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IDENTITY – Who are You? Why are you Here?

Identity.

Who are you?

Why are you here?

I have found that one’s identity and one’s purpose are closely intertwined.

Since writing my first book, I have had the privilege of being interviewed severally. The question, ‘Who is Joyce Mwangi?’ is always the first question on set. I have previously fumbled over this question despite knowing very well it will be asked, for some reason it always gets me off guard.

Who do men say that I am?

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)

So on one of those days, Jesus asks His disciple THE question. Interestingly, unlike in most cases it is Jesus who asks THE identity question not the disciples asking Him. He asks the question in a two-fold manner:

  1. Who do people (others) say that I am?

This was the easy bit, as can be clearly seen from the answers. They came in fast and furious. Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.

See how easy it is to report about others. Imagine this conversation today:

Gals version

You are with your galfriends at the spa, salon or just lazing around on a Saturday afternoon after binge watching your favourite current series the previous night.

My friends, who do people say that I am?

Friend 1: “Heeee, nipoa umeleta hiyo story, wale madame wa salon wahepe. Hawakutakii”

Friend 2: “Niliskia receptionist akisema ati kuna msee anakuchimbia kwa department, be careful”

Friend 3: “Watu wa sale wankupenda, they say you don’t shout at them”

Friend 4: Huko juu nikama uko na sifa, wadosi wanapenda job yako”

Guys version

You are hanging out with your friends at an eatery, an eatery is a good place to ask such questions especially after everyone is full and now belching.

My friends, who do people say that I am?

Friend 1: “Watu wa mtaa husema we huwa unajidai sonkoree”

Friend 2: “Wasee wa base huku-like wanasema we ni wao”

Friend 3: “Wasee wa job wako na issue na wewe, kwanza watu wa accounts, wanasema hucheki na mtu”

Friend 4: “Niliskia mdoss akisema you are reliable, ule msee anaweza pewa promotion haraka sana”

Take 2

2. Who do you say that I am?

Now this is where the rubber meets the road. Imagine the immediate crest fallen faces. The disciples were happy to report about everyone else, but when the tide changed there was silence. Except you know who?

Mr. Peter himself – mbio mbio, mara hiyo hiyo

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”!

That is how I came to the conclusion that identity is part who you are and part why you are here.

“Messiah” is not a name but a job description, describing why Jesus was here on earth. He, Jesus, had come to seek and save that which was lost. His purpose was reconciliation, to reconcile man to God; as Saviour during His first coming and as ruling and reigning King in His second coming.

Then of course, Jesus is the Son of the Living God; that is who He is – constant, continuously.

back to our present day conversations

Gals version

And who do you say that I am?

Friends 1,2,3,4 – “Wachanga jokes, hiyo ni swali ya aina gani?”

Friends 1,2,3,4 – Si, unajua tu. We ni GFF

Guys Version

And who do you say that I am?

Friends 1,2,3,4 – “Wachanga za ovyo msee, hiyo ni maswali gani unauliza sasa?”

Friends 1,2,3,4 – “kwani unakufa na husemi?”

Friends 1,2,3,4 – “We ni wetu”, “We ni ule msee, si unajua tu”

Who are you? Why are you here?

Unlike Jesus, who knew who He was and why He was here it is very tricky for us mere mortal human to peg the definition of our identity on who others and who our friends say that we are. Because more often than not their definition is limited and bound to their limited knowledge and interaction with you.

Your identity cannot be pegged on people’s opinion or thinking, that is very fluid as well know by now. Otherwise, you will end up boot-licking left right and center, cowing down, wasting your God given resources (time, money, energy etc) just so to fit into the definition of others. It can also work in reverse, you can spend your entire lifetime trying to prove you are not who people say or think you are. What a wasted way to spend the few breathes we have this side of eternity. We were created for bigger and better, I am convinced; we are not just here to try and please people or compete with the Joneses. And identity is at the center of it all; whether you spend your life going round in circles or achieving purpose.

So where do you peg your identity: who you are and why you are here?

My conclusion is to peg both on God’s definition. Because His definition is standard, not fluid, doesn’t change and is entirely dependent on His faithfulness (for those who have chosen to put their faith in Him).

And this is what I will confidently say is my identity:

Who is Joyce Mwangi?

Joyce Mwangi is a child of God, a teacher.

My identity it tied to my being adopted into the family of God through the fulfillment of John 1:12-13

 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.  

And my purpose is to teach. Yep! So liberating to finally name this.

I teach values as a Stay at Home Mum (SAHM), as a Blogger, as a Speaker, as a Mentor and as an Author. This is so liberating.

This just makes my life so much easier, determines what I do and don’t do, how I spend the resources God entrusted me with, my friends and I could go on and on.

So over to you?

Who are you? And why are you here?

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