Beverly Daniel Tatum in her book chapter "The Complexity of Identity: Who am I?" makes the argument that everything around us shapes into who we become and what we believe about others and about ourselves.
Who am I? "The answer depends in large part on who the world around me says I am." (Tatum, 2003, p 18). Sociologically, this is true for most of our world.
There is an alternative to how we come to identify and experience ourselves. With people it is impossible to escape the identity the world around us has imprinted us with, "but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
One of the human people in our lives who has the greatest power to name, mold, and identify us is our father. If our father was negative, critical, absent, angry, an alcoholic, etc. … we developed a negative self-image.
The only way I know to escape the identity the world attempts to squeeze us into is to listen to God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and allow the creative power of His words to transform (Greek - metamorphosis) you from the inside out (Romans 12:1-2).
We need to place ourselves in a position where the Holy Spirit can descend upon us so we hear His heavenly voice communicate, “You are my beloved Son (or daughter), and I am fully pleased with you” (Luke 3:22).
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray "Father, hallowed be Your name" in Luke chapter 11, He was prescribing His remedy for the issue of our identity. Allow God, the perfect Father, to tell you who and whose you are.
In The Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen said, "I want you to hear that voice. It is not a very loud voice. It comes from a very deep place. It is soft and gentle." Place yourself in the position where your True and Hallowed Father can call you forth to be the person He created you to be. After all, it was by speaking that God created the entire universe.
Or as John Eagen says, "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God" (Henri Nouwen, The Life of the Beloved).
"... I have called you by name; you are Mine ... you are precious in My sight, ... and I love you" (Isaiah 43:1 + 3).
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