A friend of mine recently had to fill out some paperwork for a new job. She encountered the following question:
“Which gender do you most closely identify with?” The obvious choices of Male and Female were offered to her, along with the option of “Other”.
Needless to say, we got a good laugh out of this question….only in modern America.
Once I stopped chuckling, I began to reflect on the underlying causes for inserting a question like this. In reality, the issue of gender identification isn’t funny, it very often is rather tragic.
We are each created in the image of God, having been planned for lovingly, wonderfully formed, with great purpose set before each of us. But instead of hearing the tender whispers of our Father, we hear the brutal lies of Satan encouraging us, daring us to reject our authentic selves….to blame God for perceived imperfections….to believe at our core that who we are is inherently flawed.
We can be cruel to those who want to change gender, to finally feel comfortable in their skin. Still, don’t we strive to change so many things about ourselves, subtle or obvious, so that we can “fit in”, feel less alone, be accepted, or try and cover up the shame and scars that cripple us emotionally?
I’ve been guilty of this for sure.
I’ve accused God of making me wrong…..why do I have a ginormous mole on my face? have nystagmus, making my eyes wiggle incessantly which has caused me so much grief as a child? allow me to suffer desperately from depression and terrifying panic attacks?
I’ve believed the lies of Satan…..Julie is inherently worthless…..Julie must prove herself constantly in order to be loved….Julie is insignificant and expendable…..abuse and pain Julie suffered will define her for the rest of her life.
I’ve tried to change and be what I thought others would want, I’ve hidden behind facades, I’ve been inauthentic, I’ve retreated out of fear, I’ve lashed out in hurt…..I’ve done it all.
But despite it all grace broke in. The same grace followers of Jesus should constantly be extending outwardly to others. Jesus tore away my false self, exposed Satan’s lies, took on my shame, and is loving away all of my fear.
Jesus has validated who I am…my gender, my personality, my looks, my desires….it was all given to me with a purpose, just as he has made everyone else completely on purpose and with delight.
He showed me that I am beautiful in his eyes….never alone…..non-expendable….significant….loved…..embraceable.
And so are YOU.