SAN ANTONIO—Teenage girls and young women deal with the pressures of living up to standards set by others, but at the Shine Girls’ Conference in San Antonio, they focused on the identity Jesus called them to have.
At the conference, sponsored by Union Feminil Misionera de Texas and the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, young women shared their experiences in leadership and encouraged others to move toward becoming the person Christ wants them to be. Key speakers included social media influencers Edyah Barragan and Kirby Minnick.
Too often, women can grow up in the church without ever receiving the right message of the identity they must have in Jesus, Barragan said.
“Since I never heard about it through the church, I adapted to whatever [identity] the world told me to have,” she said.
Many young women feel safer and more comfortable adapting to the world rather than following Jesus, Barragan explained.
“If we don’t know the words of Jesus, we may believe what the world says,” she added.
God provides real meaning
Sin corrupts who God wishes people to be, Minnick said. Just like the Apostle Paul, who described his struggle with sin in Romans 7, “We continue to fall into sin too,” she said.
When they sin, people trade what is good for what is temporal, Minnick said. But through Jesus, “we can overcome the world,” she added.
Everything the world offers is like vapor, and only God gives meaning to the things people need, she said.
The body image the world demands and the popularity the world says young women need are examples of the empty and temporal identities Satan offers, Minnick observed.
Embracing the understanding the world offers may lead young women into substance abuse, eating disorders and inappropriate understanding of sexuality, she said.
“We need to know the truth so we can differentiate from the falsehoods the world is giving us,” Minnick said.
Like Gideon, the reluctant warrior in the Old Testament book of Judges, God wants people to be more than whom they think they can be, Barragan said.
“We can shine when we believe the words of God,” she said.
As young women find their identity in Jesus, others will criticize and detest them, Barragan noted. But she encouraged them to remember, “You have been called by God regardless of what others say.”
“My identity is in Christ and not in people’s opinions,” Barragan said.