- Why is identity important?
When the world goes through a pandemic that affects the economy, the culture and family life, our whole inner world will shake and in the shaking, our external validations of how we achieve approval and success may be shaken. Inherently at the heart of every human being the question arises: Am I GOOD ENOUGH?
Am I really good enough when I am faced with challenges that I have never had to face before?
Understanding your identity and the value you have, is essential to answering this question.
See, who I AM is NOT inherent upon what I DO.
I could lie here all day, every day and I would still be ME. I could completely self-isolate, distance myself physically and emotionally from any other human being and not stay connected in any way, shape or form… but if someone came along and shot me dead, they would still be accountable for murder. EVEN IF, I didn’t have one person come to my funeral, or grieve my loss– just because I have inherent value as a human being, the person that killed me would be held responsible for the crime of taking away my life- because I am valuable.
Why am I valuable? I am valuable and I have an identity because I was made by a Creator God who designed me so thoughtfully, that my very existence on this planet warrants my worth.
My ABILITIES and how I use them, on the other hand, are my RESPONSE to the environment into which I am placed. They are my responsibilities.
So imagine that in one of the hands I am holding up is your identity and in the other hand are your responsibilities 🙂
My ability to learn, to play, to relate, to observe, to listen, to create, to explore, to develop, to risk, to love, to believe- these are all hinged upon the choices I make in response to the opportunities around me. Whether or not I use my abilities for the benefit of others, the betterment of myself or the detriment of either one, is up to me. I have been given free will and I really get to decide the outcome of my own destiny.
Life is all about choices. It is estimated that we make, on average, 35,000 choices a day. Each choice has a consequence and each consequence has an affect on layers of platforms.
The problem comes when our decisions start to attach themselves to our identity. It’s so easy for our lives to be consumed by the things that have value in the society in which we live. For some societies, that’s education, for others it’s external beauty and fashion and trends, for others it’s social status or castes, for others it’s marital status, some offspring, others careers, material accumulation, real estate portfolio, stock market investments, emotional intelligence… the list could go on.
Whatever our society, or community or even close family place value on, often gets embedded into the idealism of what value we place on ourselves.
We think, if I have enough money, then I’m good enough. If I have an hour glass figure, I’m good enough. If I have the nicest car or the highest level of education, or the best marriage or the dream career, then I. Am. Good. Enough.
But all of these things are additions. When you were made as you and born into the world, your Creator made a statement.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good..”
Genesis 1:27, 31 ESV
God didn’t say anything was very good up until that point. Every day He had spoken something new into existence but when He completes the process with a woman, He emphasises how good it all is. It’s good enough for Him to sit back and rest. He didn’t go on the next day trying to adapt or perfect what He had created the day before, so we have to assume it was good enough. And if it was good enough for God, it- humanity- YOU are Good Enough!
In that whole process, God created seasons and in different seasons of life, knowing your identity is about knowing that you are still the same. And the you that makes you you, is the you that God loves. His love for you is not conditional on what you do. The problem with attaching our identity to the things we do, is that in every season of life, we are often called to do different things. Different seasons demand different settings. Like the settings on your phone which are interchangeable for whatever environment you are in (flight mode or silent mode, having wifi on when you can pick it up or using data when you’re out and about), so are the settings in our life interchangeable as our environment changes.
Different seasons in life also affect the way we make choices. We can make choices as a child that would be so different to how we made them as an adult. There are a myriad of things that contribute to the way in which we make our choices. From family of origin dysfunction to hormonal changes, to sleep deprivation to dietary intake to mental wellness or social pressure or financial situation or spiritual misconceptions or deceptions… all of these external factors can play a major role in the choices we make- that’s why it’s so important to distinguish your identity- your being, from your choices- your doing.
In the next session I’ll talk about some of the consequences of meshing these two together.