I think a lot about the idea of identity as I work with teenagers. I don’t just think about their identity, but also mine. I mean who the heck am I really? I have a pretty good grasp on who I am based on the bible and it’s teachings about who we are as followers of Christ, but there are many other aspects and definitions of identity that get confusing.
For example part of my identity is that I am a husband to and incredible woman, that I love and would do anything for. This helps to shape who I am, and how I act as a human being and as a man. Which leads into another aspect which is gender. Me being a man definitely plays a part of who I am. No, I’m not one for traditional stereotypes of man and woman, but I do think God created us differently.
Another part of my identity is being a father. Being a father is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever encountered. I’ve never experienced love at first site until I met Zion Seth William for the first time. Being his daddy has forever changed who I am, thus changing my identity once again.
Other parts of my identity include being a pastor, a coworker, an employee, a friend, a brother, a son. I even still consider myself an athlete, even though I don’t technically compete in anything. Parts of our identity form at a young age, and stick with us, while other parts fade away. Many things that I used to be have faded away. The hard part is who do we imagine ourselves to be? I always view myself differently than those around me, and part of that is because my identity involves who I used to be, and no one knows our entire story.
As a youth pastor I must recognize these different aspects of identity as I work with and relate to young people. So much of their identity is currently being formed, so it can be even more difficult as it changes from season to season and sometimes even evolves based on their peers, teachers, and of course their parents have the biggest influence.
What makes up who you are? How do you view yourself? How do you wish other people viewed you? With that in mind, how should you view others?
What are the parts of your identity that have faded away? What are the parts that no one else sees?