Who are you? I love this song by The Who, I will now pause for a moment for you to sing the song in your head, Who Who, Who Who. Ok, now that we have that out of the way, there really is a serious question being asked here. Who are you? Who am I? How do we define ourselves? (I know that is 3 questions but they really are the same .)
During a recent conversation with a long time friend that I had not seen in some time, we were talking about people that we have known together that have had unfortunate circumstances that have led them down a path from which they were unable to escape. In each case the person in question had defined themselves by their job. Their profession was their identity and when something happened to take that profession away from them they were lost. They had no identity. They had nothing left. This led to the person pursuing the wrong things in life and tragically it cost them their lives.
How we define ourselves says a lot about our lives. It tells the world where we have placed our priorities. So how do you define yourself? Are you a teacher, a preacher, or a zoo keeper? If this is how you define yourself, then I would suggest that you take a hard look at your life and what your priorities are. I would also suggest you picking up a copy of Pete Wilson’s book, Empty Promises. This book discusses some of these same issues.
How we define ourselves is only part one of the equation, the other side to this question is “Who do others say you are?” It is one thing to sit at your desk and look at the computer screen and state “I know who I am.” But do others see you in the same way? If I were to ask 5 of your friends to tell me who you are, what would be their response? Would their assessment be the same as yours. If not, then I would suggest that you may not be living in the way you think you are. You may think you know what defines you, when in fact you live something totally different.
The following conversation took place about 12 years ago and it made me realize that I wasn’t projecting who I thought I was at the time.
One Friday afternoon at work, the conversation turned to our plans for the weekend. When someone asked me what my plans were for the weekend, I replied “Nothing special, I’m working on Saturday and then going to church on Sunday.” Innocent enough, right. That is until I was met with the following response, “I didn’t know you went to church.”
How in the world could I have been working with this person for the past 5 years and they not know that I attended church every Sunday, taught an adult class, and worked with the youth groups, when I had the time? Simple, I wasn’t living like it. If I had been living like God was the most important thing in my life, then it would have come as no surprise to my co-workers that I was going to church on Sunday. What an eye opening comment.
How we see ourselves and how we project ourselves to others determines who we are. So who am I? Hopefully if you ask this question to 5 of my friends they would tell you that I am:
- A Christian – a lover of God and of His son Jesus Christ.
- A Husband – who loves my wife with all of my heart and love being her husband.
- A Father – of 2 great children, who I love and adore.
- A Friend – someone who loves people, someone you can call on when times get tough, someone you can count on.
There are many different ways that we can define ourselves. If we constantly define ourselves by worldly definitions; a doctor, a lawyer, a candlestick maker, then we will have nothing when those things that define us are taken away from us. What a terrible state to find yourself in. To wake up and determine that everything that you use to define yourself is no longer there.
All throughout our lives, man is constantly looking for security. We look for the feeling that every thing is under control. We long for the feeling that nothing is going to collapse our world. Only by defining ourselves through our relationship with God, will we gain that sense of permanent security that we all seek. God is the only thing that exists that is constant. He is permanent. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He will be with us always. By placing your identity in Him, you will never wake up to find that he has abandoned you.
Things that we find in this world are only temporary, therefore if we define who we are by these things then that identity is only temporary. God is permanent, and our identity in Him will be permanent as well.
Our relationship with God is how we should be defining ourselves. All of these people who are struggling to find their identity or searching for the meaning of life are looking in the wrong place. They are looking inside themselves, when they should be looking to God. Only then will they find the answers that they are looking. Only when we secure our identity through Him can we be secure in our identity.
Who are you? (You can go back to singing the song now.)