~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Is Your Identity Real or Fake? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* the distinguishing character or personality of an individual
* condition of being the same with something described or asserted
* sameness of essential or generic character in different instances

I recently learned young people are actually maintaining 2 social media accounts. “Finsta” is the new term for fake Instagram. I knew people weren’t “real” on social media, but to operate the account for that sole purpose? What have we become? Here’s the really weird part – the Finsta accounts are more about the “real” person. The less edited version. Yet it’s the “fake” Instagram??

OK, before you read any further, would you hop down to the comments section and write out one sentence introducing yourself to me? Don’t overthink it, just as you would say if we met at a party. Mine would sound something like this…

“Hi, I’m Barb. I’m a writer. I’m married with 2 grown kids and 2 precious grandboys. I live near Hilton Head, SC.”

Write it, but don’t post it yet. I’ll have you add to it at the end. 🙂 

How we meet people is so telling of how we think about identity. The most common questions we ask are:

  • Where are you from? Identify as a Southerner or Midwesterner
  • What do you do? Identify as your career or life path
  • Are you married? Have kids? Identify as a wife, mother, single

Our identities will change over time, just as our seasons of life change. When I was very young, I identified as a boy. I know that has a whole different meaning now, but for me then, I was athletic and I loved doing “boy” things. I dressed like a boy, cut my hair like a boy. I wanted to be a boy. Then as I grew and went through puberty, I no longer wanted to be a boy, even though I was still a tomboy. Instead, I wanted boys to like me. I wanted to be a girlfriend. 

My favorite identity throughout high school was trumpet player. I loved being known as that great trumpet player, the girl trumpet player. Until a special young man replaced my identity with girlfriend, fiance, and eventually wife. Then those identities melded into Mom. Whatever season I was in was the identity I assumed. And for me, I had a difficult time juggling more than one. That makes it tough to be a wife when you’re all wrapped up into mom. But, that’s a topic for another day!

There were identities I longed for that I would never get to know. I wanted to be a sister. I longed for siblings. Until I got two step-brothers. Ha! What was I thinking? I also longed to be a “daddy’s girl”. I saw a lot of my friends have that identity and it looked so safe and comfortable. It was an identity I never thought I could have.

It took many years for me to understand there is only one identity. The rest are just labels. Labels that can be peeled off or a new one stuck on top of it. But, the core, the identity (reread the definition above), can only come from a lasting relationship with the One that provides it. Even after I had accepted Christ. Even after I began walking alongside Him and learning all I could about Him, I didn’t get it. I would hear people pray and call Him “Daddy”. I would hear messages on being a daughter of the King. Yet, it made no sense to me. 

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” ~ John 1:12

For me, it took knowing who my earthly father was. Just a simple letter telling me all about him, since I could never meet him. It gave me a deep understanding that I had a father. From all appearances, a good man. A man who would have loved me. Somehow, God used that understanding in me to understand He too was my Father. A good, perfect, always there Father. Yes, I am a daughter of the most high King. I am joint heirs with Jesus Christ. I found my real identity.

Now, write your identity again under the first one. Not your label, your identity. If you can’t then write why, so I can pray for you. Praying that the God of the universe would allow that one thing to happen, as He did for me, that will give you that deep understanding of who you are. 

Now it would be weird if I met someone and said, “Hi, I’m Barb. Daughter of the Most-High King. Joint heirs with Jesus.” or “Hi, I’m Barb. I live my life as Heavenly Royalty here on Earth, for a short time, with the sole purpose of introducing people to my Father so they can walk in freedom here and live for eternity in Heaven.” It would be weird. But, aren’t we called to be weird?