Who am I? I believe that there are three helpful questions that we need to consider to understand and to establish our identity. Who do men say that I am, who do I say that I am, and who does God say that I am?
Who am I: Who do men say that I am?
People determine our identity through our behaviors and interactions with others.
Some people know through the things that I do. I am a speaker, writer, mentor, comforter, counselor, and advocate.
Most people know me because they are in a relationship with me as friends, coworkers, family, or non-profit or church members.
I have encountered people who enthusiastically liked me, some who were seemingly indifferent to me, and a few who actively disliked me.
If I am honest, I can sometimes give much weight to what others say about me. I can invest too much energy in trying to be what someone else wants and forget who I am.
Who do people say that you are? Do you like what you hear?
Maybe you can tune out the feedback you receive from others. But there is one voice on the subject of identity that you can’t silence; it is your own.
Who am I: Who do I say that I am?
My conversation with a stranger usually begins with asking my name and then asking what I do for a living. For years I answered my name and worked as a claims adjuster for a large insurance carrier.
It is easy for me to let the things I do become the source of my identity.
When I left my last job, I felt lost and confused. I realized that my identity had become synonymous with a job I no longer had. I had to rediscover who I was. I had to reinvent myself on a resume, LinkedIn, and personal conversations.
Eventually, I came up with a new answer to the who am I question. I am Darrell Proctor, and my mission in life is to love others well and influence others to do the same. My answer is rooted in my relationship with God.
Who do you say that you are? Please take a moment and answer the question, “Who do I say that I am?
- List as many descriptive identities as you can. Now, look at them.
- Based on the evidence before you, who do you say that you are?
- Is your identity defined by the things you do or by your relationships with others?
- Are your values in line with who we want to be?
- If not, what steps do you need to change them?
- Changing habits is hard but well worth the effort.
You may recognize these questions from a conversation Jesus had with his disciples. Who do men say that I am? Who do you say that I am? Jesus asks these questions for Peter’s benefit. Jesus understood his own identity. Jesus could answer with certainty the question, “Who does God say that I am?”
Who Am I: Who does God say that I am?
Jesus did not care what others said about him; their comments and labels did not affect who he was. He knew who he was; He was God’s son. His identity was secure because of his relationship with the Father.
What God said about Jesus was of utmost importance to Jesus.
And what God says about us is equally important.
Our identity is based on who he is, not what we have done, or will do in the future.
Our relationship with him defines our identity. We can actively pursue him as our Father and, with childlike wonder, explore all the joy that he can bring. Or we can be indifferent, knowing that he is our heavenly Father, but ignoring him because we are so busy trying to work for him. Or we can be in direct opposition to him denying his very existence.
The good news is that God is always seeking us. Even when we are indifferent or adversarial, he is a loving God who wants to conform us to His image.
There is a fourth question we need to consider.
Why does any of this matter?
Why it is important not to let others define us. Our identity should not be left for others to decide. Others don’t know us as well as we know ourselves, and their motives for defining our identity are not necessarily in our best interest. When we allow others to mold our character, we can find ourselves adrift from our values and purpose.
Why what you say about yourself is crucial. Our belief in who we are influences our every action and decision. It affects our ability to enjoy a meaningful life.
Why it is essential to know who God says I am. My performance is not the basis of my identity. The certainty of God’s character is the foundation of my personality, giftings, and temperament. God’s character, his love for me, his belief in me will never change. I am his child, and he delights in me.
Call to Action
Who do men say you are? Is it accurate? Are their changes you need to make to your life?
Are there areas of conflict in what God says about you and what you believe about yourself?
Now would be a great time to stop and consider who you are and where you are going.