Christian Life & Discipleship Culture Family & Relationships Worldview

Socially Constructed Me

Recently I have been pondering one of the most deep and intimate questions we can ask, who am I?

There is the idea that we construct our identity based on the relationships that we have, or in other words we are socially constructed. The theory goes that we are built up through cultural, family, socio-economic boundaries. All of us fall into the trap of allowing this to happen to some degree. How you would describe yourself in two sentences?  

How you would describe yourself in two sentences?

Take some time to do that.

You may be part of the vast majority that says something like “I am a child of God” as your first sentence. But I think that answer can come too quick to us. It’s the answer we know is being looked for. I want you to think about your second sentence, which I believe is closer to how you really see yourself.

Take another moment to think about two sayings that were popular in your house growing up… in what way have they formed you and how you view the world? Or ask yourself what aspect of my life has been affirmed and which aspect has been discouraged? In pondering this issue I started to think of the relationships that have formed my identity over the years.

The clash I see here is that these “horizontal” relationship are always changing and therefore identity changes

The clash I see here is that these “horizontal” relationship are always changing and therefore identity changes, for instance we may be the spirit-filled worship leader on Sunday morning and the life of the party scene on Friday night. It’s as if we change depending on the social setting we find our selves in.

This produces the fruit of uncertainty in our lives, fear, mistrust, lack of intimacy, over-sensitivity etc. We must, if we are to meet the needs of a lost world, find ourselves in the only true defining relationship there is; the “vertical” relationship with the maker of our physical bodies and our eternal souls.

So I challenge you to rethink the question of who you are. Audit those ideas you have about yourself by asking the question “where did I get this idea from?” in this way we can truly know that we are children of God, and even more than that see others as the same.

By Richard Blake