When a person moves to a new place and takes a new job, the natural tendency is this need to create an identity for oneself. Since moving to the Twin Cities 6 days ago, I have also been wondering what kind of identity I should obtain for myself. I figured that one reasonable way to create an identity is to pay attention to my friend’s identity and learn from them.
In the span of 4 days, I have hung out with 4 very different friends, one friend a day for about 4 days now. As we hang out, I feel a bit like an investigator. I am paying close attention to learn what motivates each of them, what hobbies they enjoy, what jobs they take, how they spend their money, who they hang out with, how they view fellowship and so on. While part of the reason for my inquisitiveness is simply because I have not talked to some of these friends for awhile and want to know what is going on with them, I think another part of it might just be this need to jump into one of their already established identities. If I can find one friend’s identity that closely aligns with my ideas and personality, then it seems like it would just be easier to copy that identity and use it to define myself.
Now, here’s where the trouble comes… Each of my friends is so amazing and has different qualities and habits that I really value. To pick one identity and follow suit would be sacrificing another part of a friend’s identity that I completely admire and respect. I only realized that I was sub-consciously identity hunting last night after an early evening jog. As I jogged around a neighborhood that I will never in my life be able to afford, I realized that living in this type of neighborhood and having the trendiest car or the most artistic looking landscape could easily become someone’s identity. And, although I am looking at my friend’s characteristics and not their possessions to help find an identity, I have had the wrong idea about identity.
I felt very clearly last night that the Father was saying, “You don’t have to create anything; you have already been created in my identity and that is going to look different in you than it looks in your friends.” After hearing and feeling his affirmation, I felt like a huge load had been lifted off my shoulders. I can enjoy each of my friends for who they are and don’t have to be secretly planning how I can be more like them. And instead of slapping on characteristics to create my identity I need to allow the Father to work on me from the inside out, not the other way around with me trying to be on the outside what I might be lacking on the inside.