If you were asked to describe yourself in 5 words, I wonder what words you would choose. Maybe you would prefer to choose an image, or piece of music? I wonder what thoughts come to you as you think about yourself and your identity? If I asked a friend or family member to describe you, I wonder whether their words, image, or music would be the same as yours; whether there would be crossover or whether they’d be completely different.
Identity is a huge subject and one which deserves far more words than I have for this blog, but I hope in these three short thoughts you might be encouraged to think a little more about your identity and the identity of those around you.
- My own identity and the identity of those to whom I’m closest is something which evolves and changes over time. Even when there are things about me which don’t change, for example my gender or skin colour, my understanding of them deepens. This process is not always straightforward or easy. It takes courage to understand ourselves more, and at times it’s even harder to let go of those parts of our understanding or our identity which we discover are not helpful or true.
- In discovering my own identity more I rejoice again and again that others are both different to me and share aspects of my identity. In the Bible, in Psalm 139, the psalmist tells us “you are fearfully and wonderfully made“, and I delight in discovering those who God has created fearfully and wonderfully, who are different to me and similar to me. In discovering each other’s identity, I find I discover more of God’s great diversity and beauty.
- One of my favourite Bible verses comes from Galatians 3:28 which says “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It reminds us that for Christians, whilst we rejoice in the diversity of our identities, we also have a primary identity as those who have chosen to follow Jesus. For me this primary identity unites me with my siblings in faith. It is from this shared identity in Christ that we worship, live and serve God together, celebrating both our unity and diversity in Christ.
I hope these brief thoughts will prompt you to think more about identity, yours and others, and how we might discover more of each other of God. If you have your own thoughts on identity why not get in touch with us? We’d love to hear them.