Updated: Nov 14
Well hello again! I hope that this series is challenging yet comforting to know you are not alone. As we begin, let me just get the cat out of the bag, the elephant out of the room, this is where I struggle the most. I have been seeking who I am from people for as long as I can recall. Between the attention, the approval, the worth of oneself from others' eyes... I might not totally be able to relate to some subjects but this one I get in full throttle. So now that that is out, let's get started, shall we?
Seeking identity in people can look a crazy amount of ways. We can find who we are in who our parents tell us we are or even who are parents are, through the people in life that pick us as friends, the gain or loss of popularity, the approval of a certain person, the desire to be needed by another... the list is vast. However, what I have found is that we seek in others because we either are not comfortable with ourselves and or we don't know ourselves well enough to love who we are. Either way, in the next few paragraphs I will break down some select groups of people that we might use to define ourselves and then come up with a game plan on how to be victorious and enjoy this concept of NOT finding who we are in other humans.
Number one, parents. Whether they say who they want you to be or simply imply, every parent has an expectation upon their child which they cannot deny. This can look like: wanting the kid to be happy, desiring a child to follow in their footsteps, or NOT wanting their kiddo to make the same mistakes they did. Is there anything at all wrong with this? Absolutely not! For many, this expectation, if said or not, can be what their child truly desires and that is awesome. However, there are others who have lived their whole life to please and appease the people who gave them life, and that decision is unhealthy. I would like to say I am not one of those kids but I am. Instead of seeking my heavenly father, I sought after attention from my earthly mom and dad. You know that old say WWJD (what would Jesus do)? Well mine was/ sometimes still is WWMD? What would my mom want me to do. That is extremely embarrassing to admit. To be frank, I did not even realize I did this until sometime in college. When my mom finally came crumbling off of her petal stool... it was truly earth shattering. By the way, I have no clue what happened but all I remember is that deep feeling of, "Wow I have turned my mothers religion into my own." Did she warn me of this? Absolutely! But you see I am stubborn and ALWAYS have to learn the hard way. So from that point foreword, I have been seeking my own relationship with God and trying to embrace His love for me, not His love through my mom for me. Do I mess up and sit my momma right back on that throne of ruling over my decisions, yes. But now that I am slowly growing in grace and mercy on my own, I now have the opportunity to put Jesus there instead.
Number two, significant others. Whatever stage of life you are in...have flirty friends, dating, engaged, or married, we as humans seem to be so good at finding who we are in the attention of another. Now, this is yet again one that I continue to indulge in. We all have those days... we wake up, aren't feeling super cute and go to that one person for a little pick me up. Is there anything wrong with this? Of course not. The issue shows itself when we begin to break down every time he or she won't respond to a text or you begin to see yourself through the eyes of another instead of seeing you for you. I don't know how it is to be a boy, obviously, but I do know how it is to be a girl. And this subject of identity is a rough one. I want to blame culture and society for this incessant need to be get attention from a guy (girl) but honestly, it comes down to what we allow into our minds. Is it hard to look at those gorgeous people on Netflix and not want to be them? Yes. Is it satisfying to think that our life could be a romantic hallmark movie? Um yeah. But the truth of the matter is, we need to keep ourselves grounded in Christ. We need to be chasing after our dreams, goals, desires (which means taking time to get to you know... the real you... even if you don't like what you find, accept it anyway. We all have flaws and parts of ourselves we would rather not have but it makes you, you and if you can improve, do it). I know it is a lot easier said than done. But what I have found most helpful is being honest with a group of trust worthy people about these things... Hard, but helpful.
Number three, popularity (friends). Since I just brought up community, let's conquer it next. Can I be super clear here, community is amazing. I recommend it to everyone. Find people who will suffer and rejoice with you. Seek out humans who will tell you the truth. People who will accept your vulnerability and be able to receive it well and present their own secrets. The issue comes into play when you begin to surround yourself with "friends" who always agree with you. Or when you begin to seek quantity instead of quality. To be completely truthful, I have had many and I have had almost none (friends that is) and the times I have grown and learned the most were around one or two people that I did life with. Being a true, genuine friend is hard work. Now, a punch in the gut is when you find those genuine friends were for only a season. You see, if you began to find your worth in those humans you did life with, when the relationship is no longer there it is tragic. So yes, build those vulnerable relationships, but when the time has come, if it comes, to separate you need be make sure you have built yourself on a solid foundation, not on the presence or approval of man. This again, goes back to being okay with being by yourself... taking the time to own your relationship with Christ... to seek the good and the bad and maybe even the ugly within your inner most being.
Finally number four, the desire to be needed. I am not as familiar with this one. I desire to be wanted not needed, the difference? When you are wanted you are chosen by a specific person. When you are needed, you have the obligation to respond and meet the need... kind of life taking care of a baby. (I call it an obligation, it is probably more like a privilege to those who seek their identity in it.) I see this most with parents and children. Whether a small child growing up, a kid gaining their independence through a driver's license, or choosing to leave mom and dad with an empty nest. Being a parent is a life long commitment, I just confessed to needing my mom a little more than I probably should, but I also know as a parent (through a child's eyes) you are only FULLY needed for a season. Then you can seek your own dreams, goals, and desires or rather continue them in more depth. But if you have completely neglected yourself for over 18 years, I could see where you could begin to lose yourself. Again, I URGE you to still make time for you and Jesus, for you and your spouse, and to continue to engage in things you love. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with some, much deserved, self care!
I deeply hope these words have encouraged and challenged you, thanks for reading :)