An identity isn’t simply one fact about you but rather, it is everything that defines who you are. We live in a world that easily confuses what an identity is. One of the biggest things that our culture confuses is that our identity is found in what we do, rather than who we are. Take athletes for example. They take their identity in their ability and performance in the sport, while everything else about them is just ignored. What happens is that when you try to define a big word like identity, our minds restrict it to small qualities about someone, while overlooking so much more.
You know in movies, there seems to always be that one person that is liked by everyone? I wanted to be that guy. Growing up, I wanted to be liked and known by everyone. I wanted this so badly that I ended up changing parts of myself so that others would want to be around me. I became the class clown, and I found that I was able to make people laugh. So, in my head I thought that is where I will find my identity. Often, I asked myself if there was more to my identity, or was I just a funny guy and that was it? I kept wondering what made me, me. I started making a list to try and figure out who I was. But as I made that list, I struggled more and more to answer the question o my identity
I was raised catholic, so I had often heard that my identity is found in Jesus. I didn’t understand what that meant at the time. I had the “head” knowledge that He was my identity, but I couldn’t actually understand it in my heart until much later. I just thought, “Oh that’s pretty cool! But like who am I?” It was not until a prayer time at my youth group that I was able to understand that. I was just kneeling while we sang a song of praise to God, and as I looked at the cross that hung ahead of me God revealed the love that He has for me. I saw Jesus nailed to the cross, seeing the blood come from His hands, feet and His side, tears started to fill my eyes. I finally understood the extent of God’s Love for me. He loves me so much that, even if I was to be the only person on Earth, He would nevertheless send His son to die on a cross to save me.
From that point, I stopped trying to find who I was in what others thought of me, because I was finally able understand what it meant to find my identity in Jesus. It means that, no matter how much you look at yourself, no matter how many flaws you see, Jesus came down from Heaven, died a horrible death and rose from the dead for you. Jesus saved our lives, and because of that we are forever changed. And if Christ did die for us, which He did, then our entire identity is found in Him. The only way we can understand our own identity, is if we find it in the One who defines who we are as Sons and daughters of God, in Christ.
Finding this out is not only transformative to yourself, but also to everything around you. You will find a renewed sense of dignity and confidence in your identity. This understanding that
the Jesus delights in who you are brings lasting joy into your life. Joy that remains through hardship and pain. From my year of serving as a missionary with NET, I have had the opportunity to witness our world from a different point of view. A world where young people are presented with false ideas as to what they are worth. Now, through the work that I have been doing with NET, I have had the opportunity grow in this and encourage others to do the same. To leave behind the façade that they are forced to put on in front of others and to accept themselves for who they are – sons and daughters of Christ.