God's love brings healing to the deep fear of rejection and removes the lables that had been glued onto Anna's heart.
One of the most precious things the Lord has done in my life has been restoring my identity to the person He created me to be. I’m not completely there, but I’m on the way.
"It was a painful daily existence."
Although I grew up in a loving home, I carried a strong fear of rejection, and a feeling that I was different from everyone else, that there was something wrong with me. In elementary school, I always felt alone, as if I didn’t have a right to be there. I actually felt that I didn’t even have a right to exist!
All the time, people said to me, "You're so quiet," or I would hear them say, "She's so quiet, she never says a word." And it was true! I was quiet. If someone doesn’t feel they have a right to exist, they won’t think that what they have to say is important. I believed that if I just kept quiet then no one would notice me and reject me.
It was a very painful daily existence. Going to school day after day expecting to be rejected was emotionally draining. I felt depressed much of the time.
On the other hand, I loved the academic side of school. I usually knew the answers to questions and would speak up in class discussions, where I felt safe and confident. My identity became wrapped up in the fact that I was an A student.
"something happened that rocked my world and threatened my identity"
Then, in high school, something happened that rocked my world and threatened my identity. My father left our family, and eventually my parents divorced. It was so emotionally difficult that my grades began to slip. This was traumatic because my grades were such a part of who I was. However, at the same time, the Holy Spirit began to woo my heart, and when I was 18 I gave my life to Jesus whole-heartedly. It was a major event in my life, of course, and I felt like I was walking on clouds for weeks.
Unfortunately, that feeling of being different, of not having a right to exist lingered. So I began to pour myself into church, praying and Bible study. All good things, of course, but I was trying to get my identity from them. The church I was going to at the time was all about performance and comparison; about how long we all prayed, how many people we led to the Lord that week, and how “spiritually mature” we were.
I eventually left that church, and learned much more about grace vs. works. But inside, I still had that feeling of not having a right to exist, of not belonging, of needing to be quiet. After college, I got married and began raising a family, and my identity became about being a good wife and mother. I also placed a lot of value in appearance, of having the right things, house, cars, clothes, etc.
Things looked pretty good on the outside but inside I still was that little girl who didn’t have a right to exist.
Change began in 2003 when I went to Toronto for the first time and was introduced to the love of our heavenly Father at a conference called “Father Loves You”. During a soaking time, I felt liquid love pouring into me. As that love poured over me, tears began to flow, as hurts from the past rose to the surface. All the longing to be accepted and loved was met that day by our heavenly Father.
I felt like I was born again, again.
"Then I heard Jesus speaking to me"
I heard a minister named Mark Stibbe speak, and he ministered specifically to people who had been adopted. I had been placed for adoption at birth. The rejection that I had always feared was rooted in being abandoned at birth. The feeling that I didn’t have a right to exist came from the fact that I was not celebrated or accepted by my birth parents. But I didn’t know all of this until the Lord began to heal my heart. That conference was a real time of healing for me, and started me on a journey of restoration of who I really am.
One day about two years later, during a ministry time, I had a vision of myself before I was born. I was a tiny baby in the womb, but I could hear people arguing and a lot of raised voices. Somehow, I decided even then that I was the cause for all the commotion, that I should not exist and that I must be very quiet. Then I heard Jesus speaking to me, in the womb. He said that He had planned my existence all along, that He had created me, and that He was excited that I was about to be born. He told me He loves me, and has great purpose for my life.
Right then, I decided to renounce the lies that I had believed and lived with for so long, and I accepted into my heart what Jesus was telling me. It was so freeing and liberating and healing! It felt true to my heart.
Since then, the Lord has continued to reveal to me who I really am, His precious daughter. He has revealed many truths to my heart about His purpose for me. He has drawn out my real personality, and guess what? I’m not actually quiet at all! He never wanted me to be quiet, but has given me a lot to say. Now I teach and minister and speak all the time, and people listen!
My identity is in Him, in the fact that I am His child, and that He loves me whether or not I do anything at all. He loves me just because I’m His child.
This is also true for you. If you haven’t yet experienced God’s love for you as your heavenly Father, then seek out that revelation for yourself. Open your heart to the truth that you are His child, and that He loves you with an everlasting love. That’s who you really are, His precious child.