As a little girl, I did not know much about God. Growing up in a post-communist country where religion was prohibited for many years, my family rarely talked to me about God.
When I got older, I started questioning if there was something more to life. If there was some kind of big meaning in life. If there was a purpose for me. So I started searching.
I searched for meaning in achievement. I thought that if I get good grades in school and then get into a top university, then that will automatically somehow make my life meaningful.
I started putting my identity into my performance. Every time I failed was not just a failure. It was something that would make my life less meaningful.
And when a person does not see meaning anymore or has lost his or her meaning, that person has only two choices: either give up on life or find a new meaning.
So I started searching for meaning in the image I projected to the world. In the way I looked. I knew I was not perfect. But I wanted others to at least think that I was.
And then God took that away from me, too. I got a really bad skin infection that no make up could cover up. And even though for a 17-year-old it was a painful self-image experience, God worked it out for my best.
That was the first time I started seeking for God’s help. I did not know what to do. Everything where I put my meaning – my performance or my looks or image – was taken away from me.
I had to find something or Someone where I could find my meaning permanently. Someone who will not fail me. Something that won’t be taken away from me.
And that’s how I found Jesus.
It’s SO freeing failing an exam and knowing that that failure does not make me any less of a human. It’s SO freeing seeing my imperfections in the mirror and knowing that they don’t define me either.
I still have some small scars left on my face from that skin infection back then. Now it’s a reminder of God’s grace.
I like to think of them in the same way as when God had a wrestle with Jacob. He touched Jacob and hurt his hip. But Jacob’s life changed at that moment. He lost his old false identity and was given a new one in Christ. From that point on, he was to be called Israel. And that limp was meant to remind him of God’s grace.
So I kind of came to view the scars as a reminder that God changed my identity back then. He taught me not to place my identity in my looks or anything else. Now I have a new identity in Him.
Were there any times in your life when God would take away something from you in order to teach you to not put your identity in that thing? Are you putting your identity in something other than God now?