Identity Insecurity

Identity Insecurity

This appearance-driven culture has all but trained people to insult themselves endlessly, but why are we allowing this to define us when we were created out of want, not need?
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I cringe when I hear these oh-so-common words escaping yet another person's lips:

"Wow, I look ugly in that picture."

"Don't post that! I look dumb."

Not only does it make me feel bad for even considering the idea of making public this person's apparent insecurities, but it also makes me increasingly uncomfortable.

It seems as if today's appearance-driven culture is fueled by the amount of times someone can insult themselves in a minute, and, just to be frank, I hate it. I will admit that I was the same way once, and I definitely have days when I feel like an ugly duckling. I sometimes feel like I just want to stay home because no one wants (or needs) to see my curly mop of hair complementing the lack of makeup smeared on my face. Then, once the decision is made to face my irrational fears and go out of my safe, unincorporated community into our slightly more incorporated town, I try on clothing item after clothing item, finding no satisfaction, no solace, and no peace.

This seems to be a problem with this, plain and simple. Pointing out your insecurities is the exact opposite of what should be the norm, right? When you think about it, it just sounds weird to say it is normal to talk about how bad you are. I understand that people are insecure because I, myself, am insecure about a lot of things, but the sticking point is this: why are you pointing out your insecurities? Is it out of humility or out of selfishness?

As a student at a private, Christian school for 14 years, I could probably count on one hand how many lessons have not included a reference to the fact that all humans are sinners, fallen and broken in the eyes of God. I stand firm on the fact that there are no naturally good people because everything that we set our minds on doing is tainted with sin, and the original sin that occurred in the Garden of Eden not only set humanity off on a cycle of sinful acts, but it also led to the introduction of pain, suffering, sadness, and insecurity, among other undesirable things in our lives.

When someone points out their insecurities, it often revolves around a selfish longing for attention, for someone to counter their remark with words of affirmation. Please know that that is not what should be happening. Sure, it is absolutely necessary to know, without a doubt, that we are not perfect. We are utterly broken, bent out of shape, and basically dead without Christ. That is a fact. Acknowledging that and realizing that you are loved even though you do not deserve it allows your relationship with God to be that much sweeter. When you make known the fact that maybe you are not the most attractive, the smartest, or the most coordinated person simply because you are thirsty for attention, however, that is an indication that you are looking for your identity in something that simply is not worth it. People fail. Words fail. God never fails.

I say all that to tell you this: know that you are, without a doubt, lost without Christ, but also know that God created you. That is a privilege in itself. God absolutely did not need humans to complete Him. When God created the heavens and the earth, he did not say to Himself, "Hm, I wonder what could fill this empty hole in my Being? I guess I need someone here with me!" He created humanity out of a love that is unable to be matched by anyone here on earth. He created humanity because He wanted to do it, not because He had to do it.

Whenever I hear someone getting down on themselves because of something they think is wrong with them, I think first that they are just wrong (just so you know, a lot of things you are insecure about are unnoticed by others), and then I think that they could feel so much better if they only saw themselves as the beautifully and undeservedly valued and loved creation of God that they are. I know for a fact that finding your identity not in who you are but in who God has made you brings so much more peace, so much more security, and a much more positive influence on your peers.

I encourage you to live like you have immeasurable value because you do. It is so much more difficult to insult yourself when you know for a fact that, in spite of all the stuff you may think is wrong with you, you were created by God because He wanted you. That just makes all those things you might be insecure about fade away and seem tiny in comparison to the beautifully redeemed identity that children of God are able to find in Him.

Cover Image Credit: Robin Sorrow

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

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An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

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