Every human soul has been endowed with certain needs, including needs for love, companionship, fulfillment, purpose, etc. Many spend a lifetime figuring out that nothing in this world can fully accommodate all of those complex wants.
Without a relationship with God, even when things are going great, things can feel amiss. Ultimately, all of the deep needs in the human heart are fulfilled by relationship with God. This includes the need and desire for a true sense of identity.
Over the years I have struggled with discovering my vocational calling in life. I have gone through seasons where I just get stuck and it takes me a lot of time to progress and sort things out. There are times where I feel like a real failure because of my job, paycheck, living situation, relationship status, and social life.
In addition, all too often, peers have picked up on these seasons of doubt and they feel like it would be the perfect time to offer “well-meaning” advice. Sometimes “advice” feels like judgement.
There was a time when I determined my worth based on people’s imperfect judgments of my life. I also based who I am off of things and circumstances that are not guaranteed to be permanent or consistent.
In a previous article, “Growing an Eternal Perspective,” I talked about the lasting quality of the permanent/unseen things of faith. If not for an eternal perspective based off God’s promises, people can find themselves identifying purely based on circumstances that are rooted in a system that is unstable and temporary.
Don’t get me wrong, accomplishments are good. Careers are important. Healthy relationships are glorious. Our loved ones’ opinions and advice can be helpful and constructive. The important thing, however, is to remember to be humble regarding success and to still feel confident and loved despite failures.
Also, it is good to take advice from those who truly know and care but in the end people’s opinions are just that…opinions. Regarding another person’s life, opinions are not always constructed in reality.
No person can know another person as fully and completely as God does. God knows every hair on a person’s head, every thought in their mind, and every cell in their body. What He says is the truth.
When people see themselves the way God sees them and they weigh their worth based on what they mean to God, true identity is discovered. Instead of seeking out gratification and fulfillment from things and people that ultimately could let down at some point, people can feel a sense of confidence and security in something constant and absolute.
Accomplishments and relationships are important and satisfying, but if tomorrow a relationship is ruined, an ambition is dashed, or past mistakes are thrown in the face true identity is still secure
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)