Q: What obstacles do you think most often stand in the way when people begin to define their identity?
A: So many people, their identity is based on what others have said or how they feel about themselves, and so it can be something so small. A teacher tells a third-grader “you're not good at math,” and all of sudden for the rest of their lives, that person believes, “I'm never going to be good at math.” They internalize one statement and build a belief system around it. Or someone says “You're kind of pudgy. You're kind of fat” to a little kid, and suddenly they internalize and believe that's always how they are going to be. I'm hoping that this book helps people to see that they are believing things that are either not true about themselves or they may be true today but they don't have to be true tomorrow. With God's help, we can overcome labels and become someone new and different.
Q: Why is there a need for people to know their true identity?
A: Because so many people are trying to live a life that they think others want them to live. Internally, there's a tension of knowing this isn't who I really am. I'm performing for the expectations of others. I'm hoping that we can help people to see where the inconsistencies are between their values and behaviors. If we can align our values with God's values and then our behaviors are borne out of those beliefs, then we can really live a wholly integrated life where our actions and our values are consistent. There's just fulfillment in that.
Q: You used the term “integrity deficit.” What does that mean?
A: Unfortunately, many people would agree there's an “integrity deficit” in society today. You know it because people are more shocked when someone does something with integrity than they are when the opposite occurs. We are so used to leaders in our society doing the wrong thing. In fact, people almost expect it now, which is tragic. I read a story yesterday about a street person giving back a diamond ring that he had found and that was big news because he did the right thing. With this book, hopefully it can help people align their beliefs with their behavior. There's a difference between reputation and integrity. Reputation is who others think we are, and integrity is who we really are. If I have integrity, then what I say will line up with what I do and my private life will be consistent with my public life.