“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.”— Herman Melville, Moby Dick
How do you introduce yourself?
“Hello, my name is Linda and I’m a teacher.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Carlos and I’m a computer tech.”
“My name is Abioye. I’m a new exchange student here.”
“Hi, my name is Sarah and I work in retail.”
Aside from their names, what do these introductions tell you?
The focus is on what they do.
But who are they, really? Do they actually know themselves?
If you are like me, you have struggled to find your identity most of your life. I turn 65 this year. That means I have to register for Medicare and decide what to do about a lot of matters that arise at this time of life. Not fun.
But this milestone has also forced me into a time of reflection.
I don’t fit in. Never have, never will.
I’m a white female, single, never married, no kids.
When I was young, I was told that I had enough abilities to do whatever I wanted to. But many times when I tried to do something, I was told I couldn’t do that because I was a girl. So I became a “Tomboy.” That didn’t help.
I am also short and not very coordinated. Always picked last. So of course, I wanted to be taller and more athletic. People would overlook me, in both senses of the term.
I became an over-achiever. I strove to get high grades and be perfect. I felt insecure and had a fear of failure on one hand, but had pride and a sarcastic arrogance on the other hand — all at the same time.
My resentment of double-standards and discrimination built a deep-seated burning anger that affects me still today. Like Melville’s character, I took to the sea. I became a Navy JAG lawyer, then a criminal defense and family law attorney, and finally went to seminary to learn about my relationship with God.
I discovered I was looking at myself all wrong.
We tend to think of ourselves by our occupations, socio-economic status, ethnicity, nationality, sexual identity, marital and family status, our experiences, . . . .
Those factors are important in our lives, but do not really get to the core.
Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our purpose? Do we even have a reason for being? Where do we go from here?
We all struggle to find our identity, our true selves. Going through puberty is torture for us and our parents. But the search doesn’t end with graduation from high school.
What about you? What are some of your thoughts? Who do you think you are?
Does it feel like no one loves you? Do you come from a broken home and feel guilty because somehow it feels like your fault? Are you the victim of abuse and feel worthless and abandoned? Are you the sports jock from high school that revels in the accolades of the crowds, but still feel empty inside?
Notice that all these questions deal with feelings, not facts. Our emotions react to situations, but can be misleading. They are real and need to be acknowledged, but we need to dig deeper.
Learning the truth about ourselves helps us to deal with issues of identity, our hang-ups, and relationships with others.
The Bible teaches that God created each one of us. So He should know the “real you” and the “real me.” We can go to His book to find the facts.
In this series, I will explore who God made us to be, why we don’t function the way He intended, what He did to fix it, and our part in the process.
Come with me on a journey of discovery. Let’s find the answer to the question:
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace