Today’s Word: ‘Identity’ as in… who are you, really?

The small group meeting of “Thrivers” began with introductions. We went around the dinner table and introduced ourselves; everyone shared their name and what they did. It was the first glimpse into how we’re hard-wired to describe ourselves: “I’m a teacher.” “I’m a coach.” “I’m an artist.” “I’m a musician.” “I’m a writer.” “I’m a marketer.” “I’m a reporter.” “I’m a story teller.” “I’m a mom.” “I’m a pastor.” “I’m a software specialist.” “I work at …” “I do this, that and the other stuff too.”

It struck me that these are things that we do. And when people ask us to tell us a little about ourselves, we often – mostly define ourselves by the things that we do.

But what if we were to respond to questions like “Who are you?“ and “What are you doing here?” by describing our essential identity? If I describe myself as an artist, I also want to be in touch with deeper questions: What, or even who was it that sparked my art to begin with? How did I come to be an artist? Is it because I’m so deeply relational and someone inspired me to follow that impulse? Or is it because I’ve been created to create and someone sparked that in me? What is it that creates the impulse for me to be an artist? Continuing in the same way, what is it that drives someone to be a coach or a mom? Is it the relational or teaching impulse? What is it that drives someone to absolutely love going to work as a marketer, or a software developer, a blogger, a pastor, a teacher? What is the impulse and where does it come from?

If I “press it down” all the way, what is the essential rhythm that makes all of this hum, and makes me thrive?

Some questions: How do you usually introduce yourself? What is the difference between what you do and who you are?

Try to describe yourself the way one of your best friends would describe you.


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