Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
— 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
When we have been deeply wounded in our soul, we can struggle with identity as a result, meaning that we go through life feeling we do not know who we truly are. This can cause us to feel confused, purposeless, or directionless, empty, and unsatisfied no matter how hard we try to find fulfillment. One reason our woundedness has such a negative effect on our identity is that it causes us to want to hide our true feelings and to hesitate to express who we really are.
For example, if someone is afraid to be vulnerable, she may pretend to be tough, confident, and self-sufficient to keep others from viewing her as weak or needy. This type of pretending to be something we are not or presenting a certain image that does not accurately represent us can be a temptation to everyone who has been wounded. Our hunger for acceptance and approval may cause us to try to alter our personalities to try to be what we think people want us to be instead of feeling free to be our true selves.
The chameleon is a lizard-like animal that can change its color so it will blend in with everything around it. Chameleons do this to protect themselves. If their predators can’t distinguish them from a log or a leaf, they can’t hurt them. Although people cannot change colors, we have our own protective mechanisms, one of which is to develop false identities to guard ourselves against rejection or disapproval.
Those who fear rejection often become people pleasers, doing what they think others want them to do instead of becoming their true selves. That is sad, because we are never truly free until we are free to be ourselves.
The world urges us to conform to its image. It tells us what we should wear, how we should style our hair, what kind of car we should drive, how much education we need—and on and on. We sense intuitively that if we do not measure up to the world’s standards, we will not be accepted.
God loves and accepts us unconditionally, and when we receive Jesus as our Savior, He makes us new. All the old pressures we have felt melt away. We no longer have to feel guilty about old mistakes. When God makes us new, we become like fresh lumps of spiritual clay. The world wants to fashion us in its image, but the Holy Spirit wants to mold us into something new, to shape us in such a way that we can fulfill God’s amazing plans for our lives. In Christ, we are finally free to be our true selves, and that’s the best person we can possibly be.
Prayer Starter: Thank You for loving me unconditionally and for making me new. Thank You that I am truly free to be who You made me to be—free to be myself, amen.