It’s amazing to me that some people just know exactly what they want out of life. They know who they are and what they want to be. I, on the other hand, struggled with this. Perhaps one of the reasons why is I lacked guidance and identity while growing up.
While most people will enter an unfamiliar situation to get what they want, whether that’s material possessions, approval from their peers, or any other kind of validation, I was content with just being me. I simply didn’t know what I wanted, or who I wanted to be. And that was fine with me, at least for a while.
They say ignorance is bliss and that may be true when you’re a child. However, we all eventually grow up (some sooner than others), and no one remains content forever. With the well-intentioned goal of understanding myself better, I embarked on a quest to find my place in this world. Like so many of us who have yet to discover their life’s purpose, who they are, or what they want to be, the journey begins.
Have you ever asked yourself those really hard questions about life and God? For example:
- Who am I?
- What is my identity?
- What’s my life’s purpose?
- Does God really exist?
I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves these types of questions at one point or another in our lives. At the top of my list was “Who am I – What is my identity?”, which made sense for me since I never knew who my father was. From an early age, I struggled and longed for identity.
Most of us enter this world with an ingrained feeling that something is missing inside of us. It’s like that inner struggle we may have noticed as kids on the playground. We see different groups of people forming around us and maybe even realize that some lunch tables are cooler than others. What will we do? Make a play for a seat at the table or feel uncomfortable because we just uncovered this fact?
These self-identity questions are hard and not everyone will discover the answers to them. And if you do, you may not like what you find out. I won’t go into detail about my life story or my road to salvation here, I’ll save that story for another time. However, in talking about our identity it’s important for me to differentiate the two different views of them: The worldly view (humanistic perspective) and the Godly view (Christian perspective).
People view the world in one of two ways in their fundamental beliefs, assumptions about life, the big questions, and more. On the one hand, there is God’s way of approaching the world, and on the other hand, there is man’s way. Your upbringing will largely influence if not determine your view of the world.
So, what does one’s worldview have to do with those profound questions such as, “Who am I or What’s my identity?”; everything! Do you know what a plumbline is? It’s the weight with the string that is used to show the crookedness of a wall, door, window, etc. It’s a tool to make crooked things straight for it reveals the distorted. If we don’t start with the right plumbline, the product is not going to come out right.
We, as living beings, search for and find comfort in a solid sense of identity. It grounds us. It gives us confidence. And our sense of identity affects everything in our lives – from the choices we make to the values we live by. I tried to find my identity as an entrepreneur, but I didn’t use God’s plumbline.
For the last 15 years of my life, I wanted to build an online business but instead of doing it God’s way (through biblical principles), I did it my own way (man’s way). I had the right intentions but the wrong approach. Simply put, we don’t know what we don’t know. And because we don’t know, people will take advantage of that fact.
In the world of business, everyone claims to have the “solution” to your problem. So, unless you have a clear business model, who you want to serve, and how you’re going to serve them, you’ll end up getting distracted and buying everything the “guru” has to offer.
This is what happened to me, and there always seems to be a part of the puzzle missing too. This is by design, of course. It’s all about making the next sale, not necessarily helping the customer. I fell into this marketing trap. The worst part of it, I was being taught to do the same in my own business practice.
I had to re-evaluate my business. What had originally motivated me to become an entrepreneur to help others has now been tainted. Some of the things I’ve learned in the marketing world were no longer congruent with who I wanted to be. I felt like an imposter again.
As I continued my search for authenticity in my life and business, I decided to take my concerns to the Lord in prayer. And that’s when it happened, it was at that exact moment when I realized that I was looking for my identity in all the wrong places.
There’s only one place where every question about our identity is answered, and the answer is more amazing than anything we could have hoped for or imagined. We find it in God’s Word (the Bible), and it wastes no time in settling our identity issue for us by revealing that mankind was made according to nothing less than God’s own image and likeness.
Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
Possessions have always been an important part of our identity, but there’s nothing in our world that’ll totally fulfill our inclination for identity, not our friends, our social status, or even our own family. None of those things can ever make us feel complete. But when God is placed at the center of our lives, the conflict finds resolution or to put it another way, God is the solution to our problems. The crisis is then put behind us and an unfolding adventure of walking with God begins!
“The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”-Pope Benedict XVI
Simply put, we belong to God, our lives are to be spent according to His purpose for us, and our sense of identity derives from Him. This is huge because it ends the exhausting quest of satisfying our deep desire for identity by connecting with someone or something beyond ourselves.
I am created in God’s image. My place is in having a relationship with Him. I belong wherever He places me. I am complete in Him. My people are all who are His, and I fit in and stay in according to His power at work in my life. This eventually led me to my calling, to become a Life Coach Minister.
Telling my story allowed me to see for the first time what exactly I was chasing after in my life even if I didn’t know what it was initially. So, who are you and what’s your story? And if you find yourself not fitting in like myself, just know this “Jesus loved the outcast”.