Finding Our Identity in Christ: Going Deeper in Community

College has been much harder than I thought it would be. As a freshman, I hit a point where I was wondering why I was at University of Florida (UF). I yelled at God for putting Cerebral Palsy (CP) in my life. I couldn’t accept my own situation, so I felt like it was impossible for me to be loved and accepted by other people. My freshman year could be summed up as a year of loneliness, anger, and fear.

Jordan Ellis, student

Then, through a friend, I was brought into a community that wrapped themselves around me and accepted me in a way that I had never experienced before. Navigators Collegiate at UF was this life-giving community.

The heart of this community was my Navigators Bible study group. One Monday night, as my friends asked me questions, I opened up to them about my struggles and the lies I internally fight. I’d hit rock bottom the week before and had gone home for the weekend. I was filled with lies and flawed identity: I told myself almost every day that because of my CP, I was a burden to people. I told myself that in social situations, because of my CP, I’m unlikeable and undeserving.

Suddenly, I found myself in a huddle of people who broke down every wall I had built. A group that didn’t care about my crutches but cared about me. People who recognized my struggle with CP and everything that comes with that and pointed me to Jesus, even when I was mad at Him. People who showed through their actions and words that they weren’t going to leave me. The girls in my Bible study became some of the best friends I’ve ever had because of our honest relationships.

After that night of honest sharing, Bethany, my Bible study leader, approached me to meet together and go through a book addressing and moving beyond the core lies we believe about ourselves. When she first suggested this, I was terrified because I knew that meeting together for Life-to-Life™ discipleship would mean brutal honesty and no hiding places. But I was also excited because I knew I needed to change my thinking about my identity.

While meeting with Bethany, I realized how much I let CP define me. Not only was my view of myself flawed, but this also impacted my view of God and other people. Through lots of tears, time in the Word, and the most honest conversations I’ve ever had, my Navigators friends have helped me see that I am so much more than my disability and that I am a person of worth. Honesty and vulnerability are scary, but they also build deep and meaningful relationships.

Today if you ask me how I feel about having CP, I’d tell you wholeheartedly that it is one of the biggest blessings in my life; it’s 100 percent what keeps me rooted in my faith and full of hope. Because the Lord’s plan is great, and my CP isn’t forever.

But I would also tell you that without the love and acceptance of the UF Navigators family I never would have come to that truth. They love and accept me, and help me love and accept myself. They point me to the truth and help me to be someone I never thought I could be. They help me follow Jesus with my whole self.


Praise God for the community that Jordan and many other students have found in Navigators Collegiate ministry. Pray for more opportunities for Navigators to engage students with the Good News of Jesus’ unconditional love.


  1. Thank you for sharing your story Jordan. What is the name of the book that helped you with overcoming the lies one tells themselves? Thank you.

  2. Isn’t it wonderful how God moved, bringing The Navigators into your life. Thank you Navigator personnel for being sensitive to the HOLY Spirit in seeking out those in need.

  3. You are a Beloved Daughter of the Father. He has established your identity through Christ. (Not peers or society.) He has brought you into relationship with Himself. From this victory and acceptance, His grace gives us a desire and humility to live a life toward others that is pleasing to Him. Wonderful story Jordan! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Your comment touched my heart. Our first close encounter with Christ like Jordan has had wlll relmain with her all her years to come. I am 78 years old, and wish to encourage you. Those who witnessed to me as a young adult changed my life forever. Now I live in a retirement home and find that God has a plan every day for me. So many residents need to have peace in their hearts and da ily I find opportunities to share that peace that passes all understanding. Blessings to you, Jordan and all who participate in the Navigator program. In Christ, Betty Hanson

  4. This story is a perfect example of why Navigators continues to have such an impact on university campuses around the country. In addition to sharing the love of Jesus with those that have yet to discover a relationship with Him, they intentionally help grow those that do through God’s outline for discipleship. Way to go Jordan! Praying that many more young men and women would find their identity in Christ.

  5. Your testimony touches me as I have a disability too and also find that complete acceptance in Christ and among His people!❤️n

    1. This is a very inspiring story Jordan, pray you continue to draw strength and pursue more of God as you learn more about Him. The light of God’s word keeps shining through the Navigators. Halleluyah

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