Identity in Crisis

Identity in Crisis

Identity Crisis

It is important to know who we are. Our identity, after all, is the very definition of us.

The unfortunate reality is that our identity can quickly become an idol. And idols are bad. That should go without saying though—hopefully.

Too many of us rely on others to tell us who we are. Far too many more live to be what others think they should be. Even more are utterly crushed when the identity they’ve created fails to produce.

All of which is entirely problematic.

However, as Christians, our identities should not be rooted in ourselves. Now, that entire notion may seem silly, but it makes sense. Our identities are not to be found in our achievement. Furthermore, our identities are not to be found in anything we can make ourselves into.

Our identities are to be found in Christ instead.

My Identity Crisis

I have always been somewhat intelligent. Okay, that’s not really accurate. I was that annoying kid in school who never had to study, yet I always made excellent grades. That was all true until college.

The sad reality is that, while I succeeded throughout my formative years, I never learned how to study. I never needed to. Thus, when college rolled around, and things finally got difficult, I would just bail. That is not to say that I didn’t still get some decent grades, just not many. And I only have myself to blame.

The fact of the matter is, though, my identity still wasn’t put to the test. I was able to hold my own in intellectual debates. I still wrote well, spoke intelligently, and could even pick apart poor argumentation. A feat I am still somewhat proud of I might add.

All was well and good, up until graduation. When I entered the “Real World,” I quickly found out that all of that laziness and skating by had a negative effect. I couldn’t find a job to save my life. However, after roughly three months of trying, I finally found somewhere I could earn a paycheck—Amazon.com. I was a digital specialist, which is really a fancy term for a Kindle customer service rep. I worked in a call center folks…it wasn’t my brightest moment.

Even all of that came crashing down six months later after the seasonal period ended. Suddenly I found myself facing down a long, cold road of miserable jobs. My wife and I even had to move in with my parents. Life wasn’t great.

Yet, my identity remained intact.

Walls Come Crashing Down

It is funny how the smallest thing can reveal an idol of identity. The event wasn’t small, but the person certainly was.

In August 2012, our oldest child was born. Now, the birth of a child should be one of the happiest moments of your life. For us though, it wasn’t. Instead we were riddled with anxiety, uncertainty, and fear.

Remember what I said about the person being small? It’s because she was. All one pound fifteen ounces of her. Things came crashing down because she was born nearly three months prematurely.

Talk about a shock to the system. And the worst part is, there was nothing I could do.

My identity had always been built around things just seeming to work out for me. That “reality” started cracking when I couldn’t find a job. It split a little more when I lost the terrible job I did have, a week before our daughter was born. But on that day in August 2012, things just burst wide open. There was nowhere to run. There was nowhere to hide. My idol found me out.

My identity—the one I had built—was under siege. And it wasn’t my circumstances, it was God.

Crawling Back to Life

My unemployment lasted another eight months after her birth. Eight…long…months.

Granted, they were great months. I was able to spend more time with my newborn daughter than many other fathers do. That was a privilege, but it didn’t always feel that way. In fact, it often felt like an assault on who I thought I was.

Again with the identity problem.

I wanted to be successful for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to be liked, admired, and looked upon as a thought leader. More than that, I wanted to feel important. All of these feelings led down roads of depression and, even now, near constant fights with anxiety and panic attacks.

I, through the grace of God, have come to understand the idol of identity in my life. The road isn’t easy, and the journey isn’t short, but I am taking a step one day at a time. I’m slowly understanding where my identity is to be truly found, and I’m learning to rest in the reality that I don’t have to have it all together.

As Paul writes to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” And I’m trying to daily live that as a reality. Every day is different, and I’m nowhere near 100 percent. But, through the grace of God, who I am is aligning more and more to Christ. And there is freedom in that identity.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Until next week, arrivederci.

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