We asked ourselves that question last night at Fireside, which is a not-really lecture after dinner at college, and it was interesting to see how we defined ourselves. At least for me, it brought up a few thoughts that honestly, I’d rather had stayed far away from the front of my mind, but they got there when the lecturer asked me directly “Who are you?”
The immediate answers are simple – name, age, gender, hobbies, occupation. But that isn’t who we are. I think it reveals something about us, but here’s an alternate theory… Who you are has a lot to do with your story – your experiences.
The people I know most are the ones whose stories I know. The people who know me the best are the people who know my story, because they know what has shaped me more than anything else. Of course, when someone asks us who we are, we can’t really launch into our life story. That’s just offputting. But if we’re talking deep identity stuff I think we do need to delve into each others stories – the messy, the funny, the awkward, the sad. All of it.
At the centre of our stories should be Christ. If he isn’t, then we don’t have things in perspective. He is at the centre all the time, but the point I’m trying to make is that I often don’t place him at the centre of my story. He’s off to the side to come rescue me when bad things happen.
So, who am I?
I grew up in a regular family.
I suffer with depression.
I love to sing pop songs loudly with friends.
I consider church to be my home.
I hate conflict, but will engage in it if I ever have to… but that’s a rare moment, really.
But the cornerstone of all this – the thing that needs to define me – is love. God’s love as we see it in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. I mean that. I mean that because everything I do and say and think and feel means nothing if it isn’t a part of God’s bigger story, and if my small part of the story doesn’t reveal something about who God is to you, then you don’t know who I am because I’ve been stupid and haven’t told it right.
God is the centre of our stories. Christ is what makes our stories worth living and telling.
Who am I?
I am Tamara, and I am loved by the God who loves and is soveriegn over the entire world. And you can see that in my life, as he was there through the bad and there in the good. As he shaped me through both, to show himself more and more through me.
But please, don’t expect that answer if you ask who I am, because it’s a lot easier to give you my name and age…