Updated: Dec 2, 2019
One of my favourite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 139 where King David talks about how intimately God knows us. As often as I can, I read it and meditate on the thoughts that he shares. To imagine that we have a God who is so intricately involved in our lives is rather humbling. God knows us so well that He knows our thoughts before we even think them, and He knows where we are at every moment of every day.
All of that is wonderful, yet the verses that really get me in the heart are verses thirteen to sixteen, where he expounds on how God watched over us as our bodies were being formed in our mothers’ womb. Can you imagine a God who cares so much about you that he supervised your growth as a foetus? David says in verse sixteen, “Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16 NLT).
As a writer, this verse speaks volumes to me because before my plays get on stage, or my films get on screen, I would have already written the parts for the characters and developed their identity profiles. So the actors and actresses in the finished play or film have simply stepped into roles that I created for them. So it is with humanity. Each of us are acting in a role in the play called LIFE on the stage of the world in the theatre of the Universe.
You were created before you were born. You were created with a purpose. Your creation is greater than your birth. Our purpose is bigger than life. As a matter of fact, it’s because of purpose that life exists therefore a life lived without purpose is lived in vain. You will never figure out your life’s purpose until you know yourself, because your identity is integral to fulfilling your purpose, and has a great impact on your destiny.
What is the difference between purpose and destiny? Purpose speaks of the reason for which a thing was created, while destiny is the path you choose in life in order to fulfill your purpose. Who or what you identify with will help to determine purpose and destiny. Who you identify with affects your nature. Your nature determines your limitations, i.e. it defines what you can or cannot do. What is your nature? Who do you identify with?
This past Saturday I was at a seminar where I sat on a panel with five beautiful ladies as we discussed with a group, the effects of separation and divorce on a family. Among the many ideas that we talked about, was the importance of truly knowing oneself before engaging in a relationship. When we don’t know ourselves it leaves us open to accepting anything that is thrown at us, and makes us susceptible to abuse. I don’t know if it originated with him, but I like this quote from Pastor Bobby Somers, “When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.” Identity must be established before embarking on any significant venture in life. Be, before you do.
A few months ago I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix, where the spaceship experienced an anomaly that erased the crew’s memory and chronologically reversed their aging process. They all reverted to being children with no knowledge of their identity. As the story progressed they struggled to figure out who among them was the leader. Infant Captain Picard said something profound during their discussion. He said, “Determining leadership is not important right now. We need to find out who we are…”
This tells me that the foundation of identity has to be intact in order for anything else about us as humans to work or function properly. You cannot lead effectively until you know who you are. That Star Trek episode brought out some valuable lessons. As the crew struggled to figure out their identities, they fought constantly about which of them should be the leader. When you don’t know who you are you will fight and compete with others for positions. Knowing your purpose comes with knowing yourself, and when you know both you never compete with anyone for anything, or compare yourself to them.
Ironically, the true leader of the crew, Captain Picard, is the one who put things into perspective by encouraging them to first find out who they are before determining leadership. This also shows that leadership is demonstrated or becomes evident during a crisis. True leaders never fight to be in the forefront. They just BE themselves and leadership flows out.
Before we push to lead anyone we should first learn to lead ourselves. You do that by learning who you are: what are your core values, your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, why do you make the choices that you make, and so on. Knowing these different facets of who you are will bring out your uniqueness, and when you find your uniqueness, you find your leadership. Take time to figure out who you are. Your identity is the bedrock of your success. Who or what do you identify with?