BUT! While I’ve opened up the can of dimensional worms… I’ll take the time to break into another controversial subject that tends to make my brain hurt more…. Identity…. Just who on earth are we??? What are we??
“Our identity is found in God! We are His children!” Okay yes. I know that answer. Good for you. Have a cookie. I get that response quite a lot but that is not really what I was getting to. For even in the body of God we are designed to be unique from each other in order to fulfill the broad scope needed. We are not meant to run independently but together, relying on each others’ strengths to fulfill our weaknesses. But then what exactly makes our identities?
“We are the chemicals in our bodies!” “We are the results of what those in our pasts have scarred us to be!” “We are creatures of instincts who have been tarnished by delusions of culture and society!” These are more common ones I hear the world come up with. However in this case I find the answers to be surprisingly lacking… or even in some cases saying “The sun gets hot by ice cream melting faster!”
I look at myself, and honestly… who am I? A guy who thinks too much? That is true. Someone who follows God? Well… ya I try… Someone who was outcast as a freak of nature and a monster? That is true as well…
We say “Your past does not define you!” but to tell you honestly it does affect you quite a lot. No matter where I go in life, or what I become, I will always have that darkness within me. There are memories of what I’ve done, images of what I’ve seen, doors which I had opened which can never be closed again.
I have had many a Christian tell me “Well that’s because your faith isn’t strong enough! Don’t you know God wipes you clean?” But I don’t think they quite understand what wiped clean means. I am NOT the person who I was. Nor do I ever hope to be again. But does that mean I never could? No… I am quite aware of what I am capable of… I am quite aware of how tempting it is to realize what I could accomplish if I went back to it. But I CHOOSE to follow God. My past has changed who I am, but I am free from it. Free to follow the new path God has set before me.
In the same way… Are our identities based on our knowledge and memories? It’s true that I was a much different person when I was a lot more naive. A lot more outgoing, adventuresome…. actually quite the idiot (maybe that part didn’t change) but at least I was an honest idiot 😛
But while the people who I have met in life, and the things I have learned have changed me…. can I say that THAT is what my identity is? ….No not really… because even though I couldn’t control what I learned or experienced in life… I could control how I reacted to it. And on top of that, part of who I was… something at my core… affected the way I would react.
I see it all the time in people that I meet. I meet people who are naive, people who are hurt, people who are driven, people who are hiding. There are the things they do. There are the things they try to do. There are the things they never want to do again. But at the same time there is always something else… something deeper…. a core that it is all built upon.
You could send 100 people through the exact same life trial, but there would be a variety of responses to how they reacted to it… because at their core they are different. Why do some people stand up to trials and some shirk away? Why do some people feel entitled while others just figure that is life? There are far too many variables to decide what causes this and what doesn’t….. but this I will say… no matter how much someone changes, reacts, grows, breaks, or more…. there is always SOMETHING about them that will always remain themselves.
Identity is deep… it’s depth goes far beyond what I can seem to comprehend. But I think (especially now) it is important to at least think about. How many world issues now a days rely on identity. The idea of claiming your identity, protecting your identity, not having your identity abused, knowing what you are able to do, not able to do. Where you need to grow, where you need to let go. Identity is a massive topic and I can’t even scratch the surface…. I do believe it goes far beyond our bodies and into our very souls.
This world says your body controls your identity… I say it’s the reverse. While I’m sure a person in pain may be grumpier or less likely to take risky moves than a person not in pain (I can attest) Or someone who can’t think clearly may not use their head as much as someone who can’t NOT think… I do believe there is a HUGE area that people overlook…. the power our identity has over our bodies themselves…. Sugar pills… the placebo effect…. What we believe, what we strive for, what we see ourselves as… our bodies to some extent begin to react to that.
Now I mean there is a limit… believe me… I hit it and it wasn’t pretty…. But at the same time, I think this has a bigger effect on our world than we give it credit for