Identity is a word that names. It says that this is what a thing is or who a person is. Certain kinds of markers are attached to identity. We know a thing or person based upon what we know about those markers. Certain characteristics mark identity, and identity names whatever has been marked with those characteristics. Identity and markers become one.
A problem arises when identity is bound to transient markers. For example, a world-class marathon runner loses both legs in an accident. The loss includes more than just the loss of limbs. There is loss of identity as a capable and well-respected runner. Loss of identity can occur in any number of ways: loss of employment, loss of good health, loss of relationships, loss of position, loss of respect, loss of approval, etc.
This indicates that there is more to identity than passing markers. Identity must reach into eternity. There must be eternal markers that name and give form to identity. These eternal markers must come from the Triune God—the Maker of Identity.
Humans are created in the image of God; therefore, the markers of identity come from the personhood of the Creator. God gives identity. God names. It would seem that the only sustainable identity is one that invites the Maker to mark and to name.
Here is my reflective question for the day: “What markers are attached to your identity and how do they name you?”