“I have watched you mature so much over the course of our friendship.” “She’s just trying to figure out who she is.” “He’s changing a lot.” “I don’t really know who she is anymore.” “He’s growing up.” All familiar phrases I have heard people say about me and about others they know and love. Many times, the loved ones they’re talking about have gone through a self- or otherwise-proclaimed identity crisis.
What is an identity crisis? Google says an identity crisis is “a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.” I can agree with most of this definition, but as a follower of Christ, I add to the end—“which can be resolved when I recognize, understand, and believe who I am in Jesus Christ.” And if my definition is true, then we perhaps all need to have an identity crisis.
In looking back at my life, I realize that I have had different separate identity crises in three areas of my life, all of which led me closer to Jesus Christ. Because of this, I think that believers may find several times when they have had an identity crisis—affecting the following three key areas in their lives:
Spiritual (Spirit)—What is your worldview? Every believer has an identity crisis when they first become a Christian. If you are a Christian, you know what that feels like, how that affects you. When I received Christ as my Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit was given to me to guide, correct, and comfort me. God’s presence in my life shifted my worldview from me-centered to God-centered. I began to look at myself, others, and everything I experienced in a different way (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17). I continue to have these spiritual crises as I grow in the Lord.
Physical (Body)—What is your physical features, your body, your appearance? Some people constantly have an identity crisis about who they are physically. When your appearance changes, people notice—then they say something, and we are reminded of who we are physically. I grew up in a family of good eaters (and good cooks!) who struggle with their weight, which has caused me to be constantly in crisis about who I want to be physically and who I actually am physically. The Word of God had to penetrate my heart about how God viewed my body and how I should see it, too (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Romans 12:1, Genesis 1:27).
Emotional (Mind)—What is your mindset? Your emotional identity includes not only what you think but how you think. As Sai Baba said, “All action results from thought, so it is thoughts that matter.” Currently, this is where God is changing my identity the most. I am in constant crisis as I struggle to change my thinking patterns to those that glorify God. And I know this is important to God, because He speaks so much about our thoughts in His Word (Romans 12:2, Romans 8:5-6, Philippians 4:8)!
Praise God we are more than even the sum of these parts and that we are His children, no matter where we are or what kind of identity crisis we may experience!
Have you had an identity crisis lately? If not, perhaps that is what you need to begin living the abundant life God has in store for you!
What kind of identity crises have you experienced in your life?