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Looking for a safe place

identityvsrole 4 89b3d109
As I coach young people, helping them work through their junk and move toward the greatness God has deposited in them, I find that over and over again, they struggle with foundational identity issues – questions still unresolved from their upbringing. In every group of young people, you can …
By Seth Barnes
identityvsrole 4As I coach young people, helping them work through their junk and move toward the greatness God has deposited in them, I find that over and over again, they struggle with foundational identity issues – questions still unresolved from their upbringing.
In every group of young people, you can tell the ones who have been
well-loved. When we coached a World Race team, Shanda Dodd was one. Shanda is not easily rattled; she’s OK with her imperfections. She
doesn’t need to impress you. And I’ll bet that if you were a fly on the
wall looking at her home life as an adolescent, you’d see that her
parents accepted her for who she was and encouraged her to stretch
herself, to explore the bounds of her potential and gifts.

Something in all human beings needs that – to be loved wholly and completely without
reservation. We need to know we’re OK. We’re safe; we can relax.
Conditional love is a cheap substitute for the real thing. How many of us grew up hearing things like, “I love you, but please be more
punctual.” Or, “I love you, but we have to do something about your
wardrobe.”

“I love you, but…” is not a safe place to be. It lights the fires of
discontent under us. It feels like pressure – pressure to change. Love
an adolescent that way, and you’ll get rebellion much of the time.
People, whether young or old, get pressure from so many places in
their lives anyway. A few pressure sources:

o    Friends – as in, “Here’s what you need to do to fit in.”
o    Churches – as in, “Confess that you’re a sinner.”
o    Boss – as in, “You fell short of your goal last month.”
o    Finances – they think, “How will I make ends meet?”
o    Family – they think, “Why do they always criticize me?”
o    Media – they think, ” I’m always depressed by the news.”

All this pressure tells us, “It’s not safe here.” And if we don’t have a safe place to which we can
retreat, something has to change. A soul under pressure is inherently
unstable. The pressure needs an outlet. And so we begin to create an identity in the things we do. It may start out innocuously, but over time, we morph into an imposter, a poser desperate for reality.
 
It doesn’t have to be. Our true self is good enough. Take a good look in the mirror. How do you define yourself? How do others define you? If it’s a false self, then maybe it’s time to stage a jailbreak.

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