We just “celebrated” Star Wars Day on Sunday (May the fourth be with you). Just prior to Star Wars Day, I was challenged on my credibility as a nerd because I had not yet seen this epic trilogy. Now, I pride myself on being a nerd. Lets review my credentials:
1.) I like sci-fi and fantasy,
(My Orson Scott Card box sets)
2.) I am a literature queen (I read Shakespeare for fun…and write papers on it…for fun)
3.) I can quote all 3 films of The Lord of the Rings (including Elvish)
(My official Fellowship pendant)
4.) I’m into anime and manga
(Remnants of my childhood Sailor Moon obsession)
5.) I’m a DisNerd (“Disney Nerd”…thanks Zachary Levi, for that term. I owe you a quarter)
I’m just dripping with quirks that qualify me as a nerd. Or so I thought. But Star Wars nerds are really rabid! “Oh, you’ve never seen Star Wars? You’re not a nerd. End of discussion.” Apparently there is no other fandom that qualifies me as a nerd.
And just like that, my credibility is undermined. Part of my identity is challenged. My personality is contradicted, and for a split second, I have no clue what to do. Small ripples turn into huge waves as this friendly jocularity mixes with social anxiety and turns into an internal identity crisis. It seems silly, but for one long, slightly melodramatic moment, my soul wandered to a high precipace, looked up to the sky, eyes wide with confusion and cried “…who am I?”
Well, here’s what I think. I think I am a nerd, and an awesome one at that, but I also think I need to step back and once again re-evaluate my tendency to label things, including myself. At the core of my being, I may exhibit nerd tendencies, but I’m not just a nerd. I’m more than a nerd. Mr. Nerd King himself, Zachary Levi, founder of The Nerd Machine( www.thenerdmachine.com ) simply defines nerdiness as extreme passion for something, but he also said something very pertinent to my identity crisis tendencies. In one podcast, he basically said “don’t give external stuff your self-worth,” and proceeded to explain that his worth was placed in Christ. I’m smart and quirky and funny and I have a decent knowledge base of obscure cult-fiction and lore, but more than that, I’m a child of God. I don’t always remember that.
There’s a lyric from a Lecrae song that seems to be haunting me lately: “Identity is found in the God we trust; any other identity will self-destruct.” Every label I have tried to don has failed me. It has fallen short or it has been too tall an order. None of them have been a safe place for me to rest in. My identity is something I have to seek God for, and honestly, I don’t always know how to do that. Harkening back to my previous blog about labels, I have established the fact that the traditional Christian label is not my identity. Unfortunately, that traditional label is often times the only way I can see God, and because of that I back away from him. I hide from him, thus obscuring my only path to my identity and security.
C.S. Lewis (another contributor to my nerditude) talks about identity a little bit in his non-fiction works. He says that the“human will become truly creative and our own when it is wholly God’s…one of the many senses in which he that loses his soul shall find it.” I have fought with this for years. I have wanted something I could point at and say “this is who I am,” but thus far I have been unable to truly see and know that this one thing is Christ, and so my identity has been open-ended and subject to destruction. I don’t know what God is making of me. I don’t know who I am or what I will be. I try to deduce from everything in me and around me, but at the end of the day, that secret is one I can only uncover by going to God. …I guess I need to nerd-up on my relationship with God.