Kiara: “I’m not just a princess, you know. That’s only half of who I am!”
Pumbaa: “Oh. Uh, who’s the other half?”
Kiara: “Oh, well, I …”
While a new Lion King film was released this summer, it still can’t beat my favorite adaptation of the movie, “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride.” This version focuses on Simba’s daughter, Kiara. After the scars of Simba’s past, he has become an overprotective father, ensuring everyone treats Kiara only as a princess. Kiara knows this isn’t her true identity, that she is far more than this. And yet, the influence of others has made it difficult for her to discover who she truly is.
Our society today also has an identity crisis. Young adults are struggling to find who they are, and they long for all life’s answers in one easy solution. Midlife crises are more and more rampant too, as people of all ages no longer know who they truly are. The constant noise of cell phones, TV, advertisements and instant gratification has allowed people to immerse themselves in distractions, to keep them from pondering life’s greatest mysteries.
As the world faces an identity crisis and the breakdown of what it even means to be human, it begs the question: Who are we? What is the meaning of life? Even Christians struggle with this question. Society has broken into people’s personal lives and broken-down norms that used to be followed without question. Now Christians are faced with discovering who they are in an ever-changing world where nothing is out of the question, not even gender. The idea that “everything goes” has only made the longing for something else even deeper.
But as Christians, we do not have to stay stuck in this mindset. Who we are is children of God. Our identity is not a burden, but a blessing. It gives us the guideline needed to discover who we truly are within this one body of Christ. It allows everyone to find their gifts, talents and passions and understand them as coming from the Lord. This helps us to realize how we fit into this world and that what we were meant for is to serve God and each other, not ourselves.
When we remember we do not belong to this world, but are servants and pilgrims of the world, who we are makes sense. When we know who we are as God’s beloved children, then we can discover even more of our identity.
I was 21 years old when I finally realized this. My own identity crisis left me lost and without direction, as I felt no calling to a specific career. In the world of young adults, what we “do” with our lives seems to be the most fundamental aspect of who we are. Finally letting go of needing to know this answer brought me true peace and helped me discover my true identity. It took trusting God during years of working in a factory to realize I could find love and joy no matter where I worked, that my job wasn’t the most important aspect of my life. I learned how to love the people God put around me, and how to evangelize.
God prepared me for the job I have now, a job I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams; a job that fulfills me and uses my gifts and talents. But if I hadn’t let go of control and followed where God led instead of the direction of the world, I wouldn’t have discovered these aspects of who I am, aspects of myself that allow me to know myself better and love God more.
Still, this isn’t my true identity. My identity comes from God alone.
If you are struggling with your life or know someone who is, be not afraid. It isn’t easy, even when we do accept our true identity as Christ’s beloved, but it will bring peace. It is the only thing that, in this world, answers our innermost call for love.
We cannot truly know who we are until we know whose we are; God’s and God’s alone. So whose are you? Do you belong to God or to the world? Because I promise you, if you accept God’s love and His call to be His sons and daughters, you will find peace and begin to discover who you truly are.
Trisha Trout is the evangelization and discipleship coordinator at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Fort Wayne.
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