A short little thing I wrote up for developmental psych class... thought it was more in keeping with this blog than my writing assignments blog. =)
My adolescent years were spent in a time of identity foreclosure in the areas of religion, politics, and vocation. I was raised in a very conservative Baptist home and I felt strong pressure to perform and conform, to please and to live up to the wishes of my parents and spiritual leaders. I was not apathetic towards self-discovery, Erik Erikson’s identity diffusion (Berger, 2008, p. 416), but I was afraid to question the status quo and accepted my parents’ identity instead.
After getting married, I began to actively explore my identity, even struggling with issues of sexual identity for a time. I realized I was not even saved. As Don Ratcliff said in his article “Adolescent Spirituality,” “merely having strict rules is not sufficient; it is all too easy to conform to rules but inwardly live a very different life. Spirituality is a matter of the inner person, not just the outward activity” (2002, p. 3). I came to Jesus when I was 20 years old and began progressing in spiritual growth all the while seeking my true identity. Sometimes this felt like the hills and valleys which Ratcliff (2002, p.3) describes and sometimes like Darling’s growth loops of assessment, confession, forgiveness, and appropriation of God’s strength (Ratcliff, 2002, p. 2).
Upon reading Steve McVey’s book “Grace Walk” (1995), God showed me that my identity was found solely in Christ. I began to devour books on grace and identity. I realized that I was already forgiven and that true growth was to be found by ceasing from my own struggles to perform and resting in Christ’s finished work on the cross, and by allowing him to live through me. Once I had a solid foundation of understanding that I was the bride of Christ who is loved, and accepted, in the beloved, a king (or queen!) seated in heavenly places, and a saint who has been placed in perfect union with Christ, I settled into identity achievement.
For me, college is not a time of moratorium, which is a time to put off choosing identity (Berger, 2008, p. 416). It is a time for me to shape my God given purpose that flows from my identity. I do not take my identity from my role of college student or any future career roles any more than from my role of wife or mother. These are just little parts of what constitutes the whole me.
Berger, K. S. (2008). The developing person through the life span, 7th Ed. New York, NY: Worth
Ratcliff Ph.D., D. (2002). Adolescent spiritual development. Retrieved from
elbow room - My focus today is to leave room for God to be who He is. Nothing is as it seems and I trust him.