By Vanessa Rasanen
Trends come and go, especially in the world of social media. Some are awesome — I did love seeing friends’ “love your spouse” challenge posts. And others? Not so much. The latest one has popped up in both Facebook and instagram, and I rather enjoy it. Friends share the three fictional characters that match their personality. It’s been a lot of fun to get a glimpse of how my friends and acquaintances view themselves. Sometimes I nod and laugh at how spot-on their picks are. And others I’m surprised. But overall it’s been fascinating and entertaining.
While I don’t participate in many of these things, I have wanted to with this one. Seems easy enough, I thought. I mean, who knows me better than myself, right? Plus fiction provides a huge pool of possible personality matches. Yet it wasn’t as easy as I expected, and I drew nothing but blanks.
Then later in the week I decided to change my instagram username, and once again hit this wall. Now that I’m no longer blogging full-time, I had switched to just my full name, but it felt meh. I contemplated everything from my childhood nicknames to bacon references. Nothing really fit. So I decided to embrace the meh and stick with my actual name. It’s not a bad name, after all. I rather love it.
But I’m rather annoyed and a bit embarrassed by these hang ups, however trivial. It’s that same pit in my stomach I get when I’m in a meeting or a conference and have to come up with the dreaded “three words to describe yourself” or share the “one thing you’d do if you could do anything” or even just “one fact about yourself that no one else knows”. Really, ice breakers are awful. I at least have our second kiddo’s roadside birth to use on that last one, but it doesn’t exactly translate to a good instagram username, does it? Uh. No. Not so much.
These don’t seem like they should be all that difficult or stress-inducing — yet, here I am. Stumped. Irritated. Asking myself repeatedly “who am I exactly”? What am I like? Why does it seem so easy for friends to define themselves in this way, while I’m left drawing blanks? Why am I struggling to pinpoint exactly who I am? And why in blazes does this bug me this much?
I do know who I am in broad terms. I’m a wife, a mother, a sometimes-writer, a full-time data analyst, and a baptized child of God. I’m a former abortion supporter turned staunchly pro-life. I’m an awkward semi-introvert who has trouble shutting up once you get me talking. I love bacon, but will pick hash browns over it at breakfast any day. I drive too fast, drink too much caffeine, and would rather watch movies than read books.
But all of this could describe anyone. Multiple anyones.
And there’s the rub. I want to be special… but not too special, of course. No one likes a show-off or a blatant narcissist. But that Old Adam isn’t content to be “just Mrs. Rasanen” or “just mom”. Old Adam loves that mirror and wants to be the shiny, special, unicorn-shaped snowflake at the center of the universe.
Now, of course, some level of self-awareness is good. Necessary, even. If the Law is going to lead you to repentance you do have to be somewhat aware of your own sinful junk, right? But that self-awareness shouldn’t hang us up or nag at us. When these feelings of facelessness and anonymity creep up, and we feel unseen and unknown even to ourselves, when we struggle to grasp onto any sense of self and identity, we are good to remember that while we aren’t all special snowflakes, we are each precious to our God. He created us, knit us in our mothers’ wombs, knows each hair of our head, and called us by name. And He loved each of us so much that He sacrificed His son so that we might live and be saved. Our God who created the heavens and the earth, who brought everything into being with just His Word, has used that Word to adopt us as His baptized children and fellow heirs with Christ.
Now remembering this may not help us with those annoying ice breakers, silly social media trends, or online usernames, but I’m pretty okay with that.