Updated: Oct 11, 2018
I grew up hearing stories about my family being secretly Irish on my father's side of the family. I wanted to see how Irish I really was so I took a DNA test and discovered I was 22% Irish.
My father is less Irish than me as a percentage. This means I also inherited some Irish DNA from my mother and my brother and I, genetically speaking, are the most Irish in our family.
So, my DNA tells me I am part Irish, but I didn't grow up drinking green beer, and I rarely celebrate St. Patrick's day. I do have an urge to visit Ireland, but I would not say I identify with being Irish. Clearly, my DNA does not set my identity, but I could make choices to explore that part of my genetic makeup and more fully embrace this as my identity.
What does shape our identity? Physical characteristics, culture, experiences, or desires? Do we develop our identity or is it designed for us?
There are a lot of things that we look to regarding how we understand ourselves as human beings. We may identify with part of our ethnicity, a political party, or a specific gender role. We may define ourselves by our sexual desires, disabilities, or participation in a religion or a social construct like race.
These questions and our subsequent search for meaning are part of what is driving our identity crisis.
"There are a lot of things that we look to regarding how we understand ourselves as human beings."
Our society is shifting from the belief in a creator to a belief in self. This leads us away from an identity based on a Creator God and more toward a self-created identity. We believe that we can choose and form our own identities.
Without belief in a God who creates us and gives us intrinsic worth, we then have to develop our own sense of significance from our self-created identities.
We see this around us with a quick look at bumper stickers. We are trying to convey our identity to the world. We do this because we want who we are to matter and be valued. This is the one thing we all share in common as a human race.
I believe that a worldview with God at the center as creator proclaims that we all matter and have worth regardless of all these self-created labels we claim.
"A worldview with God at the center proclaims that we all matter and have worth regardless of these self-created labels we claim."
As a pastor, I get to be at a lot of funerals. At a funeral, we try to sum up a person’s life and name what we will miss about them. Ask yourself this question when it comes to your identity: what would people miss about you if you were not here?
To answer this question is not going to give you a label or identity based on politics, gender, sexuality, skin color, or genetics. It will most likely speak about your character as a person. That character is shaped by your actions and attitudes.
The biblical writer Paul said it this way, "And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (Corinthians 13:13, NIV).
You will ultimately be defined and identified by how you love others more than self.
Join us on Sunday at 9:30 am as we talk about, "Identity Crisis."
How do we make sense of who we are and who God created us to be? Seeking clarity in these areas has the potential to redirect our lives in helpful and hopeful ways. "Identity Crisis," a three week conversation about faith, hope, and love, may just redefine your life.
Sunday Worship: 9:30 am
Childrens Programming Available (Infant through Grade 5)