Who Am I?
On his 75th birthday, a man asks himself: “who am I? Can I still study and learn, or go hiking, or am I too old?” The same day his son-in-law of almost 50 years was asking the same question, “who am I? Am I a small business person, a liberal giver (one who makes money so he can give it to others), a computer nerd or an inventor?” Aren’t these people too old to still be asking the question “who am I?” Don’t people figure that out in their teens or their twenties?
From your native cultural background, consider these “identity” questions. Do people in your native country ask the question, “who am I?” If not, what kinds of questions does your culture teach you to ask about yourself or about life? If people do ask the question “who am I?” – when do they ask this question; and what kinds of answers are they likely to receive?
How is identity established in your native culture? Is “who I am” a question of the city I was born in, the family I belong to, the company I work for, the schools I attended? Or perhaps “who I am” is related to my personality type, my native intelligence or physical characteristics. Do these tell me “who I am”? Those who develop skills such as jewelry-making, computer programming, car repair or singing may identify themselves with these skills. “I am a singer.” “I am a computer programmer.”
Do you define yourself and have control over who you are, or are you defined by things outside of your personal control?
Can you make yourself into a certain person, or do you simply discover the person you already are?
To what extent and in what way, are you either seeking who you are, or trying to create an identity for yourself? What methods do you use? What are your successes, or your discouragements?
The Bible is a book about all kinds of people, as well as God. The people were not black and white, good or bad, but usually a mixture. What are some answers to the question, “who are they?” from these descriptions of one family of kings of Israel:
Amaziah – “He did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.”
Uzziah – “He did right in the sight of the Lord as his father Amaziah had done. . . When he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly and became unfaithful to the Lord his God.”
Ahaz (Uzziah’s grandson) – “He did not do right in the sight of the Lord according to what his father (ancestor) David had done.”
Hezekiah (Ahaz’ son) – “He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father (ancestor) David had done”