I have asked this question to myself millions of times within the last three months. Who am I?
I’ve asked this question multiple ways.
Who am I to counsel a married couple, when I am divorced?
Who am I to speak on financial stewardship, when I struggle with budgeting?
Who am I to write, when no one cares what I have to say?
Who am I to tell others, “You can do it,” when I’m not sure if I can do it myself?
Who am I? I’m glad you asked. See I’ve been on a journey of rediscovering exactly who I am since separating and divorcing five years ago.
I hadn’t really noticed that I had forgotten who I was. Separation and divorce with two young children is quite traumatic. The first few months, even the first two years, can be merely survival. I saw divorce as failure. I had failed my sons by depriving them of growing up in a home with their mom and dad. I had failed God, because isn’t he the one who says that you can win an unbelieving spouse by him witnessing your life? So I’ve spent the last five years grieving the loss of the dream of marriage, but I also discovered that I had no clue who I had become and who God had created me to be.
Divorce was only one of many things that have happened in my life to make me question who I am. There are many things life brings that often make us all ask that question.
The awesome thing about this question is that I know the person who has the answer. Actually he is the Creator of us all. He knows us all too well. He tells us in Psalm 139:13 that He created our innermost being and that He knit us in our mother’s womb. He tells the prophet Jeremiah in Chapter 1:5 that he knew him before he was born. He had even ordained him to be a prophet before he was born.
I have discovered that, for me, the root of this question is the fear of being inadequate. Do I have what it takes to be who God says I am, to do what He asks? The prophet Jeremiah also felt that he was inadequate. In Jeremiah 1, he shares his struggle with believing he was called to prophesy to the nations. He tells God, “I am only a youth.” He was simply saying some of the same things I am saying: “I don’t have enough experience, no one knows me, I don’t have enough knowledge, there’s no way I am the one who’s supposed to do this.” But God in His own way tells Jeremiah, “Yes you are the one; you can do this. And you know why? because I AM, the Creator of all things, and I am going to be with you.” It’s the same thing he tells Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and even you and me.
It was not Abraham, Moses, David or Jesus’ gifts that made them who they were, but it was their commitment to allow God to use whatever they possessed that made them great. Jesus says in John 14:9-14 that He did nothing in His own authority, that everything the disciples had witnessed was because the Father was inside of Him. Jesus says that whoever believes in Him will do the same works that He had done. And He didn’t stop there; He said we would do even greater works than He had done because He was going to the Father.
So how does God use how I am designed or who I am?
The Lord speaks to me through illustration. He likened me to a musical instrument. An instrument can be defined as one used by another to accomplish a purpose or a device used for playing or producing music. There are many different types of instruments but they all fall into one of five categories: percussion, strings, woodwinds, brass and keyboard. Each musical instrument is designed for a specific sound. In order for sound to be produced by the instrument, there must be a musician. Now there are different levels of musicians, from amateur to masters. When a musician has mastered an instrument they produce a sound like no other. Now imagine an orchestra in which all the different types of instruments are being played by master musicians. They create a sound that has the power to move the soul!
Each of us is uniquely crafted with certain parts or gifts, much like an instrument. God showed me that I am the instrument and He is the master musician. When I allow Him to operate in me the way I am designed, it creates a sound that not only worships Him but also attracts others to His Kingdom. So when each of us allows God to use our gifts, it creates a powerful corporate sound. I believe it sounds like worship.
Feelings of inadequacy come when I am relying on my own strength to operate in my gifts and talents. John 15:5 says, “apart from me you can do nothing.” Discovering how you are designed and hearing God say, “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” (Philippians 4:13) eradicates the feelings of inadequacy. It completely relieves you of the pressure of relying on your own strength to sustain the use of your gift.
So I am who I am because that’s who God says I am. I have learned many things about the way I am designed.
There are many tools available to gain insight into who you are:
- Personality profiles, spiritual gifts assessments and skills assessments. They show patterns of how you think, how you learn, how you work, how you play.
- Spending time with yourself—reflecting through journaling is helpful.
- Talking to close friends and getting feedback from them is helpful.
- And last, there is nothing like spending quality time with God, hearing what He has to say about who you are. There is no better source of understanding for a product than its manufacturer.
In His own way, He has affirmed who He says I am. If you haven’t already done so, let me encourage you to take this journey of discovery. So who are you? You are who God says you are. Just like I am who He says I am!