Finding Your Best Identity: A Review

Alicia Barwick
Reviews 3 mins
Found in: Identity

Andrew Bunt, Finding Your Best Identity: A Short Christian Introduction to Identity, Sexuality and Gender (IVP, 2022)

Who Am I? It’s a question we are confronted with a lot through life, a question that is relevant to every one of us, each with answers that are diverse and unique. I’m sure we can all think of a time when we’ve questioned our identity. In my role as a youth worker I see this question being thrown in the faces of young people in almost everything they do. Everyone wants to know the answer. Andrew’s book poses the important challenge that maybe we’ve missed a step in answering this question and that the most exciting and life-bringing adventure we can go on is to ask, ‘How do I find who I am?’.

The structure of this book outlines the ways in which we might search to find out who we are. Andrew uses three main processes to show how we might do this: ‘Others decide’, ‘I decide’ or ‘God decides’. All of these points are accessible, easy to read and understand. I particularly like that this book answers the question it is asking and doesn’t leave you confused. After each chapter, Andrew writes some reflection questions which makes the book feel like the beginning of a wider conversation you can have in community and with God.

Others decide and I decide

In both chapters ‘Others decide’ and ‘I decide’, I really appreciated reading about Andrew’s own life experience as a young person and could picture his struggles and the choices he made to discover himself. There is so much content within this book that we can connect with, and I found both of these chapters to paint a picture of the challenges we face as humans in our insecurities, awareness of what other people think of us, the pressure we put on ourself, our origin story, and the voice of our current culture. He writes unapologetically about what it’s like to feel confused and insecure and although this has been a sad reality it is also refreshing to read his honesty as many people need to hear the message that they aren’t alone with those feelings. 

God decides

‘The most life-giving form of identity we can have within this reality is Christian identity: an identity we receive as we enter into a relationship with God based on the work of Christ. This is the identity that can give us the best true and lasting sense of worth and value, and it’s by living out this identity that we can experience our best life’ (p.35).

After much evaluating, we find ourselves at the answer to the question of how we find out who we are, and Andrew puts it so well. Living our best life is living out our identity in Christ. The author uses biblical references and his own wisdom to piece together the reasons why this is the answer to our question.

One of the most helpful points in the book was Andrew’s observation that when we live in the identity we have in Christ we are able to let go of external pressures like what people think of us, how we feel ourselves, and who we would like to be (p.37). I liked how this chapter made effective comparisons between how the voice of God affects us and the impact that the voice of the world has on us. Although we may not always get it all right or listen to the best voice, ‘the pressure is off' (p.45) and we can turn to God and find freedom and grace in the gospel message and begin to make healthy and sustainable decisions for our lives that help us grow, develop and have integrity about who we are. 

Though short in length, it is mighty in its impact and is jam-packed with honest reflections, wise and observant points and biblical depth.

There is a practical side to this book which is more apparent towards the end where Andrew speaks into identity when it comes to gender and sexuality, and then provides an action plan for understanding ourselves. I am increasingly aware of the questions people currently face around their sexual orientation and gender, and this chapter, although potentially controversial for some to read as it touches on celibacy and gender more directly, can be a great conversation starter to delve deeper into these topics.

Ending on the question, ‘Your best identity is waiting for you. Are you going to take hold of it?’ (p.75), this book leaves room for more and doesn’t leave you stranded with an existential crisis thanks to the practical questions after each chapter which allow time to reflect on what is written.

Finding Your Best Identity, though short in length, is mighty in its impact and is jam-packed with honest reflections, wise and observant points and biblical depth. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and will turn to it when drawn to unpack life’s big questions.