I am a small, insecure, weak child, but like most children my heart and mind are open. I’m constantly learning, growing, and changing. I want to explore as much of this world as possible. I want to taste new food, climb new hills, and ride down new roads. But like a child, I’m also vulnerable to being hurt. I care about what my peers think of me. I’m disappointed when they don’t like me. I’m crushed when they ridicule me. Where do I turn to get affirmation? education? comfort? identity?
Most children turn to their parents and it’s during the critical years of childhood to adolescence that their words hold the most weight. I had good parents. They taught me right from wrong. They raised me to respect and honor people. They fostered an environment where I knew I was loved, but they weren’t perfect. They divorced around the time of my adolescence and I never really learned who I am, and I believe this has shaped my life in many ways. I think the divorce taught me to be a peacemaker and to be loyal, but most of all, not to create waves that are too big for the situation.
A journey of identity began my freshman year at VT, and it hasn’t ended yet. I remember walking across campus and praying that God would make me into the man he wants me to be, the man I am supposed to be, and the past five years have all fueled that prayer. Whether at Tech with Authentic Manhood, or my summer in Yellowstone on project, or my year in Colorado with Focus on the Family and Summit Ministries, all have contributed to God’s plan to make me who I am supposed to be.
I’m still don’t understand my identity, but I’m much closer now than I was five years ago. I believe this is one of the reasons God has me here at G42—to continue learning from him. I need my creator to speak life over me and show me the way I am supposed to go. I want to be so secure in my identity that the words of others do no harm, because I have the word of the Lord in my heart, and he has made my identity plain. How many people do you know that can simply walk into any environment or sub-culture, change their appearance and language, and still be completely comfortable in being them? My guess it not very many. I want to be one of those people, so that I may say with Paul “I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.”1 However, I think to get to that point I must be completely confident in my identity.
My journey has begun. Do you know who you are? Strip away all titles, jobs, hobbies, parents, relatives, or spouses and ask yourself, “Who am I?” Then ask God, but be careful, he might just show you.
- 1 Corinthians 9:22 ↩