Juanita Rodriguez

Bologna, Italy

I always felt less than

My entire life I struggled with where I belonged, who I was, and feeling less than everyone else. I never fit into the molds that this world considered normal. In High school I was never the really smart kid or the popular kid. I didn’t necessarily have a group of friends to which I belonged. I was the girl that most people had heard of but didn’t really know. At home, it was difficult for me to identify with my parents, who were both born in Mexico and moved to the United States as teenagers to make something of themselves. They had overcome things in their lives that I could never imagine. So, in my mind, that automatically made me less than them. Outside of home I wasn’t just American, which automatically made me feel less than everyone.

It wasn’t until the end of High School that this really began to affect me.  It really bothered me that I didn’t 100% belong somewhere. I really struggled with who I was. Everyone in my life just assumed I was happy. And even though I knew Jesus, and I had grown up going to church, in reality I was in this constant state of critiquing myself because I was convinced that everyone was better than me, because they all seemed to have it together.

Entering college, God had somehow put on my heart to be intentional with finding a community of other believers. It was at my freshmen orientation that I found myself really drawn to this student ministry called CRU. Immediately as a freshman, I found myself joining their leadership team- and it was then that God really provided a family of believers who showed me authentic love, asked for my thoughts and my input, trusted me, taught me to be bold in my faith, showed me what it meant to be a leader, and constantly showed me God’s grace. For the first time in my life I felt like I had a purpose and I could confidently say that I found my identity in Christ, because my CRU community was helping me to see what that identity really was.

It was in my time in college that I realized who God has created me to be. I am this beautiful creation who was made in His image with specific traits and gifts to be a vessel for God, who still loves me regardless of my faults and selfish ways. My job is not to compare myself to everyone else or the standards this world has set for me. It is to tell others how I can wake up in the morning and finally feel purpose and meaning in my life. Now there are bad days every now and then, but it is because of my faith in Christ and this relationship I have with Him that I know regardless of how I feel that day, God still loves me.


Galatians 5:24-26

 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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