~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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? 

4 Ways We Hide From Who We Are

Every time someone asked me about my father, I got a stabbing feeling in my gut. Like it was my fault I didn’t know him. So many times I would make up stories. 

“He was killed in the war; he was a hero!”

“He was killed in a car crash.”

“My mom and dad are divorced.” 

That last one, the divorce one, in the 70s, was about as bad as not knowing him. But, it was so much easier than saying “I don’t have one.” Of course, I have one right? Even 4-year-olds know that! But I just couldn’t face explaining to people I didn’t know him. I learned to hide who I was in as many ways as possible. 


The first was lying. Each of those statements above was a lie. But they diverted the real issue, and it worked. So I learned, lying works. It takes the attention off the negative. It ends the conversation. Until it doesn’t. Until the truth comes out and you’re in a deeper hole than when you started. I would lie that I didn’t take any cookies from the cookie drawer. This lie would lead to many years of dysfunctional eating. I would lie that I was spending the night at my girlfriend’s house when instead we would be out partying all night. 

Then as I aged and matured, I would lie at church and in my groups that my marriage was great. We did all the things right. We had date nights, devotions, regular sex, deep conversations. The reality? For a while, we had none of that. 

Those things weren’t happening because of the lie I would tell myself. The lie I would tell my husband. The lie I would tell my best friends. 

“I’m Fine!”

Oh, sister, how many of us live in that lie? We say it enough until we believe our situation is fine. When our reality is anything but. We believe the lie. 


When I realized it was too hard to keep lying, I secluded myself. If I hung out in my house, just me and the tv, no one could know. How often do we drive home every day, park in our garage and close the door? Close ourselves in. Away from the world. 

As an extravert, that only worked for so long. Yet, I found ways to stay secluded, even out in the world. I would busy myself with the kid’s school. I would walk around a shopping center or the mall. Anywhere I could hang out with people yet not be asked questions. I was the loneliest I had ever been amid a sea of people. 

But, you introverts, can hole up for days. Even though you too need some human interaction, there are words that keep you hidden. 

“I’d rather not talk about that. I’m a very private person.”

Interpreted – “I will not let you into my pain. I will deal with it myself so you will think I’m ok.” 


In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve hid from God. This is the first account of trying to hide from Him. 

8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Why were they hiding? They had done the one thing He asked them not to do! They were ashamed. They thought if He couldn’t see them, couldn’t see their nakedness, He would not know. 

We speak so many words over children that can bring on a lifetime of shame. 

“Putting on a little weight aren’t you?”

“Stop slouching!”

“How can you be so stupid?”

I heard so many of these things. I would wear oversized boy clothes to hide the little pudge I was developing at age 11. Then I would sneak an extra Twinkie at night because it made me feel better. I would make up stories that would make me sound smarter. Steal clothes that we couldn’t afford so I would look more normal. All the while developing ulcers because I was so ashamed, knowing I was wrong. 

The worst feeling was making up stories about my mom. Stories that made her look like a strong, caring mother. Stories that would show the world I didn’t need a father. We were better because we didn’t have one. Didn’t need one. The truth? I was so ashamed of not having one, I couldn’t bear anyone knowing it. 

All of this led to the biggest way I found to hide…


I read something in a book the other day that rang so true for me. I don’t remember it exactly, so I’ll paraphrase. It said something about wanting to be the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. Man, that was my childhood. I was an only child, but I had a slew of cousins around a lot. I loved most of them like siblings since I didn’t have any. Yet I always felt like an outsider. I learned the best way to get the attention I so desired was to perform. 

If I performed well, nobody saw the pain inside me. Everything looked so good and accomplished on the outside. Except for my hair… it never looked good! 

One cousin always called me spoiled. He talked about all the games and toys I had. What he didn’t understand was I received those things when I performed well. So it fueled the wrong thinking –

The only way someone will love me is to put on a smile and perform well.

If I didn’t do those things, they chastised me. “Stop crying.” “Stop whining.” “Try harder.” So I hid behind the things I did well. If I couldn’t do something well, I quit. And that is the attitude I carried into my adult life of marriage and children.

Until next time, ponder what this means,

 “May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.   ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:5