So lately I have been wrestling with this concept of identity – what does it mean… who does it mean… how does it work. I mean, is identity really all about “finding ourselves” and learning who we are? Or is there more – is there more to this idea of identity than we can even begin to comprehend? Maybe the reason why we feel distant from God is that we never grasp the concept of identity.
Most of the time, college students and those under 30 (although I would venture to say that 30 is not the magic cut off age for understanding identity) are constantly trying to find themselves. Going out into the world, seeking new adventures – it all sounds grand. But in the midst of it, you begin to realize you either have no clue who you are or that your idea of yourself needs some refining. I would venture to say that this is where the crisis hits. We then spend years attempting to understand who we are, spend time talking with others and even seek professional help to understand who we truly are and get a gasp on our identity.
I think we have it wrong.
I’m not yet 30, and I know I still have a long way to go in my growth. They say that when you graduate, you begin to realize how much you don’t know – and it’s true. As I spent four years attempting to understand whoI was, I realize that for about half of that time I was just focused on figuring out me. I was at the center of my identity. But as I began to learn more about Christ, I have slowly been developing these thoughts about identity that are in no way related to me.
As a believer in Christ, I believe that God is the source of my existence. My very being flows from his. If I attempt to create my identity around myself, I can no longer authentically hold to that idea that I come fromGod. While it may be reflected, I think the struggle comes when we forget that our identity was never about us.
We spend all of this time attempting to figure out who we are, but we seem to neglect discovering God. Just like all children want to know everything about their parents, we just write God off like a father instead of the one who gives us the very identity that we are seeking. Our identity is not found in our accomplishments, talents, abilities, things, our spirituality, our commitment to church or anything like that, but in God alone.To live any other way is borderline blasphemy.
Instead of attempting to assign our own identity to our lives, we need – furthermore must – have our identity assigned by our creator,but we have to seek to know him before that is even possible. Maybe we should just lay down the self-help book and begin to spend time in the presence ofGod. The glory of man is that we were created in God’s image to assign that image to others around us, but we must first allow our identity to be fully assigned outside of ourselves by Christ. Let us be a generation that is willing to take the risk that others will not; the risk to allow our creator to give us the meaning that we do not deserve, but in his grace, he assigns anyways.