Identity. What is it? In the dictionary it is defined as: “The condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is”. It sounds simple enough; identity is who you are. But this seemingly simple phrase is the cause of so much complexity in one’s life.
Who Am I? People spend their lifetime trying to decipher the meaning of life. The purpose of living. That factor that separates you from the crowd. Who Am I?
As a child, my identity was found in my education. If I am to be completely honest with myself, I still cling to education sometimes to find my worth. Growing up in a Nigerian home, education was paramount. During summer breaks, while our mates were outside playing we were doing workbooks that prepared us for the next grade. Before we could go outside, the questions were always “Did you do your math? Did you read a book? Did you finish your summary?”. Sometimes our “Yes” was met with a nod of freedom and sometimes we heard “Go read another book.” I found that my parents, especially my father, were the most proud of me when I was excelling in school. And that’s exactly what I did.
If I brought home anything less than an “A” I would be so devastated. I took high classes even in subjects I hated (Oh AP Biology, I still can’t believe we met). I graduated in the top 10% of my class and I was satisfied. However, my identity was quickly tested when I went to college and realized “Wow, there are people smarter than I am”.
Graduating from college I faced another blow to my identity: unemployment. I can’t find a job? What? It just didn’t make sense in my mind. I am a goal-driven individual so when something doesn’t happen when I believe it should happen I begin to question my abilities. I’ve realized that I’m way too hard on myself simply because I’ve built my identity on what I can accomplish.
During that time of waiting, God had to strip me of everything that I thought was me, and remind me that my identity is in Christ. It was a painful, but much needed experience. But what I’ve realized over the years is that it is important to constantly remind yourself that your identity is in Christ. If not, you will find yourself asking that question again: Who Am I?
See, what happened to me is that because my identity was in my education and what I could accomplish, when I was in a season of my life when I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything I had lost a sense of self.
What about you? Maybe your identity is found in your accomplishments just like mine was.
Maybe you find your identity in your physical beauty. But what happens on those days when you feel less than beautiful?
Maybe you find identity in relationships. But what happens when that relationship ends?
Maybe you find your identity in your career or finances. But what happens when that is stripped from you?
Accomplishments. Beauty. Relationships. Career. Money. All these things will pass away. The beautiful thing about finding our identity in Christ is that He is constant and consistent.
When you are jobless. Christ is still there. When your money is low. Christ is still there. When your relationship is in shambles. Christ is still there.
Finding our identity in Christ brings the most peace, joy, and ultimate fulfillment.
Who Am I? I am a child of the Most High God.
That’s enough identity to last you a lifetime.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)