Who Am I, Really?
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
I don’t know if you have spent much time wondering why you exist? What is the point of it all and why am I even here? I have pondered on the mystery of life and why I am the person I am turning out to be. I know there are many factors that contribute to “who” we are, our upbringing, experiences, friends, hopes, dreams, frustrations and much more. I remember reading Psalm 139:13-16 a number of years ago and it caused me to pause,
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
This felt intimate and authentic, I grew desperate to be the “real” me and not a counterfeit. I did not know whether a creator would have me in mind and make someone like me. What use could I be? Often I am quite unforgiving of myself, I don’t actually need anyone shouting at me, I do a petty good job! In the unresolved dissatisfaction I realised that I would never make the basketball team due to my height, I wasn’t great at football and didn’t have that impressive eye for detail that others had around me. I could barely draw a cat in art class and also felt quite fearful and looked around at other bold people in despair as they took on breathtaking ventures.
I had spent years disliking myself, trying to be like others and comparing all my weaknesses with their strengths. It was painful. I never reached other peoples standards, I was not as gifted as them but then I realised something was wrong. If I gave myself to everything I was made for then things could work! Einstein suggests that, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” One school teacher said two interesting things to me. Firstly, that my brain was like lightning, one sudden flash then total darkness. Secondly, that any job that I would find success in would be one where I had to talk as I never shut up. Leading a church and representing Bible Society across England and Wales entails a lot of talking! So, I take point two - thanks Mr. Bennett! You were a prophet in disguise. As time elapsed I started to realise that my purpose for existing was to be me - fully human in the way God had foreseen it.
I don’t know if you have ever filled in a personality test, there are so many available these days. Please be honest with me, have you ever filled one in trying to be like who you wish you were as opposed to who you really are? You read a selection and pick the response you’d like to give, not the one that is truly you! Being at ease with how God has made us is important. If we can’t understand ourselves then it will be impossible to understand others. Someone once said that a lack of self awareness is like being a tone deaf musician, every one else hears the noise, except the musician. When we aren’t sure or aware of who we are we can also adopt other people’s dreams for our lives or even try and mimic them, I know I have tried often enough. It isn’t fun walking around with other people’s armour on. Remember David - he didn’t even take on the biggest enemy of his day with what the King could offer him. He kept it simple and took up the weapons he knew.
I have to constantly come back to the question - who am I, really? I have to listen to that voice that knitted me together in my mummy’s tummy. If I am fully Nigel Langford then I can make the difference I was designed to make. That is why our identity is often the greatest thing that we feel challenged about. If we truly understand this then anything becomes possible. Let me finish with a thought from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”