Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Idenity Crisis

Who am I?  That seems to be the question of our generation.  We begin the quest for identity early...  like the minute we walk into that Kindergarten room and look around wondering where do we fit in.   Somewhere along the way through Elementary we decide what we are good at and spend our time perfecting that so that we can stand out and be seen in a world that is full of people looking for something to make them stand-out.  What makes me special, we ask?  What sets me apart?  Is it friends, grades, sports?  For kids these days the questions are even more complicated...  am I a boy or a girl, gay or straight, bi or trans?  As a 30 something, who struggles with identity issues, I feel for kids these days and I know the struggle for something to set them apart is real and often painful.

We have a driving force inside us to be found worthy.   We long to be loved.  We yearn deeply to be seen and known and adored.  This yearning for love is so powerful that it can drive our every decision, without us even knowing.

 Unfortunately, we are looking to the worst possible sources of love, affirmation and validation.  We look to people, and people are notoriously flawed.  People, even moms and dads, are not capable of meeting this need for unconditional love.  All people are broken and flawed.  Instead of figuring this out early we continue through our life to transfer our need for love to the next person who comes along, never realizing that people can never give us what we are longing for.

Our identity becomes intertwined with the people around us.  If times are good, then for a while we feel good.  For example, on my honeymoon I felt adored and loved.  Life was finally good in that moment, I had found the one who made me his wife and gave me my new identity.  Fast-forward to our first misunderstanding and I no longer felt loved and adored.   Then I transferred my worth and validation to being a mother, after having my first child.  I'm sure that I thought she was going to finally give me worth, because I was now a mother.   I never dreamed that I would, for one minute, not enjoy being a mom, but when the time came, not too long after she was born I crumbled.  I thought I was going to be this amazing mom, who would love my children with everything I had and enjoy every second of my life from that moment on, but that is not what happened.   Don't get me wrong I love being a wife and mother, I love my husband and my children, I would not trade any of my life or do it differently, but it was a mistake to place my worth and value in these things, it was shifting sand.

I am constantly transferring my worth and identity from one thing to the next.  It can be from moment to moment.   I can even find worth in what people think about me, that I don't even like (don't judge...  I know I'm supposed to like everybody).  For real though, people who have absolutely nothing to do with my life can strip me of my self-worth with a couple of words.   Right now as I'm typing this out my little puppy is sitting outside my kitchen door, looking in so sadly.   He is so happy when one of us goes outside and spends time with him, but if no one is out there he just looks sadly in the window waiting for some attention.   I know how he feels. 

There is always someone better, faster, smarter, prettier than me, so my worth can't be in anything I can offer, and I can't look to people who are flawed and inconsistent to give me worth and value.  Where do I find worth?   The only place I can look for worth and value is in God.  God who created me.   I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  God who chose me to be his child.   God who bought me with a great price, the blood of his son.  I must look to the eternal, immoveable, never changing God of the universe for my value.  He gives me worth.  He gives me value, affirmation, and unconditional love.  He gives me everything I have been seeking, and when I look to him and his word everything else passes away. 

Who am I?  I am His.  I am loved.  I am valuable.  I matter to Him.   It's not what I have to offer, but what he has offered to me. 

I'm reminded of the words of the song "Banqueting Table"

He brought me to His banqueting table, His banner over me is Love.
He brought me to His banqueting table, His banner over me is Love.

A banner is the flag that armies would fly to show who they belonged to.  Christ is our Banner.  We belong to Him and because of His love we have value.  Because of who He is, we are loved.   He is bringing us to His table, in His house.  The ONE who is worthy, desires us and has placed His love on us.  

When we know that, how can we not be overcome?  How can this truth not change us at the core of who we are?  His Banner over me is Love.  The very thing he offers me is love without condition.  Oh, what a Savior.

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