Identity is a topic that is widely talked about in all forms of media, whether they use the term 'identity' or not. We are bombarded with the different advertising that suggests that you really should look or act a certain way in order to be liked, to have value and to gain approval. It's a world-wide search for that sense of value, of being needed and finding where we fit.
The dictionary defines identity as 'the fact of being who or what a person or thing is'. In society we are quick to make judgements about others, putting them into a certain category and as a consequence we allow ourselves to be put in a box by others as well. Our first question when we first meet someone is often 'What do you do?' or (especially in YWAM circles) 'Where are you from?' as though we can get an understanding of who that person is by putting them into a category. We're quite often content to just leave it at that and neglect to seek out the deeper questions that get to the core of who the other person is.
I think that most of us would agree that it's limiting.
As we went throughout our week exploring the topic we focused on a slightly more in-depth definition of identity: The deep knowledge of where I come from, where I am going and to whom I belong.
We were asked to question the way that we view ourselves and where we find our identity. Throughout the different classes we were presented with questions to reflect on, some of them quite confronting.
Starting with the basics we answered three questions:
1. Who do you think you are? 2. Who do others think you are? 3. Who do you want to be?
After contemplating the answers we were presented with another set of questions:
1. What are the things hidden deep inside of you that you feel you are meant to do, but may have been lost along the way? 2. What ways do you feel others judge you or put you in a box? 3. What keeps you from stepping out into your dreams, the things you were born to do? 4. How can you move from the person you feel you have to be into what you really could be?
I personally, found that these questions were challenging to answer but that they made a huge difference when I stopped to think about them. If you have a chance, find a quiet spot, curl up with a notebook and pen and attempt to answer them for yourself - it's quite likely that you will be surprised with the answers that come to mind!
We were also given a creative task - to create a poster/work of art that in some way depicts our identity and who we are. The photos that I included above are the end result of a lot of time processing who God created each of us to be individually. I know that we enjoyed the small project - so if you're up for it you could also give it a go!