Identity Crisis

Identity can be a funny thing. It changes so quickly and is dependent on so many factors, the biggest of which is people. We base our identity, who we see ourselves as, on how other people perceive us. All too often though the way that other people see us shifts depending on who they are and their beliefs and the lenses that they view life through. To borrow from The Breakfast Club:

“You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.

But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…

and an athlete…

and a basket case…

a princess…

and a criminal.”

We can try and alter how the world sees us. We adjust what our social media presence is like to show people that we live an interesting life. We dress a certain way, or read certain books, or go to certain events, all in an effort to convey a specific message of who we are and what we believe to the world.

However what happens is that we get so wrapped up in a certain aspect of who we are that we begin to think that that’s all the defines us. That we will never be more than the sum of those particular parts. This is a lie that we all too often fall prey to. It’s a dangerous place to be when our whole being and our worth is found in one aspect of our lives. When we focus on one characteristic or quality in our lives so much so that it clouds all of the other pieces of who we are, we lose sight of our true identity.

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I love the works of Vincent Van Gogh (I can’t really explain why but I just do), but if I were to just look at one specific section of the painting, then I would lose the beauty and the message of the masterpiece as a whole. The same is true of us, there are so many different ideas, and talents, and nuances that make up each and every person. Yet when we solely focus on one of those aspects we begin to lose sight of who we are as a whole.

It’s a hard road to travel down when something happens to you that throws the proverbial monkey wrench into your identity. When something happens that forces you to stop and re-evaluate who you thought you were. This could be losing a job that you had dedicated your life to, going through hard times financially, having a meaningful relationship end, or breaking your ankle and realizing you can’t ride horses anymore. Things like this happen every day to people all over the world, and they will continue to happen to you and I all throughout our lives.

While we can’t control how people see us or what factors in life will change or shape our identity, we can change how we react to it. Instead of selling ourselves short and saying, “Yup. That’s all I am, just this one specific thing” we can take a step back and look at the whole painting. Seeing all of the brush strokes and details that make up the masterpiece of who we are; and ultimately we need to seek and find our identity in the one thing that will never change. God. He is who we should find our identity in, not the things that this world tells us we should be, but in who He says we are.

Today I encourage you all to step back and see the whole painting. To take stock of where you have been finding your identity and to look to where your true identity is. Then we can begin to live life knowing that our identity is found in the Creator of all things, not in all things created.

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