Monday, March 12, 2012

Identity (part 1)

Identity is a tricky thing. In the last couple of months it has been on my mind constantly, what makes up our identity and what is worthy to be identified as our identity. I work with Middle and High School students and they are constantly trying to build their identity around many different trends, people, sports, games, girlfriends/boyfriends and so on. The truth is you can’t put an age on those who struggle with the structure of identity, we all do.

When I am traveling on an airplane the question often asked after an introduction is “what do you do for a living?” For many people careers are what we build our identity on, and for me this has been my recent struggle. I am currently a Youth Director at the church I started going to in middle school. It seems at times I build too much of my identity around this position and put way to much pressure on myself to be flawless at what I do, because after all this is what defines me right? Wrong. 

Back to the students. When I was in middle school and high school we chose one major identity. Theses identities consisted of Jocks, Nerds, Music Geeks, and so on. Today students often switch from one identity to the next within silos depending on who they are around. They may be a computer geek around their computer geek friends and then go be a jock at Football practice. We live in a world that allows more choices than ever before. We have phones full of apps where we can gather information, play games, check our mail and post on Facebook in the span of 2 minutes. 

And this is how the world has changed. We have multiple identities, more than ever before. 

I tend to identity myself as: A Christian, a husband, a youth pastor, a massive Star Wars fan, a gamer, a comic book nerd, an ultimate frisbee and disc golfer, a musician, a writer, a fan of sports and much more. These identities can change daily or hourly depending on my mood, who I am around or what I am doing. 

And lets not get these confused with hobbies, sure these are all hobbies but they have each been obsessed over so much that they have become apart of my identity. 

The question then would be is this how it should be? Is it okay to have these multiple identities and is there an order of priority within these identities? And if there is how am I doing with that? 

When you look in the mirror how do you define yourself? What is the most important thing that you want to be identified or remembered as?