“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are — no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourself proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”
(Matthew chapter 5, verse 5).
We live in a society where ideas, belief systems and consumer habits are shaped by the media. In 2016 global advertising sales reached a record high of US $493 billion — that lofty figure continues to grow. The global advertising and marketing industry is controlled by a handful of conglomerates: you could count these agencies that shape our global mindset through advertising on one hand!
The world tries to tell us who we should be, what we should wear, watch, listen to and buy in order to be relevant, what jobs we should have so we can be successful, what we should think to be politically correct, how we should be spending our time to achieve happiness, and how we can become the best versions of ourselves.
Advertising is a hungry monster and feeds on our feelings of not being satisfied with who we are: if we buy the Nikes we’re promised we’ll feel better about ourselves. Soon the sneakers are smelly and dirty and we’re ready for another pair. But we haven’t dealt with the underlying issue: are we fulfilled with who we are?
Our generation is having an identity crisis.
In an attempt for our culture to be more accepting of others, we have only created more classifications. There are loads of labels floating around that try to identify us, which the media loves to cling to. These range from our job description, to the state of our mental health, to our belief systems, and to our sexuality, gender, politics, religious and spiritual views. We now have so many labelled boxes we can pack people neatly into, we’ve lost the adventure of discovering who we are outside of classifications.
In the first century AD, Jesus of Nazareth climbed a hillside in Galilee to tell all who had gathered around Him: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are.” He knew we would need this message today.
There are big issues of identity in this era that fight to define us. But the truth is unless we know who we are in Christ there is no label that will satisfy us or classify us. Hash-tagging some of these labels might sound awesome: feminist, activist, vegan, humanitarian, eco-warrior, evangelist, preacher. Others might appear heartbreaking: anxiety disorder, bipolar, chronic fatigue syndrome, addiction, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Whether the labels are exciting or challenging, they don’t define who we are. There is only One who holds our identity: Jesus. That’s a big statement that’s contrary to everything the advertising agencies tell us we need in order to be content.
The truth is: all we need is Jesus. Because He’s the only One who exemplifies everything humanity so desperately seeks: love, kindness, truth, compassion, generosity, humility, selflessness, joy and peace.
No one is more ecstatic for you to become the person you were created to be than your Creator. You are divinely made to express a personal characteristic of God that only you can. God has inscribed Himself on your heart in a way that is unique to you alone, and He’s delighted when you express your God-flavour to the world around you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s why Jesus says to be content with who you are. Don’t try to squeeze into a mold of who the world says you should be. Stay true to God within you and your enthusiasm for life will transcend anything the marketing campaigns falsely promised you.
“The word ‘enthusiasm’ comes from the Greek word ‘entheos’ which means the God within. And the happiest, most interesting people are those who have found the secret of maintaining their enthusiasm, that God within.”
Draw near to God and He will show you how much you are loved, He will unveil your uniqueness, and He won’t classify you with anything except the mark that you belong to Him. You matter. Don’t change who you are. Jesus gave His life for you so you can soak forever in His love. Don’t try to fit in when God created you to stand out with a light that keeps shining brighter.
Be content with who you are and you’ll rise each day with enthusiastic confidence, because you’re the proud owner of everything that can’t be bought.
Amy is a Press Services International Columnist from Adelaide. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Screen & Media, and now works as a freelance multimedia journalist. She was runner-up in the 2018 Basil Sellars Award. Her previous articles can be viewed here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/amy-manners.html
Amy is a Press Services International Columnist from Adelaide. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Screen & Media, and now works as a freelance photographer, videographer and writer. She was runner-up in the 2018 Basil Sellars Award. Her previous articles can be viewed here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/amy-manners.html