Seeking Identity In All The Wrong Places


It was crazy hair day. 

Mason and Callum had been encouraged to do something different with their hair. For the day.

Preschool is a time of introducing new ideas, new ways of doing things, learning the value of the distinctive. Children rarely recognize differences; they see another child and they recognize someone like them–little. They don’t put things in categories like adults do.

Challenged with showing up with crazy hair, the response of the two boys was quite different.

Mason embraced his funky hair. It was spiked all over his head, and he relished the fun of it. This is where his personality shines–he marches to the beat of his own drummer and doesn’t care what band he is in.

Callum, however, was bothered by what didn’t look like him. His hair is curly anyway, but putting gel and spray on it made it uncomfortably different. He didn’t want to have anything to do with it.

We’re all a little bit about dealing with one another’s crazy hair. 

Uniformity, so long as it’s our choice of uniformity, is what has been established lately as appropriate. If someone doesn’t like that another’s individuality differs uncomfortably from their own, they dismiss it as unacceptable.

There will always be distinctions between people. God made it that way when He created diversity. Travel from one end of this country to the other and you’ll recognize differences in the way people act, speak and think. Different regions value different things. Travel around the world, and the cultural diversity becomes even more apparent, with people living, speaking, and doing things with an individual bent that reflects their cultural identity.

People who demand that everything should be treated their way, seen through their filter, often appear judgmental and harsh because of their limited vision. 

That reality is at both ends of the continuum. 

If we default to categories, to defining ourselves by just our culture, ethnicity, or our socio-economic status, we miss the beautiful things about our humanity–the commonality of our need for one another, of having genuine connections with others so that we are known, seen, and valued.

Why are we so fearful we’ll lose something of value if we seek unity among us?

There is tension that exists in differences, but that tension causes growth and progress. It causes us to really see one another and value what everyone brings to the table. 

Jesus didn’t come to bring uniformity to the world; He came to bring unity. For us to learn to love and respect one another, to offer dignity to our differences, value to our uniquenesses.

If my identity is only rooted in what I am as people see me–a white, middle-class American woman–they miss out on the depth of my heart and soul, the way I think and look at life.

They miss me.

If my identity is in Jesus, one of His beloved, with a willingness to open myself to see others as He does, I become more than a category.

I become a whole person.

Like the boys, I don’t have to have an opinion about anyone else’s crazy hair.

It would be great, though, if I saw it for what it is.

Unique and fun.

2 responses to “Seeking Identity In All The Wrong Places”

  1. “We’re all a little bit about dealing with one another’s crazy hair.” So true, my friend. We struggle to embrace differences as silly and inconsequential as hair types and hairstyles – what a mess we are sometimes. Thanks for the reminder to look deeper, below the surface, to the heart, and see each other as Jesus does. So much beauty there.


    1. You’re so kind, my friend. And so right. Even in our mess, He sees beauty and value because He chooses to. I become so impatient with my pettiness so often. Thanks for your encouragement,

      Liked by 1 person

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