Finding our identity

" . . . we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are." (1 John 3:1, The Message)

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(Photo: Pixabay)

People are often surprised when they hear that, although I was brought up in a South African family, I was born in Seoul, South Korea, I lived in New Zealand and now I live in Australia.

I like to think of myself as a multicultural person, since my family has lived all over the world. Yet even as a teen I wonder about the big life questions. Who am I? What am I going to do in life? Will I have an impact on people who want to know God?

So many people ask me nowadays, “What are you going to do with your life?” It’s such a big question and I try to sound like I’m so sure of myself. But the truth is I’m not—and the answer isn’t important, it’s not certain and it doesn’t change anything about who I am as a person. A verse that always reassures me in times of doubt is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” I’m still finding myself and I think you never stop learning things about yourself. Young and old, we will always be venturing out and taking new steps in the next stage of our journey.

Wondering about who I am raised another question: “Where does my identity lie?”

Identity is just a name—the important details about ourselves—a word that sums up who we are all too quickly. Because when I think about my place in this world and how small I am—how my identity is nothing but a name—it makes me feel non-existent.

Someone can steal my identity and I become a nobody but we have the power to change that—we don’t need to be defined by our identities.

Our financial status, our Facebook account, our position in the community doesn’t change one bit of who we are because when we have God as our Saviour our identity lies in Him. God is the Potter and we are His clay. When doubt settles in—when darkness sneaks its way in—remember who your Creator is. When you are at your lowest point, build yourself up through God. His ways are stronger and purer. The comeback is always stronger than the setback.

What God moulds us to be is what we will become because our identity through Christ is what sets us up for greatness. It’s true, our identity is what makes us different, our individuality is unique, but who would we be without God?

Without God our identity is meaningless, without God we aren’t the people to change hearts and minds to look to Christ. Without us being anchored deep in God’s love, what would be our purpose? Our identity?

As a human race, we are selfish, imperfect, flawed—but when Christ stands in our place we are glorified so when our identity lies in Christ we become a little less selfish and a little bit more like Jesus. 

"When doubt settles in—when darkness sneaks its way in—remember who your Creator is."

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “For no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived—the things God has prepared for those who love him.” When we who live in Christ allow God to change the way we live we can then impact others in the biggest way possible. Saul changing to Paul is an example of a person becoming someone entirely different. See, when we allow God to enter our hearts, things we never imagine end up happening. If our lives change or stay the same, one thing will always be certain and that is God.


Chare de Waal is a Year 10 student at Avondale School, NSW.

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