Tonight I was decluttering my computer space and sorting through old documents in hopes of decluttering my mind and becoming the minimalist I aspire to be. I came across an article I wrote during the first few months of college and never posted. The article was simply titled “Reinvention.” It expressed the desire to reinvent my identity in college, move away from insecurities in high school, and become who I wanted to be. And yet I had found myself frustrated at the lack of genuine connection in college. So far college was a constant get-to-know-you game of introducing myself and excitedly making empty promises to hang out. I expressed my weariness at forever feeling new. I wanted to know people and for people to know me in a way I was never known in high school. Yet I concluded by reassuring myself that deep relationships would come in time and by committing to continue to introduce myself and make myself present until those relationships formed.
As a junior looking back on these reflections, I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness. Those deep relationships and genuine connections I longed for? Freshman-me was right. They have come with time. The desire to reinvent myself? When I surrendered that desire over and stopped aiming for a new identity, Jesus completely reinvented me. (Or perhaps, I am an invention in progress, being ideated over the years.)
Jesus flipped one hundred and eighty degrees all of my preconceived notions about my college experience. He flipped my major, my language of study, my summer opportunities, my leadership roles, my future career plans. And His plan has truly been SO much better than I could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
This afternoon a good friend and I reflected on the idea that people “find themselves” in college. And yet what we have found is not ourselves but our Jesus. The closer we get to Jesus and the more we discover who He is, the more we discover about ourselves. It’s beautiful irony. In finding Him, I have found myself.
I love myself more than I ever have. I am learning to fall in love with my imperfections and embrace my quirks. I am so much happier with the person I see in the mirror today than the person I saw a year ago. I have realized what makes my face light up and also what makes my heart ache. I have let go of things that caused me stress and embraced what gives me life. Slowly slowly I am continuing to find myself in Jesus.
I did not have to reinvent myself to get here. Even freshman-me realized faking an identity would probably end up leaving me empty. Instead I had to surrender my identity and allow my Maker to continue inventing me by His design. Sometimes it is a painful process. I have to continually surrender my insecurities over, and often I don’t see what God is doing. But His character never changes. He has answered the fears and desires I had years ago, and I trust He will keep answering the ones I offer up today.