I ran into Ted, a longtime campus minister I served with in the 1980s. I asked him what has changed with students over the past 30 years.
He responded immediately with matter-of-fact lament, "Oh, they don't know who they are!" He walked among those facing an identity crisis.
Who am I?
Nowadays, that shows up as a popular, and quite personal, question. How does one answer the question of "who-ness," of identity?
While prospective answers abound, many tend to compress the matter into terms of pedigree ("I am from or related to ... "), politics ("I am with or for ... ), profile ("I am 'liked or followed' by ... ) or some sort of personal preference ("I am about and into, or identify with ... ).
Meanwhile, others default into descriptive mode, using titles and attributes to answer the inquiry. For example, I am Craig: husband, father, white, middle-aged, middle-class, male, reflective, dry-witted, almost 6-foot-1.
Be that as it may, do these qualities make me "who I be"? Or may I reach beyond individual identifiers, in order to expand the question in terms of "be-longing"?
What if who I am is based on whose I am?
After all, I belong to Jesus; my life, my identity, is in him. Nothing can change this (Romans 8). Jesus gives me new life, a new disposition, a new direction. In him, I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am not my own.