I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. My first word was probably “horse,” I had horse shirts, movies, books, and a room that was saturated with every possible horse knick-knack and textile. My friends in school even called me “Horse Katie” (you know who you are, and y’all are great!). If there was an option to choose topics for school projects I wanted something horse-related. If there was a horse movie out in theatres, I begged to see it. My birthday and Christmas lists were filled with horse paraphernalia. In short, I was obsessed with those majestic four-legged creatures, and I’m probably the reason there are jokes about crazy horse girls in your Jr. High classes. Being the “horse girl” was a significant identifier for me growing up, and it’s still a part of my identity, but it isn’t where I find my worth anymore.
When we place our worth and identity in one area of our life, we put ourselves in a place to get hurt. We will never be able to measure up to another person’s standards, or the expectations that we think they have for us. We will never be happy when we find our worth in our jobs because those are fleeting. We will never be content when we find our worth in relationships because those fade. We will never be fulfilled when we find our worth in things of the world because it is all vapour, it all vanishes at some point.
For a long time I held on tight to horses as the nucleus of my identity, so when I was no longer able to ride them due to a serious injury I was lost. I felt like a ship with no anchor, victim to the wind and waves of uncertainty and depression. I had lost the only thing that made me unique, and so I no longer knew who I was without horses. I had put so much stock into that area of my life that when it was taken away from me (even briefly) I was torn apart. But it was in those fragments of my identity that I saw who I really was, who I was created to be and where my worth and identity actually come from.
When we resign ourselves to one descriptor, one style, one type, one box, we diminish our capacity to live. We never try anything new because “that’s not who we are,” but how do we truly know who we are if we’re only feeding one part of ourselves? God didn’t create us to be two-dimensional beings, locked in a particular path day in and day out. We were created to create because we belong to a creative Creator (try saying that five times fast). Human beings are multi-dimensional creatures, and that is a beautiful thing. We don’t have to live confined to one label; we are free to live as children of God.
When we find our identity solely in Christ, we are living as who we are meant to be because we are listening to the One who formed us in the womb. We give power to whatever we let define us, whether that’s our job, how we look, or another person. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want another person or thing to have power over my life if they don’t want the absolute best for me. The only person that I want to dictate who I am and who can define me is someone who willingly died for me before I was even born — someone who is the embodiment of love, and someone who desires to see me flourish.
I no longer find myself in my job, my hobbies, my friends, or anything else. The only place that I look to for my worth is the One who created me because he saw that I was worthy of being created, and he has been ever-present since before time began. Redefining your identity may be hard. In fact, it might one of the hardest things that you do, but there is freedom to be found on the other side.