“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Having your identity stolen has got to be one of the most frustrating things that can ever happen to anyone. Not only is it a hassle because you’ve got to go through so much in order to make sure the banks realize it wasn’t you who purchased the new bedroom set and the new 60″ T.V, but on top of that, now you have to take time out of your busy schedule to go down to the DMV and get a new license, because the old one was in the wallet that was stolen. So much can happen in a matter of minutes, if we are not careful where we place our belongings.
It reminds me of Mary when she accidentally left Jesus behind after bringing Him to His first Passover visit. She was so caught up in her own world, talking to her friends; that she misplaced her most valuable possession. It took Mary three days to find Jesus; and if I believed in luck, I would call her lucky for finding Him that quick. When I lost sight of Jesus, it took me 6 years to find Him.
When I was growing up I lost sight of Jesus. I was sexually abused and let down by many people. I grew up without my father around and my mother worked long hours. In the midst of all of that, Satan recognized my weakness and just like a thief, he broke into my life and took possession of who I was.
For many years I identified myself as whatever the enemy wanted me to be. After being sexually abused by three men who I considered part of my family, not only did I build resentment and hatred towards men, but I began to look at women as weak creatures. In my mind, men only wanted women for sex and the fact that so many women fall into this trap of being dependent on a man made me look at them as weak. I couldn’t afford to be weak. I didn’t want to be like those women; so before I could even really think about it, I began to dress in men’s clothing.
I asked myself so many times “why couldn’t I have been born a man?” I decided, that in my relationships I would take on the role of being the man, I would protect my family, my woman. I made sure every single aspect of my femininity was put away. I couldn’t hide the fact that God created me with breasts, but I could wear clothes that hid that part of me as much as possible.
Little by little, by beholding this new persona I had adopted, my character started to change and I realized that by trying hard not to seem weak to the people around me, I started to become like the people I hated so much. In turn, I started to hate myself. I started to treat women the same way I saw these men treat their women, and I began to look at them with the same lustful eyes these men looked at them. Without realizing it, along the way I had picked up an identity that had my name on it but wasn’t mine.
The devil painted this deceptive image of me because he knew I loved a beautiful painting, but the problem with that is, true beauty isn’t visible to our worthless human eyes. We often cannot appreciate true beauty, because if we did, we’d be able to recognize the beautiful creature God created, when He created you.
So, Satan painted this picture; and he gave me these sunglasses that covered my eyes from the Light (Jesus), and in this picture I saw a future I had never seen before. I saw a wife, and kids—I saw my life as a man, and how “happy” I would be. I wanted this picture bad, so bad, I was willing to give my life for it.
The Road Back
For many years I suffered, feeling alone, wanting to end my life, and feeling trapped in this vicious circle that seemingly had no end.
But then, Jesus came; like the superhero that He is, and He helped me realize that my identity had been stolen. He helped me realize that He had been looking for me (Proverbs 5:21; 2 Chronicles 16:19). He had been trying to get my attention calling out my name in the big crowd, but I was so lost and caught up in what was going on around me that I couldn’t hear His voice. The best part about it was that, Jesus had done all the hard work for me. He had already suffered the death I should’ve suffered and He provided a new identity for me. But this time my identity reveals that I belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:20). If I ever take a wrong turn and accidentally misplace that I.D again, all I have to do is look for Him, and He will gladly remind me of Who I belong to.
I was so afraid of coming back to Christ, not because I believed He wouldn’t accept me, but because I had believed this fake identity for so long. My self-esteem as a woman was so low, I didn’t believe I could ever be with a man, I couldn’t picture myself ever being a wife.
I remember asking my sister to go shopping for me, and I began to get rid of so many things in my closet. I was afraid, but I knew in my heart that God was going to help me through this process. I remember putting on a certain outfit my sister bought for me, and looking at myself in the mirror as I got dressed, and for the first time I saw myself through God’s eyes. I felt His presence and hearing His voice in my heart, confirming that I did not have to do this alone. And I believed Him. I knew then, as much as I know now, that no matter how bumpy the roads get, He will be with me until the end (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20).
Jesus helped me realize that my identity isn’t found in whether I date women or men. My sexuality doesn’t define who I am. My identity is found in Christ; and as long as I am following Him, there is no need to look elsewhere for my happiness. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
We live in a society where everyone’s goal is to be different. It is too boring to be just regular old you. I mean, who are you really? What is your identity? And how would you know whether it’s been really stolen or not? God tells us in Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in His own image.” But the question is; what does it mean to be created in the image of God?
This question may be very hard to understand; but the answer lies within just three words: “we are unique” God is unique. We see many examples in the Bible where He proves to us and tells us that there is only ONE of Him. And the reality is, there is also just ONE of YOU. There are approximately 7 billion people in this planet Earth, if not more; but in this whole planet, you will not find someone who has your identity. There is only one person who has your fingerprints, there is only one person who will have your exact DNA; and that person, is YOU. That thief who Jesus mentions in John 10:10, is Satan.
The devil HATES Jesus, and he’s not too fond of you either, because just like Jesus, we are unique. Ever since the Garden of Eden, his mission has been and still is today to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to steal YOUR identity, he wants to kill YOUR spirit, and he wants to destroy YOUR soul. But there’s a promise in that verse; where Jesus says “I have come that they (meaning you) may have LIFE, and that they (meaning you) may have it more abundantly.”
You see, the devil wants us to lose sight of who Jesus is. In the midst of our trials, instead of looking to Jesus he wants us to look at what society wants us to be. He (the enemy) wants us to identify with the distractions he has built for us in the world.
You see, we all want happiness, we all want to love and to feel loved, but not every love we feel comes from God. I see so many young people today falling for the same picture I fell for. I see so many young men and women walking into a life that brought me nothing but misery, and loneliness. The devil knows the Bible more than you and I, and so he mixes a little truth with many lies and hands you this shot of corrupt vodka. We think it tastes good at first, but then it burns at the end (Proverbs 23:31-32).
No matter how hard the journey becomes for us, there are many beautiful promises in the Bible where God assures us that we were hand-picked for a reason. Don’t fall for the false image that the enemy wants to sell you. There is nothing in the world that will ever satisfy your thirst for love and happiness the way Jesus can. He is our living water, our light, our shield, and our reward. There is nothing greater (John 14:14, John 8:12, Genesis 15:1). That is my story, and my true identity.
Karol lives in Bridgeport, CT and operates Redeemed by His Blood, Ministries.