I’ve been hearing a lot about identity the last couple of months and really felt a continuous nudge to write about it. What is identity? The word itself means “the qualities, beliefs, etc. that make a person/group different from others; who someone is.”
Everyone has an identity. As you get older, the sense you have of who you are becomes stronger and more in depth. Children might say they are a daughter/son, student, classmate, teammate and friend. As we get older, we start to broaden our views of who are, including our job, car, spouse, kids, even personality traits. These are all good things to associate with, but are not where identity comes from.
You may be wondering why on earth I’m writing this blog if I’m just going to rip your sense of who you are right out from under you. Don’t worry, I’ll give it back. But it might look a little different.
The end of my junior year/ beginning of senior year of high school, I started to have an identity crisis. The sport that I was really good at suddenly became more competitive for me as talented underclassmen came into the spotlight. Everyone I knew started asking me where I was going to college and what I was doing with the rest of my life-and I had no idea yet. I got swept away by letting society tell me who I was, what i had to become and the qualities I needed to have in order to be successful; to be someone in this world.
I got swept away by letting society tell me who I was, what I had to become and the qualities I needed to have in order to be successful, to be someone in this world.
It was then I asked the question: where is God? I knew Him my entire life, I knew He was good, I knew He had my back, but I couldn’t feel him. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I started frantically searching for places to squeeze my identity into – people I could relate to and a person I could strive to be like.
Even after reading every cliche quote about who you are, nothing made me feel significant enough.
See, that’s the thing about this world. Everything that seems fulfilling suddenly isn’t when you’re not the smartest, the fastest, the best singer, the strongest, the kindest or the best at speaking anymore. I finally reached out to one of my youth group leaders who told me to start reading in Ephesians chapter 1. If you’re like me, I read it three times and was still confused as to what was going on.
To sum up most of the section, the Message version says in verses 11-12 “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.”
If you’re interested in the rest of the verse, see the message version of Ephesians chapter 1 as a whole.The benefit of putting our identity in Christ is that it never fails.
While we get old, or our talents fade, or trends move on, the foundation of God’s love is timeless. It seems to me that people especially in my age group have poor self image. I think this is because as humans we try to put our identity in our looks, talents, job, income, children, spouse – places it was never meant to be.
Sometimes it just takes God slapping you in the face saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
So what is the difference between my identity before and my identity now? Nothing. My identity in Christ has always been there, but now I know what it is. I am a child of God. I am loved, I am sought after, I was chosen and God has a plan for my life. And no matter what happens in the world around me, those qualities will never change.