn on a beeping noise in my head, very much like the one that our fire detector does when grease is falling on the bottom of the oven and making the room smell bad.
If I could consider myself an expert on anything I would most definitely say I’ve got a grade A education in Hot Mess, Media Factoids, and a PHD in Sarcasm. I also have come to a deep, deep understanding of how it feels to lack self-worth, and exactly how important it is to find my identity in Christ. But I don’t believe that what I know so well in my heart is where most people are coming from, mainly because they don’t have the symptoms to match the illness, but it’s good to keep things in perspective.
When I lost my identity, I wasn’t just going around wondering what I was doing with my life. I wasn’t wondering what other people would call me because of what I did. I didn’t know who I was to myself, and I refused to ask God who He knew I was because I knew: I am a sinner, no better than the idiot over there, especially since I just called him an idiot for no good reason and I should know better. There was nothing in me or about me that made me different from anyone else. I went through life pretending to know who I was and what I was about, pretending not to care about what other people said, and finding my self-worth in all kinds of places.
Self-worth can be defined as a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect, and so it is directly linked to your identity, which is who you are: the qualities and beliefs that make a person different from others. I had such little self-worth that I didn’t even treat myself with respect, and I didn’t expect it from others.
In the middle of a year, when I was really losing my mind, I decided that there was nothing left to lose. I asked God if He could give me a new identity, and He did.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” – John 5:24
He’s been telling me all about who He created me to be ever since. Some days it’s not easy to hold the responsibility, but the pros outweigh the cons. Through this revelation of who I am in the eyes of the most important person in the entire universe, I began to realize what my self-worth actually was. It was weird; quick at times and slow at others. It was full of mistakes and backsliding and mountains jumping out of the way as soon as I started climbing. It’s always a part of my journey because self-worth is not a destination. The worst days are when I forget that it’s not a mission or a contest; that there is no way I will earn the self-worth that I’ve been given through my identity. I can never do enough to believe my life is worth anything, not a single thing. What I can believe is what God has said about my identity, that it is found in Him and nowhere else.