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I am finding my identity in Christ alone." - St. Augustine of Hippo

Imagine scrolling through your social media feed, bombarded by perfectly curated lives and filtered faces. You might start wondering, “Who am I? Where do I belong?” It’s a question that’s haunted humanity since the beginning, and St. Augustine, a restless philosopher and theologian, grappled with it intensely.

You are standing at the edge of a vast, uncharted ocean—the future. Your hand holds a compass, the needle spinning, seeking direction. This moment is your rite of passage, the transition from the familiar shores of adolescence to the open seas of adulthood. It could be moving to moving to “big school”, getting a job, taking a year out to travel the world or heading to Uni. Whatever it may be you will have looked around to see how others are navigating it, because it looks like they have it sussed. They know what they are doing. But do they?

Just like you, St. Augustine once stood at a similar crossroads, his heart pulsating with the same fundamental questions that beat in yours: “Who am I in this vast world? Where will my journey take me?” His quest for identity and meaning is a map for all young explorers venturing into the unknown, reminding us that the truest direction comes not from the stars above but from the compass within, guided by a relationship with something greater than ourselves.

Augustine, like many of us, searched for fulfilment in fleeting pleasures, intellectual pursuits, and worldly achievements. But like sandcastles washed away by the tide, these pursuits left him feeling empty. He famously described this emptiness in his writings, Confessions: “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in You, O God.”

Augustine would also write, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” This isn’t just some dusty old quote; it’s a timeless truth. We were created with an inherent yearning for something more, something beyond the fleeting trends and external validation. Augustine, like many of us, searched for fulfilment in all the wrong places: pleasure, power, knowledge. But true identity, he discovered, wasn’t found in achievements or accolades, but in a relationship with God.

Augustine’s journey to discovery was marked by a pivotal moment beneath a fig tree, where a simple, divine nudge in the form of a child’s chant, “Take up and read,” led him to a scripture that would redefine his existence. He opened the Bible to Romans 13:13-14, which urged him to “live decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

This verse shattered Augustine’s self-constructed identity and revealed his true north: Jesus Christ. He realised that his worth wasn’t based on worldly success or approval, but on being loved by God. It’s a truth that resonates today, especially for young people constantly bombarded with unrealistic expectations.
Augustine’s journey reminds us that the “best” self isn’t the one with the most likes or followers, but the one rooted in Christ’s love. It’s about pursuing kindness, compassion, and service, even when the world tells you to be loud, boastful, and self-absorbed.

Acknowledging that the journey is fraught with challenges, doubts, and temptations is crucial. Augustine’s own path was not devoid of struggle; even after embracing his new identity in Christ, he contended with his past and ongoing inner battles. Yet, his unwavering faith served as an anchor, constantly reminding him of God’s infinite love and mercy. This enduring faith underscores the importance of perseverance and reliance on divine strength through life’s tumultuous seas.

Remember: Finding your true identity is a lifelong journey, not a destination. It’s enriched by every step, every stumble, and every triumph. With Christ as our compass, we are equipped to weather life’s storms and discover our authentic selves.

Embrace the journey, open your heart to God, and embark on an adventure of self-discovery and spiritual awakening. With Christ as your compass, you’ll navigate life’s storms and discover the person you were truly meant to be.

Start today. Take a deep breath, open your heart to God, and embark on your own adventure of self-discovery.

Reflection

Take a moment. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Ask yourself:

  • Where am I searching for my identity?
  • Am I listening to God’s voice, or the world’s noise?
  • What does it mean to me to be “found” in Christ?

Reflect on Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” You are capable of amazing things, but not alone. Lean on Christ, and let Him guide you.

Action

So, how do you find your own “true north”? Here are some steps inspired by Augustine’s journey:

Reflect: Spend time in quiet prayer and reflection. Read scripture, meditate on God’s word, and ask yourself: What truly matters to me? What brings me lasting peace and joy?

Connect: Surround yourself with positive influences who will support your spiritual growth. Find a faith community or mentor who can guide you on your journey.

Serve: As Augustine discovered, true fulfilment comes from using your gifts and talents to serve others. Volunteer in your community, help those in need, and show God’s love through your actions.

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