My daughter had the privilege of attending our church's girls camp this year. It's a opportunity for girls ages 12-18 and their leaders to participate in a camping experience for multiple days learning outdoor skills such as cooking and camping, growing their faith through activities testimony sharing, and connecting with one another through secret acts of service and recreational activities. I remember as a young woman that being something that I looked forward to every year!
When she came home and told me about all the experiences she had, I knew that I needed to share one specific experience to help YOU have the same understanding of your identity.
Our confused world NEEDS to know this!
She participated in an activity that was referred to as the "mirror walk". The girls would be on a short walk/hike by themselves and come up to a leader who was holding a mirror. The girls would see a short phrase that they were asked to say using the "I statement" while looking at themselves in the mirror. The leaders, who were situated behind the mirror would then repeat the phrase using the "You statement". The following are some of the powerful, purposeful, and pertinent phrases.
I can do hard things.....YOU can do hard things.
I am kind, I am smart, I am important.....YOU are kind, YOU are smart, YOU are important.
I have people who care about me and will help me if I need it......YOU have people who care about YOU and will help YOU if YOU need it.
I matter, and what I have to offer this world also matters.....YOU matter, and what YOU have to offer this world also matters.
I am a beautiful daughter of God...YOU are a beautiful daughter of God.
Can you see how repeating these phrases using the word YOU really helps to focus on what YOUR identity is? It's an individual phrase that can't be replaced or overgeneralized. YOU are important and matter! YOU individually are unique, yet YOU are loved the same, regardless of what you might feel at times. I am so grateful that this was reinforced to my daughter while she was away from our home for the first time!
How often do we allow the world, our family or our friends tell us who we are, how to act or what to do and we don't fully understand or feel the same purpose that they see? There are many who are trying to figure out what their identity entails, with no clear answer. Let me shed some simple light, regardless of what you might be feeling.
Our identity can't and shouldn't come from exterior influences.
Our identity comes from within.
Who we are was already decided before we came to Earth. We were predestined to be GREAT! We have the opportunity to learn to be perfect like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. While we will never achieve such perfection in this life, we have the hope that our efforts combined with the Savior's grace will turn our weaknesses into strengths until we become perfected in Christ.
As a daughter of God, I too struggle with understanding my purpose, potential and existence on this Earth. Sometimes I roam from week to week hoping that I'm making the impact on the world that God would have me leave. I wonder if I do enough, say enough and be enough of an example that portrays my deep rooted love for my Savior and all that He has done to ensure my happiness on this Earth. I sometimes worry that I'm not setting my priorities straight or leading others to the light of the gospel. I sometimes feel like my efforts, passions, knowledge and influence aren't making a difference. I often look for more opportunities to serve others to regain my spiritual strength to press forward during the hard times. What matters in all of this, is that I take the time to reflect and find areas that I can improve upon and move forward.
There will be times when you will struggle with some of the aforementioned phrases, but that doesn't have the be the halt of your spiritual growth potential. YOU can silently envision someone repeating the same words to you that my daughter's leaders repeated to her as if the Savior were saying them directly to YOU.
YOU can do hard things!
YOU do matter and have a lot to offer the world!
YOU do have people who care about you and will help you!
YOU are kind, smart and important!
YOU are a beautiful daughter of God!
With this knowledge, we can be who our Savior needs us to be; a strong human being that will affect the lives of others for good. We can't spend too much time saying we "can't" do something, be something or say something that would qualify us to receive His love any less. We have divine potential that will carry us through the days that we can't identify who we are.
Our identity will never change, no matter what we feel, don't feel, say, don't say, do or don't do. It has already been decided and NOTHING can take that truth away.
YOU are a child of our loving Heavenly Father.