Who are you, really?
I am a child of God.
I am a woman, a mother, a sister, a wife, a friend, a colleague. I am many things to many people.
Okay, I understand that. But who are you really?
I don’t understand. I already answered your question.
Who are you inside yourself?
I am just a girl. I am who I have always been. I mean, I feel the same way I felt when I started feeling, which is an age I can’t remember. Inside me, I am who I was and always have been.
Hmm. Expand that. Ask yourself, ‘Who am I?’
Okay. I am a quiet, reserved, person. I am an introvert.
Who are you really? Inside.
I am who I am. I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.
Think now. Who are you?
I am me. I can’t define myself. What do you expect me to say?
I’m not expecting anything. I’m just asking about who you are. I am neutral.
No, you’re not. Everybody expects me to be somebody. A good mother, a good sister, a good friend and so on.
I’m not expecting anything. I just want to know who you are. If you tell me who you are, it prevents me from assuming who you are. Or putting you under pressure to be who you are not. So, who are you?
I am a writer, a poet, a singer sometimes, a moody person, a joyful person, a witty person. I have been all these at different times. I don’t know who I am currently though.
Ah! We are making progress. So, think about it. Who are you now?
I am a retiree, a volunteer worker in church, a stay at home Mum.
Okay. Are you what you do? Does your work define you?
Not really. But it contributes to who I am. I don’t know what I want to be in the future. When I think about it, I kind of get discouraged, because some of the things I want to do, I don’t know if it’s allowed for people my age. I am getting old now, I guess. That is part of who I am currently.
Explore that further. How does age affect who you are currently?
I am young inside. But I am old on the outside. So when I have ideas about some things I would like to do, I get discouraged when I am reminded that I am old.
Age is in the mind.
Yes, I know. I am not old in my mind. I just feel limited somehow. My aspirations are ‘youngish’!
Do these aspirations define you?
No. They are just aspirations. I don’t even dwell on them. I just think about what else I could be doing now, seeing that I have time on my hands. And you know, idle hands are not good for anyone.
Yes. So, in spite of the aspirations, how does age affect you? Who are you with or without age? Does age define you?
My age is external. My body tells me my age. When I look in the mirror, I see my age. But that is not who I am inside. Inside me, I am that girl who used to climb guava trees and burn dry leaves to get white smoke in my father’s compound. I am still young inside. In fact, I’ve not aged at all.
My age doesn’t define me. In fact, if I am well rested, I don’t remember my age until others call my attention to it. Like the young people around me. They remind me I am old, when I try to play with them and they rebuff me. This society doesn’t like old people. I feel the society rejects old people. Rather than try to learn what age and wisdom can give, they tell you to go hide somewhere and die. Your time has passed. Leave the stage for the young people. As if they too won’t grow old. We all grow older every single day. Their own time will come.
Are you bitter about old age?
No, I’m not. Do I sound bitter? I promised myself a long time ago, that I will not be that old, bitter woman. I intend to embrace old age. I am embracing old age with grace. I don’t mind being old or ageing. I just want to be allowed to enjoy it and share it with younger people. Old age brings some wisdom. I am discovering that now, and I like that.
Okay. So who are you in old age?
I am wiser. I am more subdued. I can think now. I have lots of time to think. I look back and I see some mistakes I made. There are a few regrets, but I am not dwelling on them. I have peace. I feel safe. If there’s opportunity to do more with my life, I will. But I won’t push for it. However, I will prepare for it, so that if it happens, fine. If it doesn’t, I will still be fine.
Are you giving up already? You speak as if you’re 80 years old.
No, I’m far from 80, but I don’t want to think that far. Not everybody lives to be 80, you know.
So what is your sign off age?
I don’t know. I had signed myself off many times before. I never thought I would live to be 30. I was surprised to see 40. So now, I just let it be. God knows when.
You need to be motivated to live, you know. You shouldn’t write yourself off.
I am not writing myself off. Just facing reality. I need to do that, to be sure that I am well prepared for a future that may or may not come. The most important thing is that I have eternal life. So, like Paul said, whether I am present in the body or absent, I am with the Lord.
Well said. Are you preparing for death then?
No. I am already prepared for death. No one knows when. And death is never about age. I don’t dwell on it. I am ready whenever. I am in Christ. What I am preparing for is my expectation of life. I should not expect that I will be treated as a young person anymore. For example, how many companies are willing to employ someone my age nowadays? Very few. So, I shouldn’t fool myself into thinking I could get a job. Rather, I should look at the possibilities of creating a job for myself. That’s what I am talking about.
Okay. I have learned a lot about you, but you still haven’t told me who you are. Let me give you a hint. You told me that you are a child of God. So, who does God say you are?
Yes, I am a child of God. God says I am His. I belong to Him and because of that, I have an identity as the child of God and a member of His family. And that comes with many benefits.
I am chosen and loved by God. He is my Father. He made a king and a priest unto Him. So, like the Bible says, I am a royal priest, a chosen one, a holy person. I am salt of the earth and light of the world. I am God’s masterpiece, created for good works. I am a soldier. I am a city set on a hill that cannot be hid. I am a blessed one. I am loved by God.
Wow! That is a lot. So how does that impact your life?
Who I am in God has a major impact on who I am in daily life. Because I am a child of God, I can rely on Him to guide me through life. So I am never alone. Because of that fact, I have confidence and peace. I rest in that knowledge and I am better equipped to handle the challenges of life. I know I can always call on Him and He will answer me, so my stress level is minimal. Once I sense I am getting stressed and overwhelmed, I run to Him.
So this makes you a better person?
This makes me the best I could ever be. Without God, I would be a terrible person. God brings out the best in me. He helps me relate with people in a better way. People can see the good part of me more often than the bad part. But I must confess, I am still work in progress. I am however on the right path, and making progress.
So, are you happy with who you are?
Oh, Yes, I am. When I put God in the picture, I am. When I look at my life through the eyes of God, I am. He loves me so completely. He forgives me and helps me along the way. He helps me even when I make mistakes and don’t follow His leading as I should. As long as I repent, He restores me to Himself. I wouldn’t want to live without Him.
So, if I go back to my original question, ‘Who are you really?’ what would you say?
I am me, created uniquely by God to fulfill His purpose for my life. I have been and I still am, many things to many people. Within me, I am a quiet observer, a thinker, a reader, a writer, a mother, sister, friend, colleague, daughter and wife. There are many sides to me and although I may not like every side, I own every side and I am working with God on every area of my life, to fulfill everything that is written in His books concerning me. I am a beloved child of God and I love Him with my whole heart. Can I ask you a question?
Yes, please go ahead.
Who are you, really?