Our first sense of identity is when we receive our name as an infant. As a child, learning our name is an early step to realizing that we are in individual. Being able to comprehend our uniqueness and individuality is special. We each contain different genes, different lives, and different purposes.
But society’s names for us cloud who we are, and our identity in Christ. Magazines, movies, and social media platforms like to give people titles such as: overweight, ugly, unintelligent, crazy, obsessed, and not good enough. Schools naturally group students by sports, clubs, and other interests. We learn to live up to our earthly labels, not the one we were made for.
The summer after the 6th grade I started playing on my first club softball team. I had been in love with the sport since I was 6 years old. However, moving from a recreational league to a competitive one changed how I viewed the game, and viewed myself. Softball wasn’t just a hobby of mine. I was now deemed as an athlete, and my purpose in life went into fitting that title. Practice became the number one consumer of my time. Summer weekends were spent in hotels, typically out-of-state, away from family, friends, and most importantly, my church.
I believed I was living up to what God had hoped for me. The skill and opportunities I had were not something I earned on my own. I knew God had given me my talent and love for my sport. But instead of using my gifts for His glory, I was using them for my own. My identity was in softball. It was where I felt I belonged. The title “athlete” was all that was important to me and all my focus went into keeping that name. Because of this, I was walking further and further away from the true purpose God had planned for me.
We are not our earthly names. Our identity cannot be placed into things we can lose. When I started to burn out in softball, and my skill level dropped from where it was, it left me feeling lost. I did not have a purpose anymore.
I have seen the struggle with identity more and more in people my age. As we are discovering ourselves and who we want to be, culture pushes their own labels onto us. We feel like we fit into our society by trying to fit into the little box they give us. Athletes let their sport consume them, and put their confidence in life into their performance. Brainiacs sacrifice sleep and social relationships in order to study for a test the next day. Advertisements that push a specific body type, hair style, and fashion style, make girls scramble to fit into their idea of beauty.
As Christians, we have to be the guidance for anyone who feels lost. John 15:16 says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” Each one of us has an identity in Christ. We were made for no other name than Child of the One True King. Any other identity we feel we have to live up to is created as a distraction by Satan to pull us farther from our Father.
Drown out the false identities the enemy tries to push unto us. Do not fall into the trap of putting your purpose into temporary labels here on Earth. Our worth is so much more than anything we can ever find here on earth. The Lord of all creation wants You. He made you. He loves you. And He holds your one true name.