This is one of the deepest rooted, most influential issues of this culture causing a vast amount of pain, discontentment, depression, and loss of direction that affects every single person in this room to a high degree. This culture, this Nation, has a complete identity crisis today; we have become a people that grasps desperately and blindly for a clue as to who we are, really. We have National identity crisis, racial identity crisis, marriage identity crisis, gender identity crisis, sexual identity crisis, family identity crisis, and personal identity crisis. We have become a people grasping for a reason to belong, and a reason for importance; grasping for acceptance and accolades in the world around. And with everything, (self-worth, love, admiration, meaning) directly dependent upon what the world thinks of us—in light of the world's own standards, no less. Our culture has become completely obsessed with self. All we focus on is, "Are we admired by others for our looks, our talent, our intelligence? Do others accept us?" Imbalanced and untrue views of who we are, based on the thoughts of a mixed up and directionless culture have rotted our self-worth, our joy, and our ability to be what we were created to be by God. The problem is that, if we do not feel comfortable with who we are, then we will spend more and more time focusing on ourselves; becoming obsessed with being accepted and, "fitting in"; many others will become obsessed with the fact that they aren't accepted and, "they don't fit in". In either case, there is an obsession with one thing: self. The sad, overweight, unattractive, not-so-smart person who quits life and just feels sorry for themselves can be just as the prideful and self-focused as the arrogant, conceited person at the center of it all; because both of them are measuring, and living, life completely based upon obsession over themselves. The problem exponentially grows, because as you obsess over who YOU ARE- you begin to minimize and ignore others in life, minimize God Himself, minimize His calling on your life! (Obsession becomes consuming) You cannot help this to an extent because every thought, every relationship, every decision you make in your entire life is directly affected by who you think you are. Take this fact, and mix it with worldly ideas about who is acceptable and who is not, even in Christian circles, and you have a recipe for destruction.
There is a short, but life-changing path to a completely revitalized and healthy self-identity, no matter where you are starting from, but it is so far from what the world teaches that most are never going to find while absorbed in this culture. This path starts with a single question that you must decide, or you may never find a healthy self-esteem: "Do I truly believe I was created by God?" If you believe that you are an unguided, accidental evolution then, in your search to, "find your identity” you will eventually, inevitably discover that you are a temporary oops, looking for a self-made reason of importance, because there really isn't one in this empty existence, and anything accomplished really doesn't matter anyway because you will soon fade into nothing, into a Universe that will follow you, as it all fades into nothing, a Universe that seemingly came from nothing, with no rhyme, reason, purpose or design, back to nothingness, never to exist again, never to have mattered when it did exist, with not a memory that anyone or anything was ever here. In King Solomon's darkest days away from God, he discovered the hopelessness of this thought: Ecclesiastes 1:14. To think all of life and creation are accidental, unguided and temporary is not only depressing but it takes quite a bit more stretch for the imagination than realizing there is a Creator. Colossians 1:16. This entire creation around us was ingeniously designed and crafted by a loving and imaginative Creator, to show His splendor, and His love for us; that every plant, tree, insect, animal, star, solar system and galaxy has been lovingly designed for our awe and existence, because we were crafted by God Himself in love as the most complex, important part of this Creation—to rule & keep it. Psalm 139:13-18. If you truly believe Christ's Words—that you are created, not "oopsed", this alone is the foundational reason for your self-identity. The problem is that we don't let the impact of this reality effect our thought process because, if we do really know that God created us, in His wisdom and love, as we are today. 2 Timothy 3:1-2. We all have certain traits that are a bit narcissistic, but many today are showing more and more traits of self-absorption; they destroy the lives of those around them, and live miserably. If you do not know, or believe in, God, I understand getting lost in this mentality to a degree; but, you cannot be living as a true, humble follower of Jesus Christ and maintain an attitude of narcissism in this world. 1 Corinthians 4:7, Philippians 2:3-5, James 4:6, Galatians 6:3, Proverbs 26:12. If this is you, admit your selfishness and control to God; admit and understand that you do not really trust Him with your life. Admit to yourself that you are miserable, and lonely, and lost, and let Christ have the glory and honor instead of self. Psalm 16:2.
The next question to ask yourself in the search for self-identity is: "What did He create me to be?" This world has taught us, if you are not happy with whom you were created to be in life, then there must have been a mistake—take control and fix it; and not just in more outwardly noticeable ways, but in other ways we will mention as well. Just because you may, "feel" like that is, "just who you are" has nothing to do with whether it is reality or whether you are even really happy that way. If you want to be something you are not, it is because you simply are not in touch with who you really are— you have bought into a lie, and you will never be as happy following a second rate plan, as you will in finally discovering the first rate plan you were literally designed to fulfill. Even if you do not believe in God, you must see the logic behind the fact that everything between a male and female is made to compliment and fit together; (physical, emotional, intellectual, social) We need each other to be complete in so many ways. But, as a Christian, there is no reason for you to be held in this world of torment and struggle. It was not God who made you feel differently; it was dark forces bent on destroying you, it was sin and its effects on our hearts, it was men and their lies and abuse. You must start with the fact that if God is bigger, smarter, and more loving than anyone, then you can trust Him to be in control, and stop trying to change and control everything you don't presently agree with; then, embrace who you are in faith, even if you don't understand; then, put as much enthusiasm into discovering all that God has for you, as some do in reinventing themselves, knowing that you will have a happier, more fulfilled life in His Plan. Romans 9:20, Isaiah 45:9, 11-12. Our whole life is successful, and therefore should make us happy, if it glorifies God and does His will. We may feel as though we are as far from useful, and as far from His will as we could be in those circumstances but, in reality, we may actually be in a position to do more for God than we ever have: in realizing our weakness and reliance on Him to do it all, which can finally set us free to trust Him at new levels in prayer and expectation; in being used to teach others to love unconditionally, and to serve humbly as they care for and help us; to teach the world what true love and trust in God is, as you face your situation with a proven walk, rather than a broken spirit. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. You should understand the reality that you may be one especially chosen to serve God powerfully, then stop feeling bad about what you don't have and rather, let that weakness be used to glorify Christ in your life like no other. (Attitude, prayer, humbleness) What about those of us who didn't get the education, position, money, or life we were hoping for in life? Those of us who wish we could give more to our families, be something to give them more pride, accomplish more?: Jesus Christ was a carpenter on earth; did He see worth and success in position or money? Are you better than Him? Nothing about education, money or position is of importance or relevance to how God can use you. (He'll give them if He wants to use them) There are people in all walks of life that need a shining light, and trades of all kinds that Christ wants to use as a blessing in indispensable ways. 1 Corinthians 12:18-22.
The third question we need to ask while searching to make our self-identity Biblically based and strong is this: "What does God think of my life?" Mark 12:29-31. Ask yourself, "Is what I am doing glorifying God and/or loving others in His Name?" If so, then how good you look, how popular you are, how successful you become, how well you are liked, or how easy life is all become irrelevant, because you can rest in the awesome fact that you are pleasing the One Who loves you most; and you are fulfilling your very reason for existence above all. You are doing work that will be remembered when all this around us is forgotten. If you cannot answer this question with confidence, then you have not found a healthy self-identity in Christ; turn your focus on serving Him first, again and turn your back to all the other standards of acceptance in the world.
And just as a little bonus question to ask yourself, for all of you who are waiting until you feel worthy of God before you can have a good self-identity: “Will I ever be worthy?" News Flash! You're not worthy, and you never will be! So, instead of waiting for that moment when you are worthy to feel good, how about accepting Scriptures at face value, by giving God all the glory He died for, and graciously receiving His undeserved love and acceptance with pride and excitement instead. Honor God by resting in what He did, not what you can do! Then show your faith and identity by resting in His love. Romans 5:8-11.
Walk through these questions with the help of the Holy Spirit. "Created?" Then my looks, intelligence, & talents are perfect. “Created to be what?" I am the pottery, He makes no mistakes! Trust, embrace. "What does God think?" The world judges by many things, but only one matters. How do I look to God in love & service? "Think I will ever be worthy?" Embrace the fact that you won't, and give even more glory to God as you relax in His undeserved acceptance. The answers will give you a wonderful, true, unarguable picture of who you are in Christ, and it will give you the strength and direction to keep going. Grab hold of who Scriptures say that you truly are and don't ever accept what the world “tells you” about who you are again. Choose who you are in Christ; be brazen for Him as He was for you, then, "Get On Wit' Yo bad Self, in the Name and Strength of Jesus Christ!"