Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Identity Code

I have just started reading this new book by Larry Ackerman called the Identity Code: The 8 Essential Questions for Finding Your Purpose and Place in the World. I picked it up at the library and am finding it very engaging. Although it is not written from a Christian perspective, it is very respectful of spiritual and religious commitment as part of one's identity.

I am always looking for ways of knowing myself better and also for tools to teach others to do the same. Also, since my husband and I are so serious about looking ahead to a move in a couple of years, that means I should reconsider my career and where exactly I should go next. I may get an opportunity to reinvent myself completely or perhaps more truthfully, rediscover my authentic self in a new setting and challenge.

Hee-haw! (I've become re-addicted to country music again lately. A funny little habit I picked up as an undergraduate in NYC. Go figure.)

The first question and exercise has to do with Who am I? and encourages you to visualize yourself as separate from everyone else, including those you love and admire. I believe this is something I always have known. I've always felt alone in my own skin, different than my family, my friends, my peers, my coworkers. Even now I am a woman in a male-dominated denomination and ministry and know who I am. I'm a homeschooler--not a mainstream choice. My family is bicultural and not white bread typical Americana. So I skipped the first exercise. I may like these kinds of books and exercises, but never feel compelled to fill out every little requirement. (Rebel.)

On to the second question: What makes me special? I am supposed to identify the things I love doing most in order to unearth the passions that define me. Cool. One of my favorite topics: stuff I love.

Name the things you "love"--and love to do.

Reading and writing: Books, magazines, blogs, websites, the bible, bible studies, bible commentaries, theology, great novels esp. 19th century British, nonfiction of all types.

Reading aloud to my kids or anybody's kids.

A pile of books on my bedside table. Current news magazines. Health and nutrition mags.

Beautiful writing. Authenticity. The kind of writing that rocks the way you think about the world. Great picture books. Classic tales.

Cooking and nutrition: Finding the healthiest and most delicious food for my family and friends. Making salads. Baking bread from scratch. Baking cookies with my kids.

Cooking from scratch and modifying recipes to be healthier and more delicious. I don't like to be told what to do or to slavishly follow someone else's recipe!

Ministry: Creating community. Teaching the bible. Making relevant, practical applications of Christian spirituality to contemporary people. Mentoring younger ministers. Supervising the work of ministry. Setting a vision.

Humor: Doing and watching improvisational comedy. Garrison Keillor. Rowan Atkinson.

Psychology: How people learn, personality tests, insight into relationships, vocational counseling.

Education: Teaching Conversational English, teaching bible studies, teaching literature, having educational conversations with my kids, taking classes, learning new things, integrating new information into my life.

Relationships: Talking to younger women about love and marriage. Romantic movies (good ones, not cheesy ones). Reading about marriage, sexuality, fidelity. Reading about homeschooling, building a close family, helping kids to find their way and their purpose in the world.

Language and culture: Learning another language. Understanding cultural differences. Being able to connect with someone about their culture. Making someone feel welcome. Traveling.

Talk: Intelligent and witty talk radio (NPR, Lake Wobegon, What Do You Know?, This American Life) Intellectual conversations about things that matter. Great plays. Shakespeare. Games: crossword puzzles, Taboo, Guesstures, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, etc.

I will come back to update this list later because I am sure there are more areas I've not yet found. I also need to discern the whys and the themes.

Micah Girl


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