Who are you? I often challenge the students I work with each week to find their identity in Christ. I think this is a valuable lesson and part of growing up, but what does identity mean? Can you give me a list or sentence or even a book that tells me who you are? I’ve struggled with this for many years.
When I was in high school I was an athlete. But I never wanted to be labeled just an athlete, because I felt I was more than just that. I was also a student, but who isn’t when you’re in high school? I was also a son, a brother, a friend, a boyfriend, a jerk, and many other things. These things were activities I did, and not necessarily what defined me. I don’t know what did define me exactly.
When I went to Masters Commission I remember the first day being asked if I was there for the music institute, the dance program, or to be in the band. I was none of these. The guy asking then proceeded to ask me why I was even there then if I wasn’t going to be a part of one of those. This also caused me to struggle internally to find my place and figure out my identity while there. (I’m not sure I ever told anyone of this conversation, and I’m sure the guy has no idea it even happened, but the beauty of my memory is I can tell you his name, and the exact location we were when it happened, and even who else was sitting around the table)
Now I am a youth pastor. I am often introduced as the youth pastor at LIFEchurch. There are many stereotypes and expectations that go with this title, and I do fit some, but not all of them. I struggle a lot with this identity, as I want to shout out I am more than just a youth pastor. I don’t know why I feel this way, but it’s just something inside of me I feel and I think it’s okay. I think it’s okay to struggle with our identity. To be honest I always want to be growing and changing anyway, so as that happens I think my identity is being developed as well. Which leads me to believe that identity is not a static entity, but rather it is being constantly updated and developed much like the history on our web browser. Each person we encounter, each life change we go through, each failure and success we have our identity is updated.
So who are you in this moment? Who do you want to be? You do not have to be the same tomorrow as you are today, but what will you do to update this identity?