Outside of my regular responsibilities, I’ve spent the past few days watching NCAA basketball. One of the things I’ve observed is that every team wins in a different way. Some teams are heavy on 3 point shots while others are big on defense including steals and turnovers. The bottom line of all this is that the team is committed to a particular identity. While they are adaptable and flexible, they usually go with what has worked to get them to the point that they are today. I was further inspired on the issue of identity when I heard someone on a sports show briefly mention a player having an identity crisis. He basically said that one year the player wants to be friendly and nice, then the next year the player wants to be mean. What is the player saying? The player is saying that he’s not sure who he wants to be. He continues to experiment with different personalities instead of sticking to who he is.
All of this has me thinking about a very serious issue in our society. This issue isn’t on the same level as poverty, genocide, murder, etc, but can shape how people behave and think. The reality is that most people (especially based on my experience and observations) struggle with maintaining an identity of who they are. Too many people try to change the fundamental background of who they are to fit in with other people. There are some people who are so caught up in trying to have everybody like them that they will change their personality and identity like changing clothes. This boils down to an issue of needing people’s approval and affirmation. While I am believer in the idea that all of us need affirmation, this shouldn’t come at the cost of trying to change who we are just to get that affirmation. Real friendship is about helping you, the real you, to be better. The people in our lives should be encouraging us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Be careful about hanging around people who are so stuck on you being who THEY want you to be that they don’t appreciate who you’re uniquely created and crafted to be.
A lot of our identity crisis boils down to us not being confident in who God created us to be. The Bible makes it clear in Psalm 139 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Fearfully in this context means “honor, respect, reverence.” In other words, God carefully designed who we are. That is not something we should take lightly. Because of how careful God was in designing us, we should be committed to being the best version of the person God created us to be. There is only one of you and there will never be another version of who we are. To change who we are to fit in with people who probably don’t have our best interest at heart is a rejection of the Creator and His work.
What I didn’t share with you at the beginning is that in the games where the team stays true to their identity, most of the time that team wins. Therefore, I believe that if you stick with who God has called you to be, you will also be victorious. This world needs the best version of you, not a version based on the inconsistent affirmation of others. Remember that some of the same folk who affirm you because you change into what they want you to be can be the same ones ready to throw you away in a minute. Therefore, stick with God and those who genuinely want what’s best for you. Stop changing yourself to fit in with people and just embrace the person God has called you to be. You have so much to offer this world. Don’t go to the cemetery with it. Bring it out now!