I’ve always had a hard time defining myself. That is not to say that I’ve been in a perpetual identity crisis my entire life, but rather that I have a hard time telling other people who I am. Sometimes it seems that others have their identity firmly nailed down and know exactly how they’d respond in a particular circumstance. I often have trouble with this, because to me it is hard to use labels to fully identify me and I like to think that how I react is, for better or worse, contextual.
For example, the label that I probably identify most with is that of a Christian. I believe in God and that we are sinners and that God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins in our place and that we are to follow after him. While I can easily say that this is central to my life, the label Christian is still not able to encompass all of who I am. This may sound troubling or heretical, but trust me it’s not as edgy as it may sound.
How can this be? Didn’t I just say that being a Christian was central to my life? Yes, yes I did. However, let me ask this. What does Christian mean? It literally means Christ follower. Which while it can show what is most important in my life, it doesn’t show all of who I am. Does it let you know what type of music I like? Does it let you know my favorite movies? Does it let you know my skills, interests, and talents? Does it even let you know my personality? It may help a little on some of the questions,but probably would be unable to answer any of those fully.
Now if this is true for a label which indicates what is most central in my life, then it has to be true for ones that I would not claim are central to my life. Whether that label be father, husband, moderate, nerd, gamer, immature, mature, heterosexual, male, etc. At the end of the day there is no way to define myself entirely by a label. I’m guessing that there are not many people who can. The only way to know me is through relationship and interaction, just like that’s the only way to know others. This is much more difficult than slapping a label on ourselves or another person, but also much more fulfilling.