Do you dread that inquiry about your identity? Tell me about yourself.
Whether it’s in an interview or during ice breakers at an event or small group gathering, I always feel ill-prepared to answer when someone asks me to talk about myself.
Um, well, I’m a mom of two boys and I have a sweet little granddaughter. I like to write. I help people publish books. I love to travel. I like to cook and love to eat.
If it’s a business setting I’ll say that I’m an author of three books and have been an editor and publishing consultant for more than a decade.
Maybe you’re response sounds similar:
I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a professional.
I am a writer.
I am a volunteer.
But none of those answers really explain who I am—or who you are.
We adopt titles because they give us identity and purpose and a place to fit in in this world.
Belonging is important to us!
Starting from childhood on, we sort ourselves into groups based on similarity of roles. Some of that sorting is formalized by school: sports groups, band, orchestra, choir. Leaders gather in student council. The smart kids join chess club or math club. Self-professed geeks find a weekly DND (Dungeons and Dragons) game.
Other groups are informal. The kids who don’t seem to fit in anywhere else find each other. They create their own communities of acceptance.
As we grow older, we find community through our kids, or careers, our churches, or through civic responsibilities. (It can be even more challenging as adults to find our place than it was for us as children!)
We define ourselves by our roles as a way to create common ground—to connect with others’ similar roles or interests.
Who am I?
The problem is that when our roles and relationships inevitably change, it throws us for a loop. We lose our identity. We ask questions like . . .
If I am not a wife or a mother or a professional, who am I?
What purpose do I serve?
Where do I fit in?
Have you been there?
The need for belonging is an essential part of being human. We were designed and created not for solitude but for belonging, for togetherness, for community.
But too often, in our culture, community, and even churches, we feel lost or left out.
So we do whatever we believe is necessary to fit in.
- We say yes when we really want to say no.
- We join clubs or groups or boards and go to endless meetings that bore us to tears.
- We pursue careers we don’t want.
- We chip away at ourselves to become someone others acknowledge or appreciate or simply accept.
- We may even do and say things against our spirit or conscience to go along with the crowd or the culture, thinking that people might like us more if we give in or agree with them.
We do those things with the hope of belonging somewhere—anywhere—so we stop feeling like an outsider and start feeling like we matter.
But you do matter. You always have.
You were lovingly created, on purpose, for a purpose.
Your identity—who you are—is inextricably tied to your creation and, most importantly, to your creator.
But we all, so often, forget our divine origin. We forget that God created us with intricate, purposeful design.
This post is the first in a series where we’ll explore identity: who you are beyond what you do, your role, your status, or what the world says about you. We’ll look at what God has to say in His Word about your uniqueness and why you may feel like you don’t “fit in.”
As we get started, I want to share a Bible passage that you may know well: Psalm 139:13-16. Verse 13 is a popular one! Read the verses that follow and take a few minutes to reflect on how much care and thought went into your creation.
Meditate on These Verses
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever felt like you lost your identity or simply don’t belong?