Bethany Bigham

Searching for Identity

Bethany Bigham
Searching for Identity

Netflix's original series, “The Crown,” offers viewers a first-hand look at what life might have been like for the royal family during the 1940s and 1950s. While it has been interesting to see many of the historical facts played out, Princess Margaret’s emotional ups and downs show the deeper, more human aspects of the series. She experiences jealousy of her sister, the Queen, and wants to have authority and purpose. However, this collides with her desire to be free and her desperate attempts at finding her own identity. 

MARGARET'S SEARCH FOR IDENTITY

In the first season, Margaret searches for her identity in relationships. She falls in love with a much older, married man named Peter Townsend who decides to leave his wife. Once his divorce is final, Peter and Margaret appeal to Queen Elizabeth for her blessing on their intended marriage. The Queen decides she cannot permit Margaret to marry a divorced man as it would be “violating the scriptures and offending the church.” Margaret responds by saying, “Peter is the only one who knows how to calm me, to reassure, to protect me...hold me together. Without him, I am nothing!” (Season 1 episode 10.) Her entire identity is found in Peter and how he makes her feel.

Many people who have been in relationships know how easy it is to do this. It is in our nature to give ourselves to other people, and we love the comfort and security the relationship offers.  However, like Margaret, when we put our identity and hope in perishable relationships and activities we set ourselves up for grief and disappointment. 

THE SEARCH CONTINUES

Her search for identity escalates in season two when Margaret starts to spiral into an unhealthy emotional state. She smokes and drinks excessivly in desperate attempts to get over the heartbreak of not being able to marry Peter, as well as not having any new prospects for marriage. Things start to look up a bit when a longtime friend proposes to her, and she accepts. Once it falls through, though, the spiral continues.

Finally, she meets Tony: a handsome, artistic photographer with a wild and free spirit. Their relationship appears to be casual and noncommittal, but once she hears that Peter has gotten engaged to someone else, Margaret quickly pushes Tony to marry her. Although Tony rejects her offer initially, he becomes so motivated by his need for his mother's approval that he eventually proposes to Margaret. 

The Queen gives her permission for the two to be married but not without raising her concerns. She wonders if it’s not a “rush to heal old wounds” among other things. Confidently, Margaret replies, “Tony makes sense of me, defines me. At long last, I know who I am.” (Season 2 episode 7). Again, Margaret finds herself by putting her identity in another person in the same way she did with Peter.

EMPTY PROMISES

When we search for our identity anywhere but in Christ, we end up lost and unfulfilled. Many of us at one time or another have found ourselves like Princess Margaret, putting all our hope in some relationship or circumstance. If we're not finding identity in relationships, we may be finding it in passions or careers or something similar. While it is important, and in most cases necessary, to have those things in our lives, we must remember that they do not make us who we are.

TRUE IDENTITY

Inevitably, all these things will let you down and circumstances will change, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In Christ we have all that we need, and apart from Him, we are nothing.  “For in him we live and move & have our being” (Acts 17:28). If we can realize that Christ alone is enough to satisfy our deepest desires and longings, we can find true peace and freedom. He alone can transform us, redeem us, and give us the hope and joy that we  long for. Of course, not everything in our lives will be perfect, but when we put our identity in Christ, we can “be confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). No longer will we, like Princess Margaret, have to desperately search for identity in anything that makes us feel good. 

Growing up my mom often told our family to “Remember who you are and whose you are!” She taught us first and foremost to find our identity in Christ. Like Princess Margaret, so many people seem to have it all, yet they still long for something more. Relationships, jobs, and passions are all important, but they are fleeting, worldly things. Christ is the only thing that truly satisfies. 

While the entire song “In Christ Alone” is a powerful reminder of who we are and what we have in Jesus, the first verse tells of the glorious hope we find in Him.

“In Christ alonemy hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all
Here in the love of Christ, I stand.
"

Born and raised in Texas, Bethany grew up in a Christian home where she learned to love God’s word at an early age.  As a faithful wife, daughter, and sister, she is inspired with a cheerful heart to spread Christ’s message to everyone.  She loves being with her family, good food, and constructing creative home projects.  To Bethany, the greatest way to grow in Christ is to be daily devoted to studying His word.