As 20-somethings we can have a tunnel-vision focus on climbing the corporate ladder, 'discovering ourselves' through travel and the next big adventure, and finding 'the one', all the while trying our hardest to look our best 24/7 and developing invaluable friendships that will last a lifetime. It's a season of life that's both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. And if we're not careful about what we let fester in our mind, we can subconsciously begin to base our value off our friendships, relationships, career or body image.
It is a pleasure to introduce the ever-so-sweet Abbie Meyer, who will be sharing a four-part series on identity, as a 20 something. May Abbie's words inspire you and may her thoughts spark something in you, as you find where your identity really lies.
I have always loved friendships. Growing up, my parents home schooled me until my seventh grade year. I remember that first year in “real school” - I was the only kid in the whole school who would mourn snow days, because it meant being away from my new friends. Flash forward and my high school years were marked by making as many friends as possible, all the while secretly hoping that everyone would like me. I didn’t pay much mind to the type of influence that I was, or the influence others around me impressed upon my heart, as long as I felt like I belonged. Although I have since grown from this dangerous game I was playing, friendships have always been a struggle for me in terms of identity.
The other day, after a somewhat disheartening social engagement, I looked at my husband and confessed my fears, my frustrations, and my disappointments in friendships. I don’t know why these little things bother me so much, I said, it all seems so petty. Seeing straight into the depths of my soul, he answered that my struggle is not as much based in insecurities, as it is based in being accepted for who I am.
I long to be noticed, to be understood, to be loved, and to be seen. One of my deepest desires is for community to be the way that it was made to be- unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. I dream of beautiful inclusivity that radiates belonging. And little saddens my heart more than when community does not work as it should. When people are thrown out, disregarded, ignored, and trampled on, my soul weeps. But when we long to know others and for others to know us more than we long for the Lord to search our hearts, we are in danger of friendships becoming an idol.
The desire to be known is actually a God-given desire, because we are created in Christ’s image and He is the ultimate Lover, Forgiver, and Knower of our hearts. The Lord led me to Psalm 139 to confirm my beliefs that we are created with a longing to be seen. Phrases like “Lord, you have searched me and known me!”… “You are well acquainted with my ways”….”If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”… “”in your book were written, every one of the, the day that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”… jumped out at me red hot, burning the words God sees me into my heart. We long to be known, and the Lord longs for us to know that He understands us. We are created with holes in our hearts so vast that only the Lord is meant to fill them.
Chin up, friend. Not only does the Lord accept you, He created you and therefore you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139 continues “for you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb”… “wonderful are your works”…”my frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth”. He has seen you from the beginning- from before the beginning- and he delights in you, because wonderful are His works. You are intricate, wild one. Carefully woven together - every piece and every fiber - to create unique you. He sat down and painted you as His great masterpiece - and like the great Artist that He is, He knows His work inside and out.
Friendship is an incredible thing. For someone to peer inside the very depths of our souls, and love us all the same - now that is true beauty. There have been many times my community has lifted me when I struggled to lift myself, has encouraged me, has pulled me close, and has loved me well. But they will never fully see me and know me. Because that is not their job- it is my Father’s. Friendships are an extraordinary piece of us, but they are just that - simply a portion of us, and not the whole. Praise God that our identity is not found in the number of friends that we have, or the amount of texts we get on our birthdays. Because the God of the Universe knows us inside and out, every bone, every hair, every thought, every worry, every breath, and every beat of our hearts. God knows you. God sees you. God accepts you, just as you are.
Abbie is a 25-year-old living out of the abundance of Jesus' unending grace and mercy. She thrives off deep vulnerability and connection with others, while striving to live into the call of outpouring encouragement onto others. Often described as feisty, passionate, talkative, and compassionate, Abbie is an ENFJ through and through. You'll most likely find her training for a race, handlettering or painting, whipping up a new healthy and whole recipe in the kitchen, singing worship songs at the top of her lungs in my car, or watching The Office with her husband. What does she love most? Pretty light, hearing people's stories of redemption, peonies, her husband's smile, white walls, and the smell of rain.