This is to read someday when you’re really bored. Just for the record - I do know better than to keep changing from first to second to third person and from singular to plural and I do know I shouldn’t put dashes in every other sentence! Thank you Amos and Rebekah and Hosanna for discussing the topic with me on our trip. Hope this doesn’t sound too obnoxious or self-centered, I didn’t write it for the blog! It’s more like a journal entry…
Random Thoughts on My Search for Identity
My favorite thing about getting a driver’s license was getting that photo ID - it looked so official! For the last few years, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with identity, or maybe I’m just obsessed with myself…either way, I have some thoughts about it. We live in a world of drifters - people don’t know who they are, what they believe, where they belong - maybe that’s why there’s so many useless members of society, delinquents and gangs, besides the sin factor, of course.
When I was in high school, that was my identity - not everyone is that way, I don’t know what was wrong with me. But anyway, I found that most high schoolers, public and home schooled, have a certain amount of things in common, things like algebra, braces, Spanish, credits, missions trips, drivers ed., and being routinely interrogated about your future plans. Being home schooled was also a major part of my identity - that was who I was. Then came graduation.
That was as far as I’d thought - oh, I’d worried plenty about “what to do after I graduate?” (that’s a whole separate topic) but somehow, it was hard to believe that life would go on. It took me probably six months before I woke up - I’m still alive, I don’t always have to be what I am now, and there’s a whole world outside of “high school”! In fact, it was just a dream world to start with…
Some things about my identity have never changed. My family - no matter the rest of the world if I have my family. We’re each others best friends and can be happy with just us. My heritage - I’m three-fourths German/Russian Mennonite, an ethnic group as well as an Anabaptist denomination. When I was younger, I studied my family history a lot and knowing I was a descendant of people who were willing to even move across the ocean because of what they believed has given me a goal not to let that legacy be lost now. Living on a farm - I never really thought about that much until Dad was talking about changing jobs once. It was like, “He can’t do that!” Who would I be if I wasn’t a farmer’s daughter? My life would be totally different if I was the daughter of, say, a pastor. My country - I’m an American! I guess I also consider myself a “northern Minnesotan”. My church, CYIA, and my extended family are parts of me as well.
People find there identity in other things too - like a certain job (ever see anyone wrapped up in their work?), a movement, a denomination or religion (Baptist, Catholic, Muslim…), a boyfriend, video games (hey, I’ve met some!). Parents wonder why their children change when they go to college - new friends, new places, new influences, the pressures of their major, all combine to give someone a new identity.
All that’s great, but still, when I graduated, it was different. No one denies that there’s sort of an awkward transition from being a child to being a young adult and even from being an insane freshman (no insult to anyone in particular) to a “the-world-belongs-to-me” senior, but then there’s a new transition. It’s not as bad, you don’t loose everything you gained as a teen, but now it wasn’t like my family actually needed me, it seemed like everyone between the ages of 18 and 25 had vanished from the earth, nobody cared that I had been home schooled or how old I was, and they wondered why in the world I was still living at home, anyway, I felt like I didn’t fit in.
Then last winter I did some studying on my own and read a book called, So Much More - I can’t say I learned anything new from reading it, but it helped me think through some things in more depth than I had before and the total result was a sense of purpose. I’m not a “charity case” or a “bum” - I certainly don’t live up to my ideals, but at least there’s a goal.
I became part of the anti-feminist movement (no, we’re not a paramilitary organization, we’re underground resistance) - I’m a stay-at-home daughter, one of many girls across the country who aren’t just talking about being different and changing the culture - we are a different culture! We’ve found direction for our lives from God’s Word, we’re loving and serving the people around us, we’re caring for the things of the Lord and are examples of purity, we’re showing that true fulfillment comes from yielding and resting in God’s plan, we’re living the life He meant for us and we couldn’t be happier anywhere else in the world.
I’m also “single”. There’s a certain stability just in that. Now, someday I might get married - if I don’t, I suppose I’ll have to update my identity when I turn 30 or so, and then again at 40, but if I do marry, I’ll certainly have to change my identity! (can you imagine writing out a different name and address and having it be you!?) Newlyweds don’t fit in anywhere either and even adults move, change jobs, grow older, and have to rethink their life just like the rest of us (better put a disclaimer here - I can’t say I know that!)
It’s hard for anyone to separate their looks and personality from who they really are - being shy, pretty, overweight, a clown, short, glasses - whatever people see when they see you tends to influence what you think you are. Those kinds of connections are complicated, but an easy connection is dress. Sure, there’s other angles to the issue, but whatever you put on does associate you with something. I have a cousin who’s into skateboarding and one who’s into ALERT and both of their appearances are so in line with the stereotypes it’s almost funny. I’ve always liked wearing skirts, but it means something else to me now - my skirt is a symbol of the anti-feminism and the femininity I believe in and am trying to live by - it’s part of my identity.
Last summer when I was at Camp Chetek, I was away from everyone I love and everything I know. I felt like there was nothing of me left - it was odd how my identity vaporized away that easily…Anyway, I’ve learned something else - my real identity isn’t in my family, or church, or location, or anything else, it’s in Christ Jesus. Have you ever noticed how much the Bible talks about who we are? It’s amazing and it will never change.
First of all, on our own, we can do nothing, we’re sinners, in our flesh is no good thing and our heart is wicked. But now, assuming everyone reading this is born again, we’re a new creature! It is no more I that sins, but sin that lieth in me. We’re fearfully and wonderfully made and for His pleasure we are and were created.
We were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified, We’re reconciled, righteous, free, sanctified, washed, redeemed, quickened, saved, forgiven, dead to sin and alive to God.
We’re children and heirs of God, children of the King, we’ve been adopted, we’re joint heirs with Christ. We’ve been created unto good works, we are espoused to Christ - part of His bride. We’ve been grafted into the heritage of the Jews. We’re a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, kings and priests.
We were bought with a price and our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Ghost and the members of Christ. We are one body in Christ and are members one of another. We are in the Spirit, in God’s love, in light. We can do all things through Christ and have overcome the world.
We are sealed, preserved, and kept. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ (don’t some people join the military to have a place to belong?) and are runners in a race. We are rich (the rich are often put in a class of their own) and also strangers and pilgrims on this earth. We are the servants of one Master and servants of all. We are the light of the world and ambassadors for Christ. We are laborers together with Him and are partakers of the divine nature.
Who needs any more identity? We are to be like Christ, Christians - no matter if I’m young or old, or whatever else - when people look at me, they shouldn’t see me, they should see Him. I’m to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. That’s all the purpose, stability, identity, and sense of belonging I’ll ever need. He is the fullness of all the Godhead and “ye are complete in Him.”