Identity Crisis

by Greg Leitschuh

Modern society has often been described as being aimless and empty. The phrases "he's having an identity crisis" or "she can't find herself" seem to be often heard these days. Young people are spoken of as being excessively self-conscious of themselves as well as lacking in self-confidence. When we read a magazine or hear an interview with someone, we often hear them tell of the need to feel good about themselves. Why are these trends in thinking so prevalent today? Is there an explanation why so many people seem directionless and are unable to find any meaning or purpose to their lives?

This age that we live in has changed immensely in the last 30 years. The increases in population as well as a dramatic growth in technology and the easy access to news and information have made our world much smaller. This rapid change has also caused many people to feel insecure. The term 'global village' describes how closely we live to each other although we may be thousands of miles apart. Television and radio give us instant, live coverage of any event or crisis that is happening in our world. There is so much information that comes to us almost hourly, we find it difficult to assimilate it and think about how it may affect our lives. We sometimes find ourselves cold and insensitive towards world tragedies because we see them so often and they become almost commonplace. These events that we are constantly bombarded with daily shape our view of the world in which we live as well as how we perceive ourselves.

Many have said that the current technological revolution is a major factor in the erosion of human values from our society. Concerning morality, we often find that our morals no longer originate in what we learned in our religious upbringing but from what we read about people's lives in magazines or watch on television or in a movie. It's no wonder that people have lost their identity because so much of what we are comes from trying to imitate someone else! We often have heard the saying, 'I'm no longer a name but a number'. Beyond this, there may be an underlying cause why so many people seem to have lost their way and are facing a potential identity crisis.

An English writer once said some years back that 'people are living off the warmth of Christianity but have forgotten where the fire came from'. 1 If you pause to think for a moment, many of the truths we hold sacred and precious concerning law, morality, decency and the way to live a happy and fulfilled life have come down to us over the centuries through the Judaeo-Christian view of reality. We have incorporated these into our legal, educational and religious practices but have forgotten that they originated not from man's ideas but from God. God is our reference point for true meaning to life and a foundation for all our laws. It seems that when we wander away from God's laws, we lose sight of who we are and where we are going.

Perhaps the greatest law that is adhered to the least is the law of love-"Love makes the world go round", "Love is the answer" and so on. You have probably heard someone talk about falling in love and finding themselves. When we're caught up with trying to please someone we love, we become forgetful of ourselves, and we begin to find our real selves. Our truest identity becomes known when we wholeheartedly give ourselves to another. If God has designed us this way, we will never find fulfilment and purpose in this life unless we abide by this law. This was not meant merely for human relationships but is a foreshadow of the relationship that God Himself wants to have with us. Only this kind of relationship can enable us to find our true identity.

1. Dust of Death , Os Guiness.

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