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  • Writer's pictureJohn Whitehead

Who Are You?

Whenever I am involved in coaching or working with people in leadership roles in both the church and business, I like to ask the question, “who are you?” This has lead to some interesting responses.

There are those who think it is a ridiculous question and there are those who simply do not understand what they are being asked.

Many people will answer the question by telling me what they do. The problem here is what you do is not who you are. What you do is your profession or position in life. Who you are has to do with your identity and who you are is not what you do.

The reason this question is important is because we have all been shaped by our experiences. These experiences play a major role in determining who we become. Here is where it becomes difficult for some. It is difficult because their experiences may have scarred them, and they may not wish to revisit those experiences.

In my own life, it wasn’t until I was 52 years old that I was challenged to consider who I was. It was a challenge because I had spent a lifetime overachieving at everything I have tried to do.

My goal was, is and has always been a simple one, it is to be the best I can be at whatever I do. This has driven me to succeed at a high level and caused me to work hard, never settling for less, always pushing for more.

In its essence this has not been a bad thing, but contentment and rest have always eluded me.

The question is why?

Well, in my search to find out who I am, I discovered being given up for adoption when I was twelve years old by my father had caused me to feel worthless and devalued. This feeling led me to pursue life with vengeance for the sole purpose of showing others I had value. I was determined to make someone proud of me.

Once I came to this realization, I was able to understand who I am and why I am the way I am. Now I know now why I need to be the best I can be. I understand now when my wife asks me a question, she is not questioning my ability, knowledge, or self-worth. She is simply asking a question.

The only way to answer the question “who are you” is to look behind you and see where you have been and what you have been through. When you do, you will become self-aware, which will lead you to being self-assured. From here, you will begin to understand not only who you are, but why you are the way you are.

The road to knowing who we are is one we must all travel. When you do, I believe, you will see as I have. Your value is not in what someone did or said about you. Your value is simply found in who you are.

So, “who are you?”

I believe, we are all children of God. Created on purpose for a purpose. Your value is intrinsic, and no one can ever take that from you.

In my road to self-discovery, I found I had wanted someone to be proud of me my whole life. What I learned was my Heavenly Father is not only proud of me, but He has always loved me just for who I am!

1 John 3:1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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