The “Identity Crisis Epidemic”: How Do We, As Parents, Help Our Children Find Their Purpose??

by | May 1, 2023

Identity crisis has become sort of like an epidemic among kids in today’s world. Whether it is their gender, natural gifting or purpose in life, confusion has replaced confidence and led them into crisis. Our children are beautifully designed by God, gifted uniquely and created with a special purpose. As mothers, communicating that truth not just once or twice but repeatedly in affectionate and affirming ways helps kids understand and imbibe that truth. A solid foundation in the truth of the scripture helps overcome confusion and crisis of identity not just in teenage years but well into adulthood. 

In Mathew 25 Jesus talks about a very interesting parable. It’s a story about a certain master who takes a long journey. He calls his servants to give them five, two and one talent each and sets off….

Matthew 25:14-30

14 “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. 15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 The one who had received the five talents immediately went and did business with them, and earned five more talents17 In the same way the one who had received the two talents earned two more. 18 But he who received the one talent went away and dug a hole in the ground, and hid his [b]master’s money.

19 “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have earned five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your [c]master.’

22 “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have earned two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter the joy of your master.’

24 “Now the one who had received the one talent also came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed25 And I was afraid, so I went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you still have what is yours.’

26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You [d]worthless, lazy slave! Did you know that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter seed27 Then you ought to have [e]put my money in the bank, and [f]on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore: take the talent away from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Do you know that this parable is an answer to questions the disciples asked Jesus? They asked:

  • “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
  • “When will you return and when will this world end?”

Jesus answered them with instructions of what the last days will look like (Matthew 24) and then he teaches them this parable of talents. This is a very important story well suited for our times.

The last servant, the one who got the one talent, had a huge misunderstanding problem….

  1. He lacked understanding of the master. He didn’t know who the master truly was.
  2. He lacked understanding of the talent he was given
  3. He lacked an understanding of himself. Struggled with his own identity.

 

Let’s dive into his first confusion….

1. He lacked understanding of the Master.

Although he had been serving the master, he had no idea what the master was like.  He thought his master to be a harsh, demanding man, going after unjust gain in spite of receiving a gift from him.  A lot of times we walk through our life or Christian journey really not knowing who our God is like, what characteristics God has or what His attributes are, how deep and unconditional his love is for us. We try to put God in a box from what we hear others talk about Him. Any identity crisis first stems from a misunderstanding of the creator. In general, people very rarely take time to really know and understand the character of God.

That’s why the Bible says in Proverbs 9:10:

    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

    Proverbs 9:10

     

    It gives us wisdom and teaches us the right perspectives. When we have a wrong view of God, we end up with a wrong view of everything else including us. A.W Tozer says,

    “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

    -A.W. Tozer

    The view of God we have during a crisis, reveals if we will overcome the crisis or if the crisis will overcome us. It’s important to have this foundation because it determines how we come out through trails and confusions of life. The key to enjoying peace during turbulent times is having a solid experiential knowledge of God. Nothing can shake us when we know our God.

     “…the people who know their God will display strength and take action”.

    Daniel 11:32

    People who know their God are action takers!  The slave here didn’t know his master and as result he didn’t have courage  to take any action. He simply dug a hole and hid his talent.

    2. He lacked understanding of the talent.

     Talent = our gifting, our abilities or anything that is entrusted to us that we didn’t “earn for ourselves.” 

    Everything we are and have, is a grace-gift by Jesus Christ. Our possessions, our relationships, our opportunities, our gifting, are all His. This parable is a story of stewardship not ownership. The slave who received the one talent lacked an understanding of the talent. 

    John Maxwell once said,

    “Talent is cheaper than table salt.”

    -John Maxwell

    Everyone has at least one given to them. What sets us apart is the characteristics that take us beyond just possessing it.

    • Your belief or understanding lifts your talent.
    • Initiative activates it.
    • Focus directs it.
    • Preparation positions it.
    • Practice sharpens it.
    • Perseverance sustains it.
    • Teachability expands it. 

    The slave here received one talent, while the others received five talents and two talents. It might seem unfair that this slave received only one. But we should always remember that God’s kingdom doesn’t run on fairness. God’s kingdom runs on His sovereignty. He gives to everyone according to their ability. And that is why it is important to notice that he says “well done good and faithful servant” and not “well done good and fruitful servant.” God sees our faithfulness and not necessarily our fruitfulness or how much we produced. The one who got five produced five more and the one who got two made two more and, in both cases, they produced a 100% although it looked different in terms of outcome. He did not compare the second servant with the first who produced five more. He called them both faithful.  It is so important to know that comparison is such a crippling game. Anytime we begin to compare we begin to lose. The servant may have compared himself with the other two and felt small. Or he may have not realized that the talent he was given had the potential of increase, that it had the potential to earn a place for him at the Master’s table, not to be a servant, but to enter in the joy of his Master. To dine with him at his table!! Rather his ignorance resulted in facing the wrath of the Master.

    Have you thought about what you’ve been given or gifted…? even if you think it’s just one?

    Remember God is not looking at the amount so much but our faithfulness.  It’s not “well done good and fruitful servant” but “well done good and faithful servant.” The lack of understanding of the talent not only left him with regret but also caused him to receive no reward.

    3. He lacked understanding of himself.

    He had an identity crisis. We go through so much of our life not really knowing ourselves, not realizing what our fears are, what we are in bondage to, what strongholds have a grip on us and keep us from living a full life. 

    The servant responds to the master saying,

    “ So I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is your own.”

    Matthew 25:25

    “I was afraid…” Fear is the opposite of faith and fear paralyzes us and keeps us from taking action. Faith gives us courage; it encourages us and leads us to take action. The servant had no clue that because of his distorted view of the master, he had fear complexes built in his mind that kept him from taking action. Sometimes we assume that inaction is a safe place but the consequences of it can be disappointing.

     Ever wondered why is it important for God that we steward the gift or talent that we’ve been given? Because the gift displays the character of the giver and when we put it to work, when we use it, when we “do business with it” we are displaying to the world who God is and what his character is. He gets the glory through us. We are his handiwork. All of us have something that we can do well. Our talent is God’s gift to us and how we use it is our gift to Him.

    May God give us the grace to know Him intimately in a deeper way, know and understand the gift that was given to us and have a healthy understanding of ourselves and the purpose for which He made us. When we live in that light, it spills over to our children as well. 

    A solid foundation in the truth of the scripture helps overcome confusion and a crisis of identity. If you would like to know more about this topic for you and your family, listen to this Spotify podcast below with lessons about how to build a strong family foundation with the pressures of parenting today.

    Building a Strong Family

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