I propose a social experiment. Go up to five people and ask them this simple – ‘Who are you?’ Most of the responses will consist of the subject’s name, hometown, profession, position in the family, or even hobby. A typical response to the question, ‘who are you?’ will look like this:
I am Tyrion, the third child of Tywin Lannister of Casterly Rock from the Western part of Westeros. I am a Strategist who works with Lannisport Limited. I enjoy hunting stags and dire wolves, reading books and playing the Game of Thrones on Nintendo Wii.
While all this sounds very melodramatic and thrilling for a certain fandom, this is a wrong answer and surely doesn’t speak to who you are. I believe our inability to correctly answer this most important of questions lies at the root of most complications facing individuals and the world as a whole. There is an endemic identity crisis rocking our world. The majority, I make bold to say over 95% of people don’t know how to answer this question and worse still, even if they knew how, couldn’t answer it.
Before I drill down to the core, let’s answer a few rhetorical questions. Does your identity or who you are change because you change jobs or develop new interests? Can something as simple as a name change form signed in the presence of a witness change the core of your identity? In my culture, children are named seven days after birth. This would imply that a child lacks an identity for that period and only starts to exist as an individual when he is named. That’s absurd wouldn’t you say?
This would be a good time to stop defining yourself by your name, profession, marital status, interests, et cetera. These things are not unique to you and are external characterizations which do not define the very core of your existence.
For lack of a more dramatic way to introduce this concept, I’ll just say it. The real answer to the question lies in your purpose. Your purpose is your real identity. It is that simple yet very profound and i will try to explain. Essentially, if you do not know why you were put on this earth, you cannot answer the identity question even if you tried.
There is so much to say in explaining this concept however let’s stick to the broad strokes as it cannot be contained in one volume. The essentials are these:
God has a specific assignment for you which was established before you were ever born. It is quite accurate to say that the only reason you were born is because of this purpose. It is specific to you and it does not change. It was predetermined. It is clear from the Bible that what we came for was settled before we were actually conceived. Therefore, your purpose is exclusively what makes you exist.
Next to establish is that everything about you was designed to help you in the fulfillment of that purpose. Your birthplace, experiences, your talents, personality traits, idiosyncrasies, strengths, weaknesses, physical attributes, mental capacity, temperament, and everything else is designed to support that purpose. You were basically customized to be as efficient and effective as possible for this purpose. As I explained in an earlier post, we are all highly unique; we have unique DNAs, fingerprints, voices, ears, retinas, facial structures, etc. Our singularity is definite and amazing.
Just like a car with many details and buttons or specifications. Everything is meant to help the car perform its purpose which is to transport people from one place to the other conveniently. Therefore a car cannot define itself in this way: I am red in color with 560horse power and named Mercedes. I was built in a factory in Western Ontario. The real answer to the identity question is, ‘it is a machine that transports people from place to place.’ That’s what all cars have in common and cannot be changed. Only difference is human beings are not cars and our purposes differ from individual to individual.
Identity is embedded in purpose. For example, John was clear about his identity and it was embedded in his purpose which expectedly was predetermined.
19 This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” 20 He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?”[i] “No.” 22 “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!’” – John 1:19-23 (NKJV)
Likewise, Jesus’ identity was defined by His purpose and not his name or his profession as a carpenter. Simon said in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In another place, Jesus again defined Himself by His purpose as the way, the truth and the life.
Before you chose a profession and formed habits or before you were given a name, you are here first for a reason. That reason lies at the core of your identity and is the bedrock of all that you are. Because this is so constant, an awareness your identity of it stabilizes you. This stability is needed in our chaotic world.
Are you clear about your purpose? A great man once said, when the purpose of a thing is unknown, abuse is inevitable. It encapsulates all about you and must not only be discovered but also fulfilled before you die. The most important journey you will ever embark on is one of self discovery. Now I dare to ask – do you really know who you are? If you are still unclear about your purpose, the core of your identity is yet to be revealed. Shalom.
PS: Kindly share this post with everyone you know as part of your contribution to solving the identity crisis that plagues mankind. How much better our world will be if we all knew why we were here and were secure enough in it… whatever it is. Lets get this viral on social media and all platforms at our disposal. I appreciate you.