Searching for Identity

Recently, some peers have come encountered difficulty in their young lives. I have talked with these people numerous times. Most of my time has been spent listening. What I find is that these people are grasping for anything to hold onto. As I have thought about this more, I wonder if the reason that they are unable to come to terms with where their decisions have taken them in life is because they don’t have an understanding of self or as we might say, an identity. Although I have not posed the question, “Who are you?” to them, I would be intrigued to find out their response. As adolescence continues to stretch to the late 20’s and early 30’s, I wonder if this lack of identity to later stages of life can be tied to a lack of identity formation in the context of the church. Thus, my peers are grabbing for whatever they can hold onto, even if it only provides an identity for a short period of time. They seem uncomfortable in their own skin, or at least unsure of who they are. Barth once suggested that there are no psychological problems, only theological ones. I think he may be onto something. I don’t want to negate the work of psychologists and how they help people come to terms with who they are. But Barth is correct in his thought here because identity is never truly identity outside of God. Our true identity is as God’s children and when we return to this, we are able to discover our true self. Outside of this, though we may become some semblance of our true identity, we will never be who we were created to be. How is the church fostering this identity? How are we shaping our community around this identity?

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