The search for identity

By Dave Henning / January 10, 2024

“The search for identity is closely related to the search for significance, because we can’t know how valuable we are until we know who we are.  We all fall back on looking for our identity in certain people or things from time to time.”- Chip Ingram

As Chip Ingram moves on in Chapter 3 of Discover Your True Self, he provides a partial list of ways we seek validation.  Hence, I highlight three of these ways:

  1. Education – the letters that follow your name or specific skills you’ve acquired.
  2. Possessions – the valuables you surround yourself with or the rush you feel when you acquire new things.
  3. Ministry – being identified for service to God, sacrifice, dedication, fruitfulness.

In addition, Pastor Ingram observes, our attempts to meet our needs for success and approval fall into two broad categories: compulsion and withdrawal.  Perfectionists tend to seek their identity in compulsion.  As a result, the drive to succeed makes them prone to workaholism, obsession with personal appearance, or manipulating/using people for personal gain.

However, those who withdraw avoid failure and risk.  Furthermore, they gravitate toward others who offer comfort and kindness.  Anyone safe.

Above all, Chip states, a careful look at compulsion and withdrawal reveals that a fear of rejection and a fear of failure prompt both responses.  Consequently, these fears remain within us for the rest of our lives as very present problems or latent possibilities.  And both produce the same end result: we become slaves.

In conclusion, Chip cautions us about when we find ourselves captive to the opinions of others:

‘We unconsciously become actors.   Our inner antennas go up, our radar searches the responses around us, and we figure out what works.  We may do it with different groups, in different seasons of our lives, but we all do it. . . .  Over time, instead of becoming your true self, you become a slave to what other people think, the terms they dictate, and the roles they expect you to play.”

Today’s question: What tends to interfere with your search for identity?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Authentic acceptance”

About the author

Dave Henning

Leave a comment:

Call Now Button