Don’t you love how everyone is telling you what to do?
Let’s think about it. There are an infinity of quizzes, blogs, articles, and tweets telling you who you are, what you should do, how you should live, where you should go, what you should believe.
Is it possible that EVERYONE is going through an existential crisis?
Scrolling through my Facebook feed I am constantly bombarded by people posting the results of quizzes. “I’m an extrovert! What are you?” “I’m left brained! Take this quiz to find out what you are!” “22 things you should do before you turn 22!” “10 things a woman should look for in a man!”
Is it possible that no one knows who they are? Have we all missed that moment in life where we have direction and understanding of who we are?
It’s frightening, but also very sad, that so many feel the need to find their “directions” to a happy life via blogs and quizzes online. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that post about “50 Ways to a Happier Life” is not going to make your life any happier. If anything, those types of posts make me feel inadequate. For instance, that 22 year old who has traveled all over the world and speaks four languages and is a national geographic photographer in her spare time: “Well jeez, I haven’t really done much with my life after all. What’s wrong with me?”
NOTHING. Nothing is wrong with me. The steps you took to get where you are in life, are not the steps I am taking to reach the same place in mine. That’s the difference. Your life. And mine.
Part of the development of the psyche is the realization of self. Somewhere between the ages of 1 and 2, a child realizes, “I am me”. As children grow, they begin to develop personality traits, and being to shape their character. Of course there are times that call for self-reflection and realization. But what does it say of our generation or society when we turn to quizzes and blog posts to tell us who we are, and stop experiencing life for ourselves?
Rick Warren puts it nicely on this post from rickwarren.org.
What this means is that you abandon any image of yourself that is not from God. You stop accepting what others have said about you, how others have labeled you, and how others have defined you.
You’re not defined by your feelings. You’re not defined by the opinions of others or by your circumstances. You’re not defined by your successes or failures. You’re not defined by the car you drive, the money you make, or the house you say you own when the bank really does.
Let’s look at this lovely verse from Psalm 139. You might find it often on Pinterest or nicely painted on a canvas.
I praise you, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
The phrase that catches the eye is this: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. It’s a beautiful truth about your identity. However, it is preceded by an equally important truth. “I praise you”. We find ourselves when we are praising/living for God. As Christians, our identity is intrinsically tied to God and how he created us.
I, personally, am done. I, the kid who grew up sneaking into Mom’s office to read personality books, am tired.
I choose to live life for myself, and make these realizations about myself through experience. I choose to no longer rely on someone else (who does not know me) to help figure out who I am. I choose to be me, and learn about me without quizzes, blog posts, or Facebook.
And now, it’s up to you. To live life by experiencing it for yourself, or vicariously living through articles you find online. YOU decide.