By KENYA PARKS
How I found my identity in God
I am so glad I don’t look like what I have been through. Sometimes it felt like I was living with good intentions, praying with all my heart, and aiming for God’s best, but the mountains in my life kept getting higher and higher. In my mind, this was a sign that God wasn’t with me. I entered relationships with men before learning to love myself. I became a mother not knowing how to love someone else. I became friends with women I despised. I became angry and bitter because of my brokenness that I was trying to hide.
I believe people and society make it hard for us to understand who we are. We are constantly presented with false images of what the perfect man or woman is supposed to be. From the time I was a child, I was told how I was supposed to look, dress and carry myself. Somewhere in the mix of those false truths, I lost the woman God created me to be.
After being sexually assaulted at 8 years old, I felt like I had nothing left to live for. I grew up not understanding the true essence of who I was. So often my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy held me hostage in my own mind. I was telling myself I wasn’t good enough. These lies of the enemy kept me hostage for too long.
There is no worse feeling than feeling you are not good enough, or that you are letting yourself and those who love you down, including God. It is life-changing when we discover that wrong thoughts are the root of our problems and that we can change our life by changing our thinking. Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts.
It wasn’t until I strengthened my mindset that my life began to change. What we do, the discipline we apply in our lives, the excuses we tell ourselves, and believe it or not, the effort we give, are all a direct reflection of our thoughts. Mentally I was spiraling out of control, but in my day-to-day life I still had to be a boss lady, mother, daughter, friend and counselor. I could never be off my game because I had far too many people depending on me.
I remember sitting in the middle of my bed, praying and crying out to God, “Why is it that You allow me to see the pain and problems of everyone else, but no one sees me?” I heard a voice whisper in the silence, “I see you; why isn’t that enough?” In that moment I realized it was enough, and that it was time I started to see myself.
I decided those would be the last tears I cried in that place. I needed some things to break off of me, and as I cried to God, I wasn’t just crying out on my behalf, but I was praying and crying for everyone who’d ever been in that place.
I’d been operating in fear because failure terrified me. God had to remind me that if I kept my eyes fixed on Him, fear would have no place. I had to understand that I was a daughter of the highest God, and because He is strong, in Him I am strong also. I was trying to go through life alone, and I failed miserably.
Fear begins with a thought, and when I changed my mindset, those thoughts changed. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Fear has killed more dreams than failure ever will. If you fail to try, you never will conquer what you cannot see. Some things we are meant to go through and fail at because failure builds character and good character builds confidence.
When you learn, recognize and believe God’s plan for you, the bumps in the road will still come with it, but in learning who you are through the eyes of your Creator, you strengthen your confidence, and you can and will recover successfully.
Kenya Parks is director of operations for Primos Café. She is the mother of one son, Jabari Harden, who is 17. She is a graduate of Jackson State University. Kenya is also the published author of two books and a prayer journal. “SCARS — Strengthen Your Confidence and Recover Successfully” is her latest work. Find out more about Kenya Parks at kenyascorner.org/scars.