Identity

My all time favorite Jackie Chan movie is, Who Am I (1998). This was a predecessor (and arguably better version) of the Jason Bourne concept. Not to mention, a fight scene that is beyond all fight scenes.

In one quintessential cheesy moment of the film, a frustrated Chan screams in exasperation, "Who am I!" It was a turning point in the movie because it highlighted what must be an incredibly frustrating feeling to not know one's own self. I used to fear this feeling for our daughter Makinzy. This used to be a concern for me for all people with major life trauma or kids who lose parents early in life. However, I've come to understand something. We all struggle with identity; that is until we find it in Christ. 

Before I was a Christian, I was still me. But my identity was build on just that: me. And let me be the first to tell you that me as a foundation is not a very good foundation. Even when I became a Christian early in 6th grade, I had not quite begun to work out my salvation with much fear and trembling. Therefore, my foundation was still in me. Justification had occurred. Sanctification had only begun. 

It was shortly after this time in my life when my earthly Dad took a new job. He left the construction business and began driving a truck. For me, this was like taking a limb. I loved my dad, and I leaned on him with everything I had. Granted, my dad was (and still is) a great dad, and he supported his children with gusto. However, as long as I leaned on dad, I was never going to have to lean on Christ. What a gift (in hindsight) to have my dad taken from me during the week. I didn't know it at the time, but this would lead to a connection between me and God that was never there before. I began to read some scripture. I began to pay attention on Sunday mornings. I began to talk to my friends at school about Christ. I began to find my identity. 

I didn't know it at the time but this would lead to a connection between God and me.

Later in life, after meeting (and falling completely in love with) my beautiful wife, I attended UNC Charlotte for my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. One thing I found I had on campus that I had not had before was time. Being a natural introvert (which I did not know at the time) I flourished. I began to find that I had time to read my Bible. I realized that the depth of scripture was farther reaching than I'd ever imagined. I began to get a clearer understanding of my own identity. I began to understand what it meant when I said, "I'm a Christian". 

Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who has become something of a mentor in my life, and I was talking about the struggles of adopted children and understanding that it is not the past that defines them but what they do with their future. This good friend of mine made the apt point that really, we all struggle with our identity until we find it in Christ. 

Drop. The. Mic.

It was like a veil had been lifted. Of course! We all have the same struggle that many adopted children face. Who are we? Whose are we? Of course, when we find Christ, that question gets a clear answer. We are children of God, adopted into the kingdom of God. 

One day very soon, we will welcome a baby into our home. That baby may one day ask the question, "Who am I?" We will talk about birthparents and adoption and how all it all works together to make up who he or she is. But most importantly, I pray that the answer to that question, Who am I? will be God's kid, and that he or she will come to feel the comforting joy of belonging to the family of God. 

-J