We’ve read and heard a lot about identity the last few years. Along with many other possibilities, people discuss racial identity, gender identity, and identity politics. Earlier this week I read that dictionary.com named identity their Word of the Year for 2015.
It also seems like I hear and read a lot about people who experience what is called an identity crisis. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an identity crisis, and hope I never do. I’ve seen enough TV shows and movies to know amnesia would be awfully frightening. I also have been around enough people with Alzheimer’s to pray that the Lord protects me from it.
So who am I? I know a variety of factors contribute to my identity; and I’m fairly certain it’s the same for you. Three big aspects of my identity right now include being a grandpa, a high school Bible teacher, and a pastor to senior adults. But I’m also a racquetball player and a golfer (but not really that good in either sport). In terms of a lot of current discussion I am white, male, and politically none of your business.
I am also a husband, father, brother, friend, citizen of the USA, Ohio State University and Dallas Cowboy football fan, dog owner, neighbor, and resident of Texas. I could go on, but I think you get the point. I am a lot of different things to different people. But who am I to me? Is there something that is basic and at the core of who I am? Is there anything that is most important in terms of my identity?
Challenged by some things I have recently read and heard, I’ve been thinking lately about my identity. I hope it won’t surprise readers who know me to read that I think the foundation of my identity is in two areas: I am a child of God and I am a follower of Jesus.
In a very real sense, every human being is a child of God because the Bible teaches that every person is created in the image of God. Some may not accept that, and many do not act like it, but I believe it is true. While every human being is a child of God, not everyone is a follower of Jesus. Being a Christian is a choice one makes for herself or himself.
As we go through life some aspects of our identity change. Some readers probably remember going from being a teenager to an adult; or from a student to an employee; or from being single to being married; or to becoming a parent. One of the greatest adjustments of my identity took place almost three years ago when I stepped down as senior pastor of the church I served for 30 years. As challenging as it was, I didn’t see it as an identity crisis.
I’m fulfilled and enjoying who I am at this stage of my life. And I know more changes lie ahead for me. But what will not change is that I am a child of God and a follower of Jesus.
Who are you?
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