I must confess something: I love to take personality tests. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Buzzfeed or Strengthsfinder. There’s just something fun about someone else evaluating you— seeing yourself through an unbiased view. Even if it’s just how old buzzfeed thinks I am based on my Netflix list or which character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my soulmate. (In case But I’ve caught myself doing something sort of strange– sometimes I notice while taking a personality test that certain answers will lead to certain results. And then I almost subconsciously tweak my answers to get the results I want.
Obviously, doing this defeats the purpose of taking it entirely.
This got me thinking. If I have a specific way that I want Buzzfeed quizzes and Myers-Briggs to identify me, what am I doing in the real world to tweak others’ view of who I am? And what is wrong with my true identity– the one whose soulmate is Willow and not Spike– that I would deny it to be someone else?
I believe that everyone always struggles with identity to some degree. But there are phases in each of our lives when it’s just harder. That phase for me was a few years ago, when I was ripped away from the thing I had made my identity.
When I was on stage, I felt exhilarated. When my band was playing, I felt alive. I wanted to sing like that for the rest of my life. I was convinced it was my calling— my identity.
But there was also this tiny suspicion that poked at the back of my brain that I was a fraud. That I didn’t deserve to perform for a living. That I wasn’t good enough, I was kidding myself. And when I had to leave the band, to me, it meant that my suspicions were correct.
The problem with putting your identity in what you do is if/when that is stripped away, you are nobody. And becoming nobody was one of the factors that threw me into a deep depression that took a year of prayer and some wonderfully patient and loving people to get out of.
But beating depression didn’t make me happy. I lived a full year of my life before I figured out why I wasn’t happy now that I wasn’t depressed.
Finally, one week, God pretty much whacked me on the head with the reason why. The word “identity” was jumping out at me everywhere I went. Everyone was bringing it up, everything I read seemed to center on it.
That week, I realized— although God had helped me win the battle against depression, I still hadn’t found my identity yet.
It wasn’t a light-switch moment where I became perfectly happy and never struggled again. That isn’t real. Real things are hard. But real things are worth it.
It all comes down to this: do you trust God with your identity? Do you trust that he knew what he was doing when he made you? Because if you don’t, you’ll live your whole life trying to be someone you aren’t meant to be.
There is really only one thing that you can put your identity in that won’t let you down. Things change. People change. You change, I change. Today, I still love to sing, but I have a different dream and a different calling. Next year it might be different again.
God never changes. His calling for his church never changes, and his plan for me never changes. Realizing how that affects my identity transformed me. Ted Dekker wisely sums it up this way: “I am the Son of my Father.” I can live my life with confidence that my identity— the real me, under all the things I do and say and love and hate, the Daughter of my Father— is the one thing about me that will never change.
I’m a creator and a lover of story. I’ve been a professional caricature artist, a touring musician, and songwriter, and I currently work as a worship leader and in the arts in London— but writing is a world that I just can’t seem to leave. I think I’ll be stuck here my whole life, and I’m very much okay with it.
Follow my London adventures at writetoroam.wordpress.com and find me on twitter at @aleenakorell and say hello!