Who Am I?
At Fusion this past Thursday we looked at the things from which we draw our identity and/or our worth. Our culture tells us the we need to look a certain way, own certain things (lots of things), and we need to do certain things to be valuable, to be loved, and to be successful. But all these looks and things are arbitrary things that change constantly. A healthy self-image, identity, and self-worth is found in something that never changes, God.
Today women are told to they need to have a flat stomach, be skinny with large breasts and butt, and have a thigh gap. This standard is so ridiculous that the majority of women need to get plastic surgery to achieve it. The things considered attractive today (tanned, skinny, muscular) throughout most of history were considered unattractive because it meant you were poor and had to work hard labor.
We watched a video on identity which shows students wearing masks around their school. We put on these masks for many different reasons. We put them on because we are told that this mask is what is beautiful. We put on different masks to fit in with different people. We use these masks to hide who we really are because we do not want to let people see the real us and reject the real us.
The truth is every single person on this planet is a loser. We all have lost something: our self-respect, our passion, our way, our identity. But another truth is that God loves losers! The Bible is full of losers: Moses was a murderer, Jacob was a chronic liar, Noah was a drunk, Rahab was a prostitute, David was an adulterer, Jeremiah was depressed, Peter had no self-control, Timothy was too young and was a coward, Paul tried to commit genocide. But despite all these things God calls them righteous, forgiven, saints, and children of God. Their identity and worth is not wrapped up in what they did or how the world saw them but in what God called them.
I put a mirror next to the stage and had the students come up and write on it the negative things that they think of themselves when they look in the mirror or the negative things others say. Written were things like ugly, no friends, unloved, fat. I added my own that I have and continue to struggle with: coward, useless. But the truth is that everyone of us deserved death for what we have done and what we will continue to do but God loves us so much that he died on the cross for us so that we did not have to die. He was raised to life so that we can live forever with him. Jesus loved us so much that he died in a horrific way. He was whipped and beat to near death. He was so weak he couldn’t carry his cross and had to walk out of town while people yelled and spit at him. On the hill he had his hands nailed to the cross. Some say that his arms were not long enough and so they had to dislocate his shoulder to get it to the right spot. They then took one nail and put it through both is feet and hung him up until he died. He did this for you, for the person next to you, and for me.
No longer are we alone but friends of Jesus (John 15:15); we aren't ugly but called God's masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10); there is nothing we can do that can't be forgiven by God (1 John 1:9); we all have a purpose and a use on this earth (Acts 1:8); and we are all deeply loved by God (Romans 5:8).
Instead of having discussion questions we invited the students to share with their small groups the struggles they are having and our leaders prayed over them. I invite you to pray over issues of self-worthy, self-image, and self-respect that your kids are facing.