I’ve had issues with my identity from a young age. I struggled to find different ways to define myself, because of insecurities stemming from a fear of rejection. As a pre-teen, I solely wore boy’s clothes because I wanted to be taken seriously & heard by the classmates around me. The girls who were ‘pretty’ and wore stereotypical ‘girl clothes’ weren’t usually taken seriously by the boys, so I decided I wouldn’t be like them.
As a young teen, I gravitated towards being the ‘unique one’ of my friend group. I would wear between 10-20 bracelets & watches (not a good look, even for 2008!) and a flower headband every day so I could feel seen. As I went through high school I started branding myself as a perfectionist, band geek nerd etc. because that’s who I thought I was. Every time I would introduce myself on the first day of a new class it was “Hi, I’m Rylie. I like to sing, I’m in choir & band.” My world revolved around ‘being smart’, and excelling in music. I became so invested in these identities, that when they were taken away, it felt like I had lost myself.
When I was 17 and in the middle of my senior year of High School, my family and I moved almost across the country from British Columbia to Ontario. As I took the last of my schooling online, I kind of went into an identity crisis. Who was I? For so many years I was someone who was identified by what they did. I’m in a completely different province, and I can be anything I want. Who am I really?
The next few months were a huge growing period for me. I realized the identities I had held so tightly to were flimsy and not really who I strived to be. I asked myself questions like, “At the end of my life, what will people remember me by?” I dug into Scripture and found life-giving verses about who I truly am, and what God thinks of me.
I am a temple, where the Holy Spirit Dwells:
“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16 NLT
I’m cared for, and never forgotten:
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalms 56:8 NLT
He sees me as a vessel for His Spirit, even though I’m flawed:
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I learn more about Him & myself every day, and the more I press into Him, the more I realize who I am. To answer the question I asked myself “What will people remember me by?” I hope people remember me by my love for people & for Jesus. I’ve realized that’s all that really matters in the end.