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Pointers along the way #197

A question of identity
- Jacob Ninan

Having been born into this world as individuals, some of us have a tough time finding our place here. We are forever looking to see what our role is, whether at home, workplace, church, society or other places. We constantly come up against the other side of reality where we are just a small part of a 'bigger picture'! We sort of lose our individual identity and become just numbers or job descriptions. It is not only teenagers who ask themselves questions such as "Who am I?", "Why am I here?," "Where am I going?", "What am I supposed to do?", etc. This so called identity crisis robs us of our confidence and holds us back till we are able to figure out who and what we are.

Generally speaking it is seen that men and women handle this differently. Men think more in terms of what they can accomplish and women in terms of how much they are loved and valued. Even when they think of the possible impact of their actions on others, men tend to consider the possibility of others thinking more or less highly of them, and women about whether this would cause others to love them more or less. However differently men and women seek for support from the others, it does turn out that most people are seeking for support from other people in order to enhance their sense of self worth. This causes us to live in fear of others, to pamper to the wishes of others in order to ensure our happiness, and to feel devastated if someone disappoints us. The Bible calls it a snare to live in fear of man (Pr.29:25). Placing our dependence on people can be very unreliable because the best of people may not understand us at times or be available when we need them. That is why the Bible tells us that it is better to trust in the Lord (Ps.118:9).

When we come to the Lord, we are no longer numbers or ministry descriptions. We are individuals who are special to Him, with each of our names written on His palms (Is.49:16). He values us and takes care of us like the apple of His eyes (Ps.17:8;Zec.2:8). He has even numbered the hairs on our head (Mt.10:30). In order to save us, Jesus would leave all the others and come looking for us (Lk.15:4). It is with the Lord that we can find our security, and it is our knowledge of Him that gives us our identity.

We know that as individuals we are all different from one another. God has created us with different abilities, and He has allowed us throguh different indivdual situations in life to train us, in order to fit for our contribution to this world and His kingdom in a way that only we can. The more secure we become in our relationship with God, the more we can be ourselves in relation to other people too.

Many times we, especially married couples, tend to demand that others should be like us, and we try all kinds of things to mould them into our image. If only we would stop clinging to one another to meet our needs! If only we would find our self worth in God! Then we can also give space to others to be themselves!