Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 (NIV)
Have you ever struggled with the question…. Who am I?
This was a key theme and question in the recent movie, Overcomer. If you have not yet seen it, I encourage you to do so, it’s a powerful film.
Imagine for a moment your life streaming along. A nice home in a well-groomed neighborhood. You and your spouse working your dream jobs. You and your children are thriving in your endeavors and life is good! Suddenly, without a moment’s notice, your job is threatened, leaving you and your family insecure about the future. Questions and thoughts rage through your mind. How are you going to pay the mortgage? The dream job you loved and identified you as a great success, is now at risk. If your job and title are removed, what are people going to think? Will you be perceived as a failure? This scenario as uncomfortable as it may sound, has probably been a true reality to many, perhaps even you. The main character in Overcomer understood this scenario quite well. A respected and successful high school basketball coach, now relegated to a coach of one, a cross country runner. Worst yet, his one athlete was far from a rising star!
Who was this well-respected man now that his job and comforts of life were jeopardized, and his influence and status lessened? It was clear the coach’s identity was at risk. He struggled when asked the question, “Who Are You”? This became the conflict that raged throughout the entire movie. Not only with the coach, but also with the novice cross country runner. This young girl was fed a surge of lies about her biological father, prompting her to lose hope in herself and her bright future.
We cling to the labels that identify us; A mom, wife, teacher, business woman, student, a child from an abusive environment. Our labels can define us like our designer labeled jeans. They provide a sense of worth and value to our lives. When they are torn apart, removed, jeopardized, it can pose an arduous question. Who Am I?
Have you been here before, asking yourself the same question? I agree It’s an uncomfortable place because it challenges our identity! The culprit of our crisis is defining ourselves by the wrong things. How about if we focus on WHY we do, as opposed to WHAT we do?
As the movie progressed, the coach began to see the truth in his why. He changed the scope of this young girl’s future. He implored hope where hope was lost. He shut out the lies and set her soul free. Sure, he could have continued striving for a bigger basketball team with champion players, winning conference titles, and increasing his status . Audience viewers would have left the theater applauding his great success, but instead, audience viewers left with tears in their eyes (even my husband who doesn’t cry) and a motivation to make a difference. His” Why” became a greater force than his “What”.
The truth of our WHY will always set us free from the trap of our WHAT. If you’re wrestling with the question “Who Am I”, can you pause for a moment and analyze your Why instead of your What. Your Why will become your truth, your motivator, your sustainer, even when your identity gets threatened and challenged.
Dear God, please help us to remember how important the “why” overrides the “what”. Keep our identity strong by reminding us how we make a difference rather than how our titles, positions, and achievements define who we are.