How can the question “who am I” be answered? How does someone go about defining herself? Are there certain off-limit facts, like what she does for a living or what she enjoys doing in her free time? After all, these statements more specifically answer “what do you do?”
At this time of great change in my life, I find myself silently wondering “who am I,” which leads to “What does that mean,” and “What is my purpose?” These are questions everyone must at some point ask herself, though for many they are easy enough to slap down a pat-answer and let them be buried somewhere in the deep abyss of the human mind. Personally, I’ve never really struggled with these kinds of questions until the past year or two. My younger self was very sure and confident in my beliefs. Now, as life has given me much more to consider, I struggle with many of these seemingly basic questions. Perhaps my thinking down this lane was prompted by the little “write a short description of yourself” boxes that plague me on all my social media sites. I’m not exactly sure why Pinterest World needs to know how I would define myself in words, because my pins already show a pretty accurate story: I’m a DIYer grammar freak who is dreaming of babies, pretty rooms in my house, and an endless amount of sweets.)
After trying to quickly come up with something witty for my Twitter page (and let’s be real here, scarcasm is much more my forte). I decided to go with the simple one-worders: Believer. Wife. Traveler. Lover of Life. I chose that order because I felt it reflected my values on a subtle-but-still-unmissable level.
This definition, though sweet and short (just like I am!), is not really an acceptable answer to the question “who am I?” Or is it? Why do I feel the pressure to define myself in the first place? On one hand, I feel that allowing someone to give you a definition for themselves is wrong. Just because someone says she is a community activist does not mean she is a community activist in the same way you might be if you defined yourself as one. This is almost like saying “you are too dumb to figure out for yourself who I am.” In a world that firmly believes “actions speak louder than words,” a person’s own definition of herself could easily lead to a skewed vision of her for outsiders.
However, listening to a person describe herself can reveal quite a bit about her that you might never know otherwise. If a woman says she is a community activist, but has really only volunteered once in the past four years, perhaps her heart is revealing where it wants to be. Are these wishes and dreams allowed to be part of one’s identity?
I think I have a hard time describing myself because the seemingly innocent question develops into such a slippery slope. So many sub-questions can be included vehemently denied , like “what do you do for a living?” After finally defining herself, a woman trying to describe herself will look down and want to know what she’s accomplished already and what her 5, 10, and 30-year plans are.
Goals are good, very good, in fact. They help give us direction in life and can even help define us as we journey towards and through those goals. If you have no direction in life, how could you possibly get to where you want to be?
But back to self-definition; how do I define who I am? First, I must look at my definition of what defines a person (confusing enough?). As I mentioned, how do I decide what gets to be included or not? Am I even allowed to decide that? After much thought, I think I can say that it all should be included. After all, we are a sum of our past, present, and future, and all that that entails.
So, who am I?
I am a broken woman and I have heard the call of the King of Kings, and I strive to answer it every day. Every day I am reminded of my human weaknesses and my need for a Savior.
I am wife to a broken man who guards my heart in his soft hands.
I try to love people as my Redeemer has loved me, because in a world filled with so much darkness we all need to feel love.
I am a mother hen to all those around me, trying to make sure everyone is taken care of and has what he needs.
I see people’s struggles, and it touches me deeply because I know how much they must be hurting.
My heart belongs to Jesus, but scars from internal battles still remain. My hope is that one day they will be gone and I will be whole in Him once more.
I cannot understand everything I have seen or that I know.
I long to leave behind this predictable life and travel around the world with Will, seeing this glorious earth and meeting the amazing people God has created.
I realize how selfish I am, and it kills me.
One of my biggest fears is being forgotten when I’m gone; perhaps that is why I want to be a teacher. I want my influence to be passed down through generations of students who learn to love life-long education.
I know I was meant to be a mother. Through God’s grace and will I will someday have children to call my own, though really the Lord has simply entrusted a few of His children to me for a while.
I stand up for myself and others around me; I am angered at ignorance that produces hate.
What questions have got you thinking lately?