Back to School: A Crisis in Identity Part 1

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Going back to school creates all kinds of feelings- excitement, anxiety and everything in between. It's common to daydream about who's going to be in your class, the new friends you'll meet and the girl you'll finally work up the courage to talk to. In moderation, this daydreaming can be healthy and expected, but there is another side, a toxic side. It's the side that accompanies feelings of anxiety, worry, fear, sadness and worthlessness.

What if they don't like me anymore? What if I'm not accepted? What if she doesn't notice me? What if they find out who I really am?

When these thoughts are linked to identity, we give others the power to decide who we are. They answer the questions: Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Can I fool them into thinking I'm someone great? These thoughts accompany powerful emotions and become all consuming.

Where do these thoughts come from? If you walk into any high school there are established methods of gaining and gauging value. Friends, sports, talents, looks and personality. Everything you do or say can bring you up or down in popularity. Therefore, if you do the "right" things, hang out with the "right" people, look and act the "right" way you can have value. That's a lot of pressure!!! And it's all built on a half-truth.

That fact is God created all of us with the need to be valued. It's inherent in our DNA and our souls to have value. But who sets the standard of value? High schools are just a microcosm of the rest of the world. Money, cars, beauty, power and prestige are all highly valued in our culture. I've heard countless grown men say, "I wonder when everyone at work will learn that I'm a phony." This problem of outsourcing our value doesn’t start and end in high school.

We place our best self on social media to be judged by others. We rely on others to tell us if we're good enough.


The problem of relying on others to give us value is that it was never the job of a created being to give another created being value. Only the creator can give value to his creation. Other people can observe and describe our God given value, but they cannot add to it or diminish it.

Prayerfully consider these verses.

"There is no power on earth that can make a person important." Psalm 75:6 (ERV)

"But can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand moves it? Can a wooden cane walk by itself?" Isaiah 10:15 (NLT)

"So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!" 2nd Corinthians 5:16 (NLT)

"As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don't even trust my own judgment on this point." 1st Corinthians 4:3 (NLT)

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About Me: I'm a Christian counselor in Vancouver, WA. I specialize in treating male teens and men's counseling. Please contact me with any questions about my blog, counseling or to set up an appointment.

All information and opinions shared on this blog are for educational purposes only. Please contact me or another mental health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.