Protecting Our Identity

Who are you?  No, I mean really.  Who are you?  Most of us live lives that demand that we take on numerous roles.  For me, I am a pastor, a preacher, a friend, a confidante, a counselor, a teacher, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a homeowner, a sometimes-writer, a reader, a cook, a lover of antiques, a lover of history, and, right now, a human companion and purveyor of food and treats to one dog that I adopted on purpose and another one that twelve days ago accidentally adopted me (does anyone want a really cute dog?).  And those roles are just the tip of the iceberg.  It gives new meaning to “meeting yourself coming and going”.

The articles and advertisements for protecting one’s identity seem endless nowadays.  It’s the new danger in our world, the chance that someone might steal who we are, that we might somehow lose ourselves.  And so we shred and we cut and we lock and we watch.  We do everything to keep who we are intact. And yet, we find ourselves searching for who we are.  Isn’t that interesting?

God created each one of us.  We are unique, full of gifts and graces, most of which we haven’t even tapped into yet.  Each of us is a child of God, with the ability to become fully human and the desire to connect with the Divine.  I think that God actually envisions something for each of us, that God somehow created us with an idea of what the best of each of us is.  But we’re not children of the Stepford clan.  We are not pre-programmed robots that God wound up at the start and then pushed us down the road with enough battery juice to get us to the end of the road.  No, God’s vision of Creation was much more nuanced and much more beautiful than that.  Somewhere along the way, God decided to instill the notion of free will in us, the wherewithal (if, sometimes, not the ability!) to choose–to choose right from wrong, to choose one road or another, to choose to be one role or to be something completely different.  God gave us life and  envisioned what that life could be, envisioned our identity.  But how we get there is completely up to us.

Maybe this life of faith is about protecting our identity, then–from the world, from all those voices that beg for our time or our money or our attention, and, most of all, from ourselves.  Maybe learning to walk this life of faith is about figuring out how to protect our identity, walking that journey of becoming, losing, recapturing, and becoming again that Being that God envisioned us to be from the very beginning. It’s hard.  So, in this Season of Lent, as we strip away all of those encumbrances that pull us away from ourselves, as we try to find the way back to who we are, maybe it’s not just about becoming someone else, but protecting who we are in the first place.  So who are you?  No, I mean, really.  Who are you?
On this eighteenth day of Lenten observance, make a list of all your roles in life.  Which ones drain your existence?  Which ones give you life?  It’s a good thing to think about once in awhile.

Grace and Peace on this Lenten Journey,


And I’m serious…anyone want to adopt a dog?

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