You’re really the only person that has been with you every moment of every day since the first day of your being.
You are a human being. Created for a purpose that your baby self was oblivious to, but your now self is maybe more aware of. But who you are, is the foundation of what that looks like.
Identity and purpose go hand in hand because until you fully understand who you are, how you were created specifically to operate, to think, to believe, to passionately engage in the world and with who you best engage, you really can’t BE all you were created to BE.
So in this space of being at home, maybe by yourself, maybe, like me, surrounded by a bunch of crazy animals (haha), you can find a sacred space to enter into, to discover the YOU you were meant to be. This is the process of the Rite of Passage- building a foundation to stand on your own two feet, to know that all that is WITHIN YOU is ENOUGH to fulfil all that IS AHEAD OF YOU.
LETS START WITH IDENTITY.
DEFINITION: The fact of being who or what a person or thing is. (Oxford Dictionary)
So essentially our identity is who we are at the core of our being. It’s our unique finger print on the canvas of the world- (if we can imagine the window of history we get to live in displaying a masterpiece of finger painted proportions.) It is who we are intrinsically as we enter the world. It’s the part of us that will stay the same no matter what gets attached to us.
I love the mathematical definition of identity –
- an equation that is valid for all values of its variables.
- Also called identity element, unit element, unity. an element in a set such that the element operating on any other element of the set leaves the second element unchanged.
This could be transferred to our identity too: that is valid for all valuables of its variables.
See when we enter the world, we will have things added to us.. many variables that seek to define who we are, that are actually just additions to our original value. For example:
A name. Yet some of us have a name and some of us don’t. A beautiful little girl we met in the cafe of our church in Ethiopia (not a cafe like we see in the west but a mud clad space on the front of the property that opened up to the many brothels and bars that lined the street). We asked her what her name was and she replied “Mita” which is kinda like calling someone “Bubba”- not a real name but a term of endearment. So we asked her mum, what her name was and she said she couldn’t remember her name, so she just called her Mita or she would call her Cockroach- not a name we were going to let her hold for long, so we called her Bereket which meant Blessing. But whether or not you have a name, your identity is still valid because though a name may be valuable, and in some cultures more valuable than others, it is still a variable on your identity. It doesn’t make you who you are.
More things get added to us, like- parents. Some of us get one parent when we are born, some get two, others get a whole village while some end up in an orphanage… does it change who we are at our core? No. That’s not part of our identity.
Some of us have an education added to us, but some of us don’t. Some have opportunities in childhood to experience other activities like sports or clubs, performing arts or things like Girl Scouts.. many people get so passionate about their ability to participate in those things, but they, still are variables on the spectrum of our lifestyle. Adding to the equation but not subtracting to our identity. Intrinsically, we are still the same person whether or not we have the opportunity to participate in these activities.
In adulthood, some have more education added, like degrees or doctorates, trade skills or business acumen. Doors can open for you to gain experience and qualifications having more things added to your portfolio of life but those things in and of themselves are just additions and not all will have them added. It doesn’t make one more valuable at the core of who they are because at any stage, those things could be taken away- through sickness or accidents causing memory loss or brain damage, intellectual disability or lack. Businesses and vocations can be thwarted by economic climates or poor financial management. Outside circumstances can sabotage these very things that so often have just been added to the core of who we are. They haven’t changed the validity of the identity that was established in conception.
Relationships can also be added to us or not. Finding a life partner or a group of friends are other variables that add to the value of our human experience. We are indeed created for relationship. But some of us have better interpersonal skills than others, some are just socially awkward. Some of us have had bad experiences and base our acquisition of new formed relationships on that of our former experiences and somewhat hinder the fullness of what COULD be added.. but in the end, it’s still just a variable.
Material possessions are another contributory factor. We can obtain material wealth by inheritance or we could be positioned in countries and companies that allow us to accumulate financial assets. Some of us do this by hard work and others can do this by outlandish gifting. Some are intelligent in strategy while others are more intelligent in production. Some of us don’t think we can have access to good things while others would accept nothing less. But all of these factors are variables on the global scale. Foreign currencies are futile, global markets are based upon forever changing trends. The value of gold, oil and cars are becoming less important than air, water and land in this climate changing society. They, too, are variable in how they add to our human experience.
I hope you’re getting it now. Your identity is the thing about you that will never change, NO MATTER WHAT is added or taken away from you. It’s the intrinsic part of you that makes you valuable and worthy. You are who you are because a unique set of DNA was put together to add value to the world. Whether you end up a bum on the street or a princess in the palace, you are still you.
We can hear rags to riches stories of people making it in the entertainment industry. It’s the gift they have that gets them there but there is always a story about connections and set backs, sacrifice and determination. Who they are hasn’t changed but their exposure to the world has. They have become more known by the general public. However, they are still the same person. Whether or not they achieve notoriety or an Oscar award, it doesn’t change who they are. Their primary school teacher will still remember certain things about them that have stayed the same throughout their lifetime. It is this thing that stays the same- the you that makes you you- no matter how age or diet has changed your appearance – no matter how little or much you have accumulated – no matter what you have achieved or haven’t achieved due to illness or laziness or oppression. These things do not make you who you are. Your identity is locked up in you. We all have an identity. It’s what makes us the same as a common humanity and it’s what makes us the same on the spectrum of our life span. Identity is the foundation of everything we do. It’s the common factor in the equation of our life. So knowing who you are and being secure in your identity is key to living a healthy and happy life.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”
Psalms 139:13-18 ESV