Losing our Identity

By Cindy Koch

Any self-reflective person questions herself at some point in life. Am I making the right decision? Have I walked the good path? Who am I, and what am I doing here? Surely, some people don’t care to examine the motivation that drives them. Some people don’t give the time to consider the outcome of their choices. But I suspect you are someone who ponders your identity.

It’s as simple as wondering if you are a good mother. It’s as hard as wondering if you should take that new job. It’s as terrifying as reflecting on the mistakes in your past. It’s as comforting as trusting that friend who really knows you.

Our identity is what we know about ourselves. Consider a child, who is rapidly learning and growing. He hears that his name is Jon, he is shown who his parents are. He learns that he lives at this address in this place. He begins to identify who he is. The more he listens and observes and discovers, his identity is refined.

But what if our society is proudly silent about our identity? What if parents are shamed into letting children “decide for themselves”? What if friends are forbidden to impose? What if schools and universities are sued for shaping inquiring minds? What if churches are content to let our own sinful desires dictate doctrine?

identity2

There is no one to listen to anymore, and we are losing our identity.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:21-31

There are times when I can’t remember who I belong to. I search for meaning and a place in this world. I believe the mixed up advice that attacks me from outside and within. I search my feelings. I trust in my work. I lose that voice of assurance that gives me my true identity.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Your life is not just about where you have been or where you are going. It is about identity – who you are. Your experience makes the world around you seem more real and true than the world that is unseen. The work of your hands may feel more important than a work that was done for you. You might forget the hidden places that God meets you –  in water, a meal of forgiveness, a spoken Word of comfort – and you might chase after a silly self-imposed identity.

Remember who you are. Your identity began a very long time ago, created in the Garden of Eden. Your identity follows the bloody beaten Son of God to a cross. Your identity stands confidently, clothed in white, held in the loving arms of a Risen Hero. Christ is your identity.

JaggedWordLogo2