Friday, July 26, 2013

Not Alone: Who I Am

This post is a couple weeks behind; for my take on the current topic, "Is it possible to be 'just friends' with a guy", follow the link over to IgnitumToday.

To continue with the insightful "Not Alone" series, being hosted by the lovely ladies over at "Follow and Believe", it is time to answer the "big question".  Who am I?  Is my identity found in guys, in my surroundings, my friends, my possessions, or in something greater than that?  When I am all alone and in silence, what is left- in other words, who am I at the very center of my being?

Though at first glance the topic may not seem to fit the series, in all actuality it is vital to it.  If young ladies never take time to define themselves without a guy, waiting on that future husband to help them shape who they are, they will never be strong enough to be in a relationship, not only with guys, but with God as well.

For the first few years of my life, I moved around frequently.  And though we've been in the same place for over a decade now, changes in schools and locations within the city have kept me from every really being able to become too attached to one person, object, or group.  To be entirely honest, I used to hate it.  I did not like change at all, and though at times I would become restless and ready for something different, I would later end up regretting it, whether it was switching schools or trying a new hairstyle.  I wanted everything to stay exactly the same all the time, because when things changed, I felt uncomfortable.  Thus, I should not have been surprised when I suffered from horrible insecurities during the second half of eighth grade and the first half of ninth.  Though nothing tragic had happened, I was bearing the weight of several different crosses, and trying too hard to do so on my own.  But just like the classic story of the footprints in the sand, God was carrying me the whole time, and right in the middle of the pain and self-loathing, He reached down through my parents and made it clear to me that I was not alone.  He showed me that the times I had been persecuted for my faith and forced to defend it had served their purpose.

I had a very child-like faith up through middle school.  I loved God, trusted the Church, and believed what my parents taught me- for the most part- without question.  But when an unexpected person began challenging my beliefs, I learned to respect and love the Church in a whole new way.  For the first time I had to investigate everything the Church did, why she did it, and while taking all of that in consideration, still stand strong and call the Catholic faith my own.  This experience prepared me for life in a way nothing else could, because it made me proud of who my parents had formed me to be, led me to realize how blessed I was to be born into a faith led by Truth Himself, and helped me realize that the Catholic Church was not just some institution that I chose to follow- the Catholic Church was my guiding light, and "Catholic" was not just a word I used to describe my religious affiliation- it was the definition of who I was.

Keeping God at the center, and letting my identity be found in Him, is a daily commitment and struggle.  It is not always easy, and- to be entirely honest- is something I'm finding difficult now as I approaching the dreaded/exciting day when I leave my family behind to start college.  But I know that when I'm on my own for the first time, experiencing the biggest change of my life, I will need Him to carry me once again- and will once again learn to find myself in Him, before anything else.  And then- and only then- will my heart find the peace it is searching for...

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