IDENTITY.

Where do you find your identity?

A child – bullied at school because of his food allergies, now living with anxiety and isolation ingrained in his mind.

A teenager – recently diagnosed with severe allergies, lost in a tornado of confusion, frustration, and fear.

An adult – managing a job, struggling to balance the workload and un-diagnosed Celiac disease at the same time.

A parent – watching their daughter slip into anaphylaxis, administering epinephrine, helplessly praying, afraid.

Where you do find your identity?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the things that come against us – physically, mentally, spiritually – in the day-to-day. And food allergies can easily sweep you away in a flood of worry, of constantly being on alert.

When a person doesn’t struggle with allergies, they may not be able to relate to the awkwardness of a teenage girl having to explain contact anaphylaxis to her boyfriend; or a young adult in the workforce living with Celiac disease – not diagnosed, not treated.

We live with it every day.

But we’re not it.

We have a severe allergy. But we’re not our allergy.

I prefer to think of food allergies, for me, as an antagonistic walking companion or, more practically, something that’s just not in working order in my immune system. But it’s not me. I’m a homeschool teen. I’m a daughter of the King, saved by grace. I’m a dodgeball player (who payed for it with a dislocated knee; let’s not talk about that. I’m switching to volleyball). I’m valued by my friends and my youth group.

Yes, I’m on alert – like a watch dog. I become anxious in settings that present risk. I feel exceedingly rude when I have to decline someone’s offer of food, even food that is supposedly safe. I’m the weird girl who brings a sandwich to a graduation dinner. πŸ˜‰

Yes, when I’m someday beginning a relationship with someone else, I’ll have to explain everything about my allergy and contamination risk. (At which time, I’ll provide pointers in a blog post, I promise.)

But I am not my allergy. My identity is found in things that are so much greater – and in the One who guards my soul.

YOU are not your food allergy.

YOU are not your chronic illness.

YOU are not your anxiety or depression.

YOU are not your heartbreak, loss, or grief.

YOU ARE SO MUCH GREATER. Because you were knit together by God Himself. You are known by the Savior. You are loved by the King.

So let it go.

I’d like to point you to this Instagram profile – I highly recommend you look through the posts. And I’ll leave you with this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:2-3

Where do you find your identity? How can you improve your outlook on your situation? Let’s talk in the comments!

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