When We Let Others Define Who We Are

When We Let Others Define Who We Are

I dug my well deep.

Every day I dropped my bucket down into the depths and filled it with words of affirmation. Sometimes it was a compliment from a friend. Other times it was a note or a comment I’d received from a fellow writer.

One Tuesday morning my youngest boy gave me a huge bear hug and wrapped his entire body around me tight. I was weary but felt like that embrace would get me through the morning and give me fuel for the day.

The love of my family and community was my soul food.

Eventually I dropped my bucket down and there was nothing there. Like a wanderer in the middle of a desert, I looked around for a drink but here was none. I felt lost and depleted, like I’d lost my bearings somehow.

Thoughts of defeat and angst filled my head. Somewhere in the eyes of my heart, I knew the words weren’t from my Creator, but I continued to listen to them.

No one appreciates you. Why do you bother?

Instead of fighting the enemy of my soul, I laid down and wallowed in the lies that filled my head. I spent the night tossing and turning, but in the morning I remembered the “one word” God had given me for 2016.


Being awake isn’t simply a state of our physical being. It requires intentionality and effort. It means taking conscious steps toward the Truth and training our minds to recognize what is false.

It takes no energy to conform to what Paul refers to as “the pattern of this world.” All we have to do is get out of bed and allow the media, gossip and talk around us to shape us into whatever the current trend decides we are.

But Paul tells us not to conform, but be transformed. And that takes work. It takes a conscious choice on our part. How do we do this? By transforming our mind.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

If we allow others to define us, our security will change like the rising tide. But God’s definition of who we are never changes, if we are in Him.

He says we are chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)

He says we are beloved. (Colossians 3:12)

He tells us as far as the east is from the west, so have our transgressions been removed from us. (Psalm 103:12)

The next time you throw that bucket into the well of life, remember there is only one source of Living Water. And his spring never runs dry.

This world and the people who inhabit it do not determine who you are. The one who hung on a tree and paid a price more precious than pure gold does.

Never forget who claimed you as his. Keep your eyes fixed on him, and remember your identity comes from Him alone.


16 thoughts on “When We Let Others Define Who We Are

  1. So true! I was doing this same thing a few days ago and just had to get ahold of myself and say, “This is NOT truth what I’m saying to myself”. And then dip into God’s Truth and what He says about us. So true! Thank you for these words!


  2. Great reminders to get our affirmation and worth from God, not from people. Easier said than done, as my love language is “words of affirmation” (and I do like to hear those words spoken orally!). But trusting that God appreciates our efforts and intentions far more than any human ever could anyway. Thanks for sharing this, Abby!


    • I can relate, Lisa. My love language is quality time, but words of affirmation have become so important since becoming a mom. They’re never a bad thing, of course, but I’m slowly learning to root myself in what HE says about me. Key word being slowly. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping here today!


  3. Love this!! Ive always tried to remember that I am not the person who I sometimes believe I am, I am not who others think I am, and Im also not what I think others think I am. We are His children. That is the identity I never want to lose sight of. Needed to read this today!!!


  4. Gosh Abby… your post so clearly defines how I’m letting my bucket down in the wrong well sometimes– feeding off the affirmation of others instead of the love of a gracious Father… Thank you for this reminder. You have a gift my friend. Keep going! ♥


  5. Abby, you’re speaking my heart. For much of my life, I’ve allowed myself to think I was defined by how others saw me, what they did/didn’t say to me. It’s taken years to undo the lies I believed as a girl and young woman. And like you said, what helped me move beyond the lies was listening to what GOD said about me, and then believing them. That changed my life. Loved your post here today.


  6. Hi Abby, my husband and I have been hammering on the issue of compromise even within our faith. I am grateful that God breaks us from all these bondage.
    I love your heart!
    Many Blessings to you Abby.


  7. Know what Abby? I read this last week, and I guess I needed it a second time. Because when I came back, I read the whole thing again. I’m here with you, friend. Want to get my bucket filled by GOD! 🙂


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