For most of my life I battled insecurity. As a child and teen I was never happy with how I looked and I longed to have a more outgoing personality. I was constantly looking to other people, my achievements, and my strengths to answer the question “who do you say that I am”? I developed a false sense of self throughout my life because I focused on who I wished that I was or who I thought I needed to be in order for people to love and accept me. I wore a mask avoiding showing people the real me. I believed the lies that I was too quiet and not enough.
When I went to Bible college to pursue ministry and a career in counseling, I was forced to begin looking at my worth in some of the classes that I had to take. God began to show me who He says that I am. I began to make the exchange for who I thought I was or who others had said that I was for who He said I was. Even then it was still a battle. I continued to find my worth in my grades, in guys that I dated, etc.
I would subconsciously ask them “who do you say that I am?”
After my husband and I got married we began our full-time ministry journey at the young age of 21. Because I still struggled so much with my identity, I then began to seek approval from the people that we served, from Pastors that we worked for, from people that I admired, and my career. Really all through my 20s I would subconsciously ask them “who do you say that I am?”. I began to fall into the traps that many people in ministry do of conforming to the labels and expectations that people had on me of what a pastor’s wife should be. I began to put their opinions over what God said about me. Even in my career I bought into the lies that I needed to have a certain house, drive a certain car, dress a certain way, in order to appear successful. I felt like a hamster on a wheel that was running so fast, but going nowhere.
When I turned 30 I had a really hard time. I had put an immense amount of pressure on myself to have achieved certain things by the time I turned 30. I got pretty depressed and began to battle anxiety. With God’s help and Godly friends, I began to realize the lies that I had come to believe about who I thought I should be. My identity was so wrapped up in the way things appeared and not so much about what was happening in my core. I knew I had to begin to make some shifts. I needed to allow God to do a transforming work in my heart and soul.
I think quite often for women in ministry we can get so wrapped up in our titles, our platforms, who others say that we are, even who our spouses say that we are that we lose ourselves in it all. It’s dangerous territory when we are looking to other things and people to make us secure versus finding that security in Christ. One thing I know is that when you live in a fish bowl like we do, people are always going to have an opinion about what they think we should be doing, not doing, wearing, etc. I have met so many women in ministry that have fallen into this trap and are battling depression, anxiety, and burnout all because we have forgotten that, at the end of the day, our identity can only be found in Christ and Christ alone.
In my 30s, after about 10 years of ministry, I got sick and tired of striving and began to pursue wholeness and freedom for myself. I knew that God was calling me to something greater, but first He needed to do it inside of me. I have found that our greatest callings often come out of our greatest areas of weakness. I began to realize that in order to answer the question of “who do you say that I am” I had to learn who Jesus really was. If we are made in the image of God, then we will become our truest selves when we understand who He is.
If we are made in the image of God, then we will become our truest selves when we understand who He is.
Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
I was encouraging others to be in the Word and to discover their worth in Christ, but I realized that I wasn’t doing the same. I began to dive into scripture to study who Jesus really is. Once I did that I could then discover who I was. I began to establish my identity through renewing my mind. I began to really love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind. In turn, I began to love myself. I began to exchange the core lies that I had believed with His truth. I was set free.
I turned 40 on August 7th and when I look back at the past 19 years of ministry, I can see the transforming work of God in my life. As a lead pastor’s wife now, I am so thankful for the freedom I have experienced because there is nothing quite like being the leader that invites even more criticism into your life. I’m still human, so it hurts at times, but I don’t get shaken by it like I used to--because I know to whom I ultimately answer. I know where my worth comes from. And now, I can share that with other women. It isn’t something I just say, but it’s something I believe to the core of my being because I’ve walked it out.
I’m not even scared about turning 40 like I did turning 30 because I know who He says I am. I can preach with much more authority and conviction, knowing His word is living and active because I have personally allowed it to do a work in my life. Whenever I struggle now, I just simply get quiet before God and ask Him these questions, “Father, who do you say that I am?” and “How do you see me?”. He is faithful to answer. My prayer is that you’ll get quiet before Him today, too, and ask Him those questions. He sees you. Let’s be women who allow the same Jesus that we preach about to be that Jesus to us.
Who Do You Say I Am? is ENTRY ONE in our blog series, Beneath the Surface. Did this message speak to your heart? It would thrill us if you'd share it with the women under your influence and other ministry wives.
Kim Masengale has been married for 19 years to Mel and the couple has two amazing daughters, Abbie (16) and Emma (13). They've been in full time ministry for 19 years and have done everything from youth ministry to now lead pastors. These Texas/Oklahoma natives now call Indiana, Pennsylvania their home where they pastor Summit Church. Kim serves as the Women's Pastor & Small Groups Director. She loves coffee (a lot), enjoys working out ("when I actually do it"), watching Gilmore Girls re-runs, and spending time with friends and family.