I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about identity (for the folks in Bible study this will not come as a surprise!). Think about how many times in the last week or month you have been asked to describe yourself, or give a name to all the intangibles that make you, you. We get asked this in vast and various ways all the time. Who are you? What do you like to do? What defines you? What do you want to do with your life? Where are you from? Who are you related to? All of these questions carry with them the underlying weight of “Who are you?” The issue with questions such as these is that we can’t help but censor our answers sometimes. Sometimes, the person asking the question is someone who you simply don’t want to know that much about you. Sometimes, there are things that we know so personally about ourselves, but don’t feel comfortable sharing. Sometimes, you have to decide if it is appropriate to answer as your public or private persona. The reality is, none of us are the same person all the time to every single person we meet. We present facets of ourselves. We paint ourselves with shades of grey in order to put our best foot forward or to hide ourselves from assumed embarrassment. Somehow, a question like, “Who are you?” turns into a question that causes you to drag up all the things about yourself that you don’t want to share, rather than really triggering us to think about who we really, truly are, deep down inside.
There are two facets of this question that we sometimes forget about, though. The first being, God created you to be the absolute, complete YOU that you are. I know, this sounds like some cliché or like something that we need to say to our teenagers who are facing difficulties, but the truth is, we all need this reminder. We all need to be encouraged, because the world never stops trying to tamp down the unique qualities that make each of us individuals. There is no end to the words that try to tell you what and who you should be. What you should like, what you should do, what is respectable for a person of your age/standing/profession. So, it bears repeating: God made YOU to be YOU. That’s it. Every unique, quirky quality that you have is a blessing. It is a blessing from God, and distinguishes you as a beloved part of God’s creation. There is no one on this earth that has the same mish-mash of qualities, joys, hobbies, and personality traits as you do, and that is because God made you to be unique. Embrace it. Revel in it. Don’t shy away from who God made you to be.
The second piece of that is directly related. Anytime someone asks you who you are, the immediate, first thought should be, “I am a child of God,” and that means that you are loved, forgiven, cared for, protected. All the other stuff, the stuff that embarrasses us, the stuff that we’re worried about, the stuff that we judge ourselves for, falls away under the overwhelming power of saying, “I am a child of God. I am a child of God whom Christ went to the cross for, who is so loved that there is nothing in this world that can take it away from me.”
God created you to be who you are, and God loves you wholeheartedly, unconditionally, all the time. As we move into the holiday season, where despite the joy and the lights, there is an overwhelming rise in anxiety and depression, may this be a reminder to carry in your heart to get you through the rough patches. Who are you? You are loved. You are a child of God. You are a uniquely created blessing. You are enough. You are a blessing to all.
Peace it Together,