I'm Harmony, and I’m currently a rising senior at Duke University studying Psychology & Theater, with a Certificate in Journalism.
"And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised...Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5: 15, 17
When I think back about my testimony and what my life story is about, I can’t help but think of the journey I have been on to find out who I am. To many of you, that might sound extremely vague and cheesy. Honestly, even to me, the answer would have been something vague and extremely unoriginal at different points in my life. However, the answer to this question was a valuable one for me, and I hope it encourages you as well!
I grew up in a Chinese Christian family, and we went to church every Friday and Sunday, because my dad was an elder. Given the perfectionistic expectations of my Asian culture, along with the view of Christianity that can so easily become based on works, I began to believe that who I was depended on what I did. Even after I accepted Jesus as my Savior and got baptized, I was still convinced that I needed to be the perfect little girl to the best of my ability. I tattled other kids out for misbehaving. I made puppy dog eyes whenever my innocence was questioned. I did everything I was supposed to, and I knew all the aunties and uncles in church loved me for it.
However, as I grew older, acting perfect got in the way of forming real relationships with people. My closest friends in elementary school suddenly wouldn’t talk to me in middle school, because I was too untainted, or too perfect to understand what they were going through. In reality, I wasn’t perfect, and I wasn’t too ignorant to understand, or at least empathize with what they were going through. Acting perfect started taking its toll on me, and I realized that perfection isn’t something that can actually be attained.
The next few years of middle and high school were marked by periods of rebellion and “freedom.” Just like how the prodigal son wanted his own freedom from his father, I began taking advantage of the freedom I found in being able to drive, having my own email account, and owning my personal cell phone. During these years, God was like the father I knew who loved me, yet who I didn’t want to be intimate with. Instead, I found myself relying on romantic relationships over supportive, Christian friendships, or even family.
Then, after joining Life Transforming Foundation and into college, my view of Christianity and my relationship with God began to change. I learned from my friends at Duke that God loves me not for what I do, but for who I am. With all of my imperfections, God wanted to have a real relationship with me. Not one where he is high above and looking down, but one where he gives me peace directly by being in my heart.
At first, I didn’t know what to do with this realization. If God loves me for ME, then who AM I? From here, God reminded me of my never changing identity in Jesus Christ as His perfect, beloved daughter. Every time that I have strayed, every sinful thought that ever crossed my mind, and all of the emotions I experience that do not come from God, all have no power over how God sees me as his redeemed. Every day, I desire to be refreshed with this knowledge that God is here with me, loving me for who he has reclaimed me to be. I am adopted into his family now. There’s no thing, no person, and no circumstance that can separate me from God, and who he sees me as.
Finally, the last two years, God has continued deepening my roots in him. There have been times when I have strayed and found false identities for myself in other people, but God has always found a way to get my attention, and bring me back to himself. So, what is the answer to who I am?
I am a child of the one true living God, who saved me from my sins and continues to make me new every day.
That is who I am, and what I am trying to remind myself every day. With God as my Father, I can stay standing strong no matter what tries to knock me down. With God as your Father, you can do all these things too!
Enjoy this new song from Sidewalk Prophets, "Prodigal" :)