My first recollection of an identity crisis dates back to my childhood reading of the book titled, Are You My Mother? In this story, a baby bird hatched while its mother was away. This placed the little fledgling right into the middle of its own identity crisis.
Wandering all around his immediate world, this fearful feathered one asks, “Are you my mother?” He questions a dog, a swan, a heavy machinery crane, a bulldozer, and anything else in his path. Each answer fails to provide the helpful information needed in his search for self-identity. Happily, at the conclusion of the tale, he does find his mother and the story ends well.
Wandering + Wondering
In some sense we all can understand the crisis of this little bird. Even though we have learned to ask in a more sophisticated manner, we still wonder: “Am I significant?” “Where do I belong?,” and “Who am I?” Counselor Larry Crabb says, “The basic personal need of each person is to regard himself as a worthwhile human being.” Sooner or later, we all face these foundational questions: What is the basis of my self-identity? How do I come to regard myself as worthwhile? Am I like the little bird in trying to discover my identity within parentage or immediate surroundings? Or can something, or Someone more reliable help me discover who I am? Most importantly, will this discovery result in security—and integrity?
Pastor Mark Batterson framed it well: “Most of us live our entire lives as strangers to ourselves. We know more about others than we know about ourselves. Our true identities get buried beneath the mistakes we’ve made, the insecurities we’ve acquired, and the lies we’ve believed. We’re held captive by others’ expectations. We’re uncomfortable in our own skin. And we spend far too much emotional, relational, and spiritual energy trying to be who we’re not.” Regardless of our framework, I have found this premise to be true: We all spend our lives either searching for, attempting to prove or confidently expressing our identity.
The Basis of Your Identity
Some of us are still trying to figure out who we really are. Others have chosen a certain persona and are putting a great amount of time into establishing it before the watching world. We invest our energy in proving personal worth, acceptability, and value. Whether it is our images and postings on Facebook or the cleverness of our “tweets,” we are prone to project an image that is more about insecurity than our true identity.
A truly secure person is free from making “self” the point of reference in both thought and conversation. They become free of self-defeating comparisons, self-centered stories, and self-promoting actions. They are able to celebrate the worth and wins of other people with a genuine unselfishness. But, how to get there…
True + Renewed
Wise Christians base their identity on the reliable foundation of biblical truth about God and what He says to be true. This becomes the key to a proper self-image. Our new and eternal life in Christ is the core of our true identity. Then, as we consistently renew our minds in His declarations of who we are, we can weather the skewed input of the world, our unreliable emotions, and the trials of this life with confidence.
When each of us comes to terms with the question, “Who am I?” from a biblical standpoint, “the joy of discovering who you are and the freedom of discovering who you’re not” becomes the new and abiding reality. But, what about you? Are you gathering the answers to your questions from a biblical standpoint?
For more of Do You Know Who You Are?, order your copy of the Spring 2016 issue here.