Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mistaken Identity

     If I ever wrote a memoir about my life, I think I might title it "It's just Jennie." This is a something I have found myself saying countless times, most often after someone has called me Jennifer. Once during middle school, I became very frustrated when a teacher said he was just going to go ahead and call me Jennifer because Jennie was "too hard to remember". That teacher did eventually start calling me by my real name, but only because I was persistent in reminding him.
It's frustrating to be called the wrong name because I know who I am. Jennifer is a fine name, but it's not my name. Calling me Jennifer is no different than calling me Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; it's simply inaccurate. Even when I was very shy and not so great at speaking up for myself, I never let anyone call me Jennifer, because I knew that wasn't who I was.
     My name is a big part of my identity. My parents picked it for me when I was born, and it has stayed with me for my whole life. I also have another identity, one that I was given even before I was born. I'm not a theologian, but I know that the Bible talks a lot about our identity being found in Jesus. Today when I was once again mistakenly called Jennifer, I was reminded that I should defend my God given identity just as fiercely as I defend my name.
     Like that teacher who kept calling me a name that wasn't mine, there are circumstances in my life that challenge my God given identity. There are times when I let myself be defined by aspects of my personality, both positive and negative. I have tried to find my identity in my talents and accomplishments, in jobs and in friendships. These things are all parts of my life, but allowing them to define who I am only leads to another case of mistaken identity. I need to start remembering where my true identity lies, and correct anything or anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. It shouldn't be too hard, I've already had plenty of practice correcting my mistaken identity.

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