Do you remember the carefree days of your youth? Do you remember chasing butterflies on a sultry, summer afternoon or fireflies at dusk when the sun was casting its evening glow? Oh that feeling—that sense of glorious freedom! Do you remember? I do!
I remember because it was at a time when I did not yet understand the meaning of guilt, or deception or condemnation—particularly self-condemnation. It seemed as I developed into a young girl, then a teenager and finally, a young woman, I was very hard on myself. I judged myself fiercely by comparing myself to other people around me—feeling I did not measure up, and developing an “identity crisis.”
Today, many girls and women are suffering a personal identity crisis. According to Focus on the Family eighty percent of teenagers are in an identity crisis. In addition to our own self-doubt and self-condemnation, we are being bombarded by direct marketing campaigns, by social media and the ever present comparisons and competitions amongst friends. With this, we have lost that beautiful sense of freedom that we had as young girls. How do we overcome? Is there an answer?
For me, I found the answer in a personal, loving relationship with Christ. In scripture, He says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” John 8: 32, 36 (NIV). Yes, when we give our hearts to Christ, as Lord and Savior of our lives, we can recapture that sense of freedom from guilt, condemnation, doubt and wrongdoing. We can stop judging ourselves harshly because we are His children, His girls, whom He loves with an unconditional love.
Today as we celebrate Ash Wednesday and begin the Season of Lent, let’s truly celebrate that youthful sense of freedom. Let’s give up our identity crisis, and find instead our value and significance as girls and women in the life, purpose and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then on Easter Sunday, let’s choose to run through the fields (or the front yard) with an inexpressible joy because we are free indeed!