I hear these words a lot in conversations with college students. Actually, I hear this a lot from young professionals, older professionals, husbands…well, many different people in many different stages of life. Even when someone I know seems to be extremely confident on the outside, he or she will share with me thoughts of confusion on why he exists, or in understanding who she really is.
Sometimes people think a road trip or travel is involved in trying to find self identity. Oregon and Washington seem to be popular locations to search for the answers to “Who am I?” These are two of my favorite states, but I think this burden is even too much to put on these beautiful places. The truth is, if I’m moving from Oklahoma to Oregon to find myself, I’m still bringing the same me along. Same thoughts, feelings, books, and wheelchair. I still haven’t found any more than I took.
Identity has turned into a drug that humans search everywhere to find. Today’s culture has given the word “cougar” a new definition. It now describes older women who “find themselves” through affirmation and acceptance from younger guys. Religious people try to find themselves in good works. Professionals try to find themselves in the the next big promotion. Lovers strive to be fulfilled by each other. All are seeking to “find themselves,” but the heart comes up empty and cries out as in the U2 song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
This was me as a student at the University of Oklahoma. Like many, I went after different people, places and things to try to discover who I was. As a guy with Cerebral Palsy, I was always trying to prove myself because of my weaknesses. Not simply the visible weaknesses like a speech impediment and using a wheelchair for mobility, but the weaknesses and insecurities we all deal with…like the ones you are dealing with right now.
In my dorm room, a persistent friend shared with me that by putting my trust in Jesus, my identity is anchored in Him. That night, God led me to Colossians 2:10: “In Christ, I’ve been made complete.” I found myself through losing myself, and knowing deep in my heart for the first time that my sole identity is in Christ. Jesus comments on this heart’s desire to find oneself: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it (Matthew 16:25).”
That night I wrote this in my journal:
The only way to find yourself is to lose yourself and know that when you put your faith in Christ, He becomes your sole identity. You found yourself because Christ found you. Now, you are in Christ. Jesus defines you. Now, in Christ, this is who you are:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NIV)
…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace… (Ephesians 1:7 ESV)
What are some practical ways you remind yourself that your whole identity is in Christ? Please comment below.