When I was a kid, I read a story about a boy whose mother named him Kissimmee, after a town she had visited. He really hated that name, and I didn't blame him. I was relieved that even though my name was a little strange, it wasn't that strange. More recently, I read an article by a high- school student whose name is Gravity. After telling about the hassles of having an unusual name, she included the benefits. One thing she said she'd learned was that being unique is a blessing.
You don't have to have an unusual name to be unique. That's because each of us has specific talents that come directly from God. Does that seem weird? It isn't, actually. The Bible says that you, me, all the animals, the sun and the stars, the whole universe, are actually the spiritual creation of God.
Creation isn't some giant material assembly- line operation, though. God is Spirit. That means you and I are made up of the spiritual qualities of God-like love, joy, and peace. Since God is Love, your identity is good. Since God is limitless intelligence, you have all the knowledge you need to be truly intelligent.
I know this is true because I used to be a super dork when it came to math. At the time I didn't know I could turn to God for help. Much later, after I did learn this from studying Christian Science, my math improved a lot. I've even been the treasurer for a couple of organizations. (I'm sure that's something my math teachers would never have imagined.)
I've also learned that the way to discover more of my true identity is to keep turning to God. Jesus Christ provided a great example of this. He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). In other words, he needed God. If Jesus had been just a great person, he would have been limited in his accomplishments. But when he turned to God, and saw his unlimited spiritual identity that came from God, he was able to do incredibly good things. His trust in God enabled him to heal people who were sick, or even dying, sometimes of terrible diseases.
I have found that recognizing God as the source of who you really are does not mean that you are just a passive blob or kind of boring. Instead you are freer to try new things because you are not limited by thoughts like "My family was never very good in school," or "I guess I'm not the athletic type." Whatever limitation comes to mind, turning to God for help means you don't have to be held up either by your background or by any mistakes you have made in the past.
Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who discovered Christian Science in 1866, explained what she found to be the truth about identity-that it is one's own special expression of God. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she used an analogy of sculpting, showing how we do something similar to sculpting when we shape our views of ourselves and who we are. She asked, "What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering?" If you accept those kinds of models, she said, you will be limiting the good you can have.
Instead, you can see yourself as God does. That passage in Science and Health continues farther on, "We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives" (p. 248).
Just as each sculpture is unique because each artist's concept is different, your identity is different from anyone else's. But our models have to express good elements that are like God: goodness, love, truth, and so forth. Then we each will express Him in a special way. Your individual relation to God can never be broken.
When something happens that makes you feel stupid or clumsy, take a few moments to pray-that is, to know that you have a specific, intelligent, loved identity that comes from God alone. Don't follow the stupid or shy or lonely model. In prayer, ask God to show you how you're actually modeled after Him.
As you discover your spiritual identity, you'll find that things get better. You'll also find opportunities to grow. You'll be expressing more and more of who God made you to be.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.