Identity


How do I know what I think until I see what I say?

E.M. FORSTER

When I was in college, I went with some of my classmates and professors to the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College. While there, I had the chance to hear many authors speak about their books, about writing, about adapting books into movies, and many other wonderful things that writers like to discuss.

One of the writers I heard was Francine Rivers. Now, I am not a big fan of Ms. Rivers, nor am I a fan of her corner of the writing market: Christian romance. However, I have to say that her novel Redeeming Love was one of the best Christian romance novels that I have ever read.

I went into her session without much context and background and walked away with respect and admiration.

Francine Rivers said that when she writes a novel, she picks a theme or an issue that she is trying to learn herself. As she writes, she is able to work through that issue within herself and within her characters, and once the novel is finished and published, she puts it behind her and moves on with her life.

I liked that.

Now, fast-forward four years later, and I’m writing a novel. My novel is still a growing thing. It hasn’t matured yet, and I’m still working on it. Originally, I had wanted to discuss love and hate within my novel, but I’m seeing as I write that there is another issue that is taking center stage:

the search for identity.

I think that our identities change over time. With every milestone, success, failure, risk, and pause, we change. I am not the person I was four years ago, nor ten years ago, nor fifteen. In fact, when I think about my past experiences, I often feel like I’m reading a book about someone else who is just a little relatable.

I’ve discovered recently that in our world, the search for identity is epic and dangerous, under attack from all sides and scrutinized by the media, by our peers, and magnified by the internet.

In a world dominated by tolerance and the information age, it is still severely lonely.

My novel has become a story about identity.

And in many ways it does reflect my desire for identity.

I have an idea.

I want to learn more about myself and who I am, but I also want to learn more about who I am to God. I believe that no matter who the world says I am and no matter who I say I am, the best version of myself is the one that God wants me to become. Everything else is second best and forgettable.

And so I have an idea: I have begun to study several Biblical characters that I think can tell us a lot about how to find the identities that God has in mind for us. What I would like to do is to share what I’m studying with you. A sort of online Bible study, if you will.

And I would like your input. I don’t want to just contribute white noise to the internet. I would like to know what you think.

If you would like to know what characters I want to talk about, then please read Hebrews 11. It’s my favorite passage in the Bible – in fact, I have all but memorized it. There are many people who for many reasons followed God and were commended as righteous.

I would like to have that faith.

So if you’re interested, I hope you’ll stick around for a while.

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