Identity

By Lynne Yohnk

I think one thing that people who leave legalistic churches struggle greatly with is identity. The more your identity is tied into the church, the greater the struggle. When we leave, we are mostly defining what we are NOT. But oftentimes, we greatly struggle with who we ARE. According to Erikson's stages of development, our identity is supposed to develop in the ages between 13-21 years, but what happens if we don't develop that identity in those years but instead take on an identity that isn't truly who we are? What if that identity is superimposed upon us externally? What if we are a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and we can't figure out why it won't work? Then, one day we wake up and we recognize that we are a square peg. All of our skills have been based on trying to fit into the round hole.

We leave the round hole in search of the square hole. We don't know what the square hole looks like because we've never seen one. We would look at ourselves to figure it out but we have a distorted view of what we look like because we have never clearly seen ourselves. Many who surround us give us conflicting and sometimes self-serving information about what our square peg actually looks like. Some say "Yeah, you never did fit" and describe us as rectangular shaped or star shaped.

We look around and those around us seem to fit nicely in their holes and we feel like a refugee. A wanderer. We wonder why they seem so settled and we don't. We question our oddity. We question our sanity. But the knowledge of what we are not keeps us going.

We briefly try different holes. We are not sure if we fit or not. We don't seem to slide in and out easily like those around us and so we move on. It seems no one understands.

Then, one day, we see a square hole. We slide in. It fits perfectly. But....it's uncomfortable. We are not used to being in a hole. We've never seen a hole that fit us before and we are not sure that we like being in one. Were we really made for a hole anyway? Maybe we were made to wander. We question the necessity of holes. We question the sanity of those around us who are content in their holes. They have never wandered. We question whether there is validity in the journey of wandering itself. We realize we have more options than most people because we see more options. So, when we find the square hole, we may not feel entirely content in it.

Our journey makes us different. But that's okay. We are finding out who we really are in a very detailed way that many others never understand and can't process even the idea of. But there are many rocks in the world. You can find a rock anywhere. It is the diamond that is rare. It is the diamond that is unique and valuable.

We weren't made to be rocks. We were made to be who we are. Unique. Different. And valuable.

This writing is the copyright of Lynne Yohnk and was posted with her permission. Additional articles may be viewed here. Her email address is lyohnk@hotmail.com if you wish to write. Please let her know if you appreciate her writings!


Page added February 7, 2016


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