Can you be anything or anyone you want to be? Do you know what and who that is? What is it that defines you – gender, ethnicity, nationality, family, abilities, wealth, achievements, history, sexuality, politics, religion? How do you want people to think of you?
‘When you have a lot of people telling you what you are and perceiving you in a certain way, it's difficult to find your own identity’ - Sia (Kate Isobelle Furler)
Such is the pressure we feel from peers, social media, marketing, family, society and culture to make us ‘fit’ and ‘feel right’ that people have never been more confused about personal identity. Not that long ago, personal identity was generally ‘accepted’ by a person from birth onwards but there is a great striving today for a reverse acceptance – now a person craves for an identity to be accepted by these other powerful drivers of identity and compliance. No wonder that there is so much anxiety, depression and related disorders.
For some, this search for identity and meaning is a life-long obsession. February 20th 2019, BBC Radio 4 featured an elderly woman desperate to discover who her real father was for the sake of peace in her own identity.
‘Cutting edge’ scientists continue to push boundaries for ‘designer babies’ – designed for parental satisfaction and biological perfection rather than for relationship with a real father who truly loves them for who they are, seeing them having his image and wanting each one to fulfil their potential.
‘I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring’ – Tila Tequila
Until a person finds that God is a loving Father, they will be restless (paraphrased from St. Augustine). Famed for coming up with the term ‘identity crisis’, psychoanalyst Erik Erikson said something similar: ‘In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity’.
If you ever feel 'down' about yourself and how things are in the world, remind yourself that your identity in Christ is that of a child of God. You can therefore feel totally secure, totally loved and that life is totally worthwhile. Simply put, knowing that God is for you, your reason for life is surely to enjoy him in all things and to bring joy to him, in all things.
‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ – John the Apostle (1 Jn 3:1)
TAGS – identity, fulfilment, acceptance, security