One of my favorite movies “The Borne Identity”, this is a movie starting Matt Damon who was a CIA operative that lost his memory in an accident during a mission. This film is a story of a fictional character who is seeking his identity and trying to figure out why people are trying to kill him. He finds clues, but when he does it seems that there are many different identities that he goes by, which one is the real one? The question of identity comes into play often in our lives. It seems like we are looking for that one thing that will identify us, that will make us who we are. Most people want to leave their stamp on history and make a name for themselves. For example, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is known for leading the Civil Rights Movement, or Michael Jordan who is said to be the best basketball player to ever play the game. For my entire life, Michael Jordan was known worldwide as the greatest, this was his identity. Now, I am finding day after day young people who have no idea who he is, it seems that he is losing his identity.
I can remember as a young person… Who am I kidding? I can think back even weeks when I was looking for that one thing, the thing that makes me who I am. That thing used to be soccer, then it was basketball, then soccer once again. After that I began looking for thing after thing that was going to fulfill my desire to be known.
I remember when I tore my ACL like it was yesterday. After that moment the rest of the week is a fog, up until the doctors visit that is. I remember when the doctor came in and told me that I had torn both meniscus in my knee and obliterated my ACL. In fact, he showed me where it was supposed to be, but they couldn’t find it. This happened during the summer going into my senior year in high school. I had my heart on playing soccer for the rest of my life, and at the moment I heard the news I started crying. I knew I was going to be a pro soccer player and nothing was going to change that. When I heard this was going to keep me from playing soccer my heart broke and all of the sudden my identity was challenged. What was crazy is that most people didn’t know me as a soccer player, but as a male cheerleader considering there was only four of those at the time and I really wasn’t as good at soccer as I believed I was.
Mine was a case of mistaken identity. Years went by where I would constantly remind myself and others that I was going to be a pro and I ruined my career which sent me into a deep depression. I stopped physical activity, and ate myself into being a different person. Changing my identity once again and looking all over to create one.
The problem was that I placed my identity in soccer and when I lost it I had no idea who I was. This lead me to bad choice after bad choice creating an identity that I was not proud of at all, but held captive by and knew no way out. I go through this every year with people who had their identity wrapped up in cheerleading that when they don’t make the team they fight depression and lose all self confidence and self worth. This breaks my heart every year and is still another reason why I dislike scholastic cheerleading in high school so much. It has become an identity and not an extracurricular activity. The all-star cheerleading world isn’t that different, cheer is their lives and when they lose that ability they lose who they are, or they become coaches.
Here in lies the problem, these things don’t define you. There are people out there who will love you for your craft, for your abilities and for your talents, but only when they are still in play, after you start to become regular and don’t stand out they will no longer be there for you. No, those things don’t identify you, you identify them. You make them great, you make the sport what it is, and you are the one who can have the impact on those around you that will be either negative or positive. Don’t allow these things to tell you who you are, because they are all temporal. Though Michael Jordan is still Michael Jordan, he is becoming a memory. Yes he will be idolized in the hall of fame, but the reality is he no longer plays the sport and no one is looking for him anymore. This will be you one day, don’t let those moments define you and don’t let others tell you who you are based on them.
The reality is that Jesus defines you, He is your identity and mine. My new dream is to be a world champion coach in Cheerleading. I work and grow to try and reach that goal, but what has happened up until now is that I have let this dream and this job be my identity. I had started introducing myself as “Coach Mo” and wanted people to know who I am by what I have accomplished as a coach. That isn’t who I am, I am a follower of Jesus and to see Him in me is all that I long for from anyone. I pray this for you as well, that you will allow Jesus to be your identity. Whether we make the team or live the dream is not what defines our self worth, it is Jesus. Don’t be deceived into thinking that without whatever you craft is you are known because of it, you are known to God as an individual and are identified by Him in Jesus Christ. If not, then your identity still lies outside of the temporal things, but unfortunately your identity known elsewhere.
Be you, don’t hold yourself down, allow Him to be your identity, and then you will know what your worth. Then you will know that you are loved for who you are and that the One who loves you will never leave you nor will He let you down. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the God of the universe who wants a relationship with you to the point where He pursued you. There in lies your value, there is your identity, there is your hope.