How do you identify?
This has become the new calling card for social introductions.
And so begins some mystical journey of self-discovery that is meant to end in a destination of self satisfactions and peace with one’s body and state of being. This idea of self-discovery is not just philosophical but is become legislative. We must allow our children to find themselves. Well, I agree! Of course i want to help my children find themselves! It’s just that I believe it is a rather short and anti-climactic journey.
It seems everybody is trying to help everybody else find there true self.
What are we expecting to find?
I like how Tony Campolo talks about it. This is from his book, “Let Me Tell You A Story” p. 184
“There’s a whole generation out there trying to find themselves. You could predict any one of them saying something like this: “Doc, I’m tired of playing the roles that others have prescribed for me! I’m tired of being the person my family expects me to be, that the church expects me to be! I’ve got to peel away each of these socially prescribed identities and the socially generated personal. I’ve got to peel them away one by one and come to grips with the core of my being – the essence of my self-hood!”
When i hear that kind of stuff, I get a bit queasy in my stomach, and i cannot help but say in return, “Charley! What if, after you peel away each of these socially prescribed identities and socially generated selves, you discover you are an onion!” What if you take that long guru journey into yourself, and when you get there – nobody’s home? Stop to consider the fact that if you peel away all the layers of an onion, guess what you have left? Nothing. And it just may be that when you take that trip to the innermost recesses of your soul, that’s exactly what you’ll find.”
I think this may be more true than we would care to admit. At the core of who we are is the breath of God – an identity distinct from ourselves. To ignore this conclusion is to be left with an identity nothing more than a collection of organic matter that will perhaps fertilize a dandelion one day. If I peel away the layers of my identity I am left with the identity of Christ alive in me or with a heartbeat of man sustained by some electrical impulse.
Jesus says, “Whoever seeks to ‘find himself’, will lose ‘himself’. But whoever is willing to ‘lose himself’ for my sake and the sake of my Kingdom, will ‘find himself'” Mark 8:35
So, my search for self will lead me to identify with Jesus. If i don’t end there it really doesn’t matter how i choose to identify. I can choose to identity as a bird in a fish body. Or i can choose to identify as a heterosexual man in a man’s body. Without the identity of Christ in me, both are destined for the same end.
What i see in this invitation from Jesus is this; It is by embracing the presence of God in the core of my being and by committing to his Kingdom activity that i find the essence, the uniqueness of who i am and what my life is about.
Our focus should be less on self-discovery and more on Holy Spirit discovery. When the Holy Spirit begins peeling the layers away from my identity i can be confident the goal is to reveal more of the nature of Jesus in my life. And more of Jesus means more life and life to the full as my identity.
That’s the only identity that really matters.