Mental Health: Identity

Written by Nicholas Venti (Brockton, Massachusetts)

Nicholas is a single father of 2 boys and have been working as a Facility Operations Supervisor for the last 10 years. He passionately loves his church, running and spending time with his kids. He coaches his older son's basketball team as well and volunteers with the Youth ministry in church because of his love to connect with young people.

April 16, 2024

My name is Nick Venti and I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ!
I have two boys and I love to run!
I have been running for about four years and I have a love/hate relationship with it.

To tell you a little bit about my background with Christianity, I was baptized when I was 12, but really did not develop a relationship with Christ until my early twenties.
Jesus has been a consistent part of my life even during the times when I was not consistently spiritual.
Over the years, He has been faithful to no end. Jesus has revealed so much to me through His word about who He truly is and who I should be.

Mental health has been a battle for me.
When it comes to addiction, I have struggled with pretty much anything you can get addicted to.
I looked for substance in the world to take the throne of my heart and found emptiness at the end of each journey.
BUT it led me to the Almighty.
Through mental struggle and the sin that so easily entangles, I have grown closer to our Savior and have taken a hold onto the identity that He gave to me before the foundation of the world was laid.

Do I still struggle? Absolutely!
I wake up depressed, lonely, hopeless, and questioning my worth from time to time.
I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to reassuring myself of my worth to the King.
It was not until recently that I really took the time out to study my identity in Christ.
Throughout my life, I allowed others to tell me who I am and what I am worth, effectively blocking what the Creator had for me.
That’s on me for sure.
“You have messed up too many times.”
“You will never be good enough.”
“You are ugly and fat. Who would want you?”
It may seem funny when you read it, but those types of statements floated through my head for a long time.
I strongly believe others can relate to my struggle. 

What was I to believe?
Was I to continue to wake up and look in the mirror only to see what the world has said about me?
OR…could I find my identity written in the scriptures and inscribed on the tablet of my heart?
Through advice from friends and family, I was encouraged to look intently into the Word of God.
I would love to share my findings with you.

Did you know that the Lord

“…made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

Psalms 139:13-14 (NLT)

Or what about

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

Those are only two examples of how the Lord feels about us.
We were carefully and lovingly created.
We were buried in baptism and born again to a new life because of a loving God “who loved me and gave himself for me.” It seems to me that I am worth more than what the world tells me.
The creator of the universe has more in store for me than just looking in the mirror and questioning what I see.

I am loved. I am cared for. I am redeemed. I have purpose.
These are the statements that I can repeat to myself daily and know they are true.
Why?
Because that’s what a perfect God said.
He’s never wrong.

Try this one on for size.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
“They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)

Sounds to me like God has big plans for those who seek Him.
Him, not the world.
That is where I had it all wrong.
My negative self-talk was rooted in the world where I looked for answers to questions that the Lord already had the most beautiful responses for.
I just had to get up off the couch and look.
No one ever ran a marathon from their couch or conquered an ultra-marathon from the comfort of their bed.
Let this encourage you to act.
Seek the Lord!
Trust Him and not what those negative voices tell you.
The enemy wants to make a prison inside your head and keep you trapped.
Don’t let him devour you with lies.

The concept of changing how you view yourself is not easy.
It takes time and effort, but it is worth it.
You are worth it.
Training for a run takes time, patience with yourself, and effort.
Somedays your run will come with ease and other days it will be complete drudgery.
You will need a team!
Accountability partners and other believers will accompany you on this journey, encouraging you and speak truth into your life.

“Iron Sharpens Iron” as Proverbs 27:17 says.
The cool thing is, you get to do the same thing for others, and it makes you feel good!
Funny how that works.

God has so much in store for us…WAY MORE than the things we tell ourselves.
We are not our failures or shortcomings.
Jesus paid it all for us.
He was beaten, spit on, mocked, crucified….
But He rose on the third day.
He got back up.
Despite what the world told Him, Jesus had a mission from the Father.
Could you imagine if Jesus listened to all the negative voices?
What if He gave in to all the people who mocked Him and believed their lies?
If Jesus took the easy route and didn’t press on towards Calvary…

Let us take our Lord’s example and press on.
To those of us that have ears, let us hear what God has to say about us.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

DON’T LET THE VOICES SLOW YOU DOWN OR TRIP YOU UP. RUN THE RACE!

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?
So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training.
They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
So I run with purpose in every step.
I am not just shadowboxing.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (NLT)

Look to Jesus.
Hear what the Father has to say about you.
Remember who you truly are and run the race!!

Prayer & Reflection:
– What are some voices in your life that you need to filter so that you can better grasp the truth about who you are in Christ?
– Are there any crisis you are currently facing in terms of your identity?
– Meditate upon Galatians 2:20 and Psalm 139:13-14 and ask the Lord to speak to you about your identity in Christ.

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2 Comments
  1. TIM BARNARD

    Excellent commentary! Thank you for sharing your life with us! We are nothing without Christ, but everything with Him! Keep running the race!

    Reply
  2. Julian Macias

    Thank you for sharing your testimony and scriptures. Be encouraged as you encourage others. Thank you for blessing me with this read today.

    Reply

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