Who am I? What a question!
I’ve been pondering this a lot recently. As a chronic over thinker I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped asking myself this, but this year it’s taken on a whole new meaning for me.
A few years ago, I started to hear the phrase “create the life you want.” It was one of those “inspirational” phrases that was doing the rounds on social media and it sucked me right in.
Someone other than myself
As a teenager I spent many years wanting to be someone other than myself; someone prettier and smarter and a bit less awkward, someone who had it together.
But once I left school, went to university, made new friends and began to travel, I started to see myself and my life differently. In high school I had felt very much like there was a narrowly defined set of expectations for everything. What to wear, where to go, what to like and how to act. In hindsight this was probably more self-imposed than anything, but at the time it seemed very real.
Then I graduated and suddenly I didn’t have to do what was expected anymore. The rules had disappeared and whole new world opened up. As the world got bigger, the narrow niche of what was ‘cool’ got lost in whole new circles of people, subcultures and communities. So, I started to create the life that I wanted.
Embracing my inner nerd
I learnt that I was an introvert and I started to value time alone, instead of feeling like I always needed to be out with friends. I embraced my inner nerd and stopped hiding that I love Star Wars, anime and science fiction and fantasy novels. I made a conscious effort to learn (or at least have a go) at things I’m genuinely interested in like pottery and drawing. I sought God out and built a relationship where despite my questions and confusion, I know that I am loved.
I felt like I truly knew myself better than ever.
Then earlier this year, as I was struggling with a few things in my life and asking God for answers, he spoke to me and told me that I needed to learn who I am. So, I began to rethink who I was all over again.
I have a unique personality, interests, community, job and relationships. But who am I outside of these things? If everything came crashing down around me . . . what would be left?
Who we are versus what we do
As someone who is terrified of failure, (often to the point of not doing anything at all, because that seems better than doing something and it is ending in disaster), it’s a scary prospect.
I was really inspired last week by a post, “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary” put up on Facebook. Sometimes controversial but always honest, Jamie shared last week that after decades of marriage she’s getting a divorce. It was gracious and sad, but it was her follow up post that struck a chord for me. She wrote the following:
“God loves you more.
God loves you more than your marriage.
God loves you more than your ministry.
God loves you more than your mission.
God loves you more than your most important role.”
What a beautiful reminder.
God loves me more.
If I go my own way and make a mess of my life, God still loves me! If I take what God asks me to do, and make a mess of it, God still loves me! God is far more interested in who we are to him than in what we do for him. At the very core, my identity is found in him.
God used my insecurities about my life to show me that it’s what remains when those things are gone that truly matter.
Anna hails from Australia but lives and works in South East Asia. She enjoys travel, good coffee and getting to hang out with awesome people from around the world.