"Who Am I?" - 3 Ways to Answer So You Can Live with Purpose

Renee Bethel

Renee Bethel

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Feb 22, 2023
"Who Am I?" - 3 Ways to Answer So You Can Live with Purpose

As a child of God, your purpose is to know God and to make Him known to others. How you do that will be unique to who God created you to be...

Who am I? It's a question about identity that most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. When we are asked to introduce ourselves, we quickly state our names and the jobs that we do or the roles that we fill in other people’s lives. “I’m Jayne Smith, and I’m the Project Manager at XYZ Corporation,” or “I’m Tracy Jones, and I’m Rebecca’s mom.” 

While our usual, quick answers when introducing ourselves don’t merit a detailed description of our identity, sadly, most of us never come back to the question of “Who am I?” in order to really answer it for ourselves. Most of us are content with not going deeper than our surface-level answers.

In our fast-paced world, we are consumed with the things we do. Doing keeps us from thinking. Many things we do are done on autopilot with little need for thinking or being fully present. Most of us are too busy to stop and just be—to notice what’s going on inside ourselves or to ask ourselves what makes us respond to certain situations or people the way we do.

What’s interesting is that most of us think we know ourselves. Psychologist Tasha Eurick’s research refutes this and shows that 95% of people think they are self-aware, but in actuality, the number is only about 12-15%. Self-awareness includes how you see yourself, your identity, and also your personality. Once we discover who we are and understand who God created us to be, we have insight into our purpose. 

Let’s look at three ways to answer the question, “Who am I?” so you can live with purpose:

1. Take Ownership of Your Identity in Christ

Identity is not based on what we do but on whose we are. Who we are in Christ is at the core of our identity as Christians. According to the Bible, every human being is an image bearer of our Creator, God (Genesis 1:27). When this title of imago Dei (image of God) was given to us, we had not done anything to contribute to the world. There was no doing on our part.

Pastor AJ Sherrill, author of The Enneagram for Spiritual Formation states that “This means the ground of identity is hardwired as being, not doing - which makes me think the world we live in might be messed up, since that contradicts the societal script we were given from childhood.”

Haven’t you seen and heard this played out with children? Adults refer to children as, “She’s an A student,” or “Abbey is very creative.” When we think about identity, our first response, even with children, is focused on what we do, and this pattern continues into adulthood. 

Sherrill goes on to say, “The New Testament affirms the Genesis declaration but says it in a different way. To be made in God’s image is to be agapetos - beloved.” He further references the Bible story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River: “Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my son, whom I love (agapetos); with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:10-11)

“And the title of ‘beloved’ is given to him (Jesus) before he preaches any sermons, calls any disciples, or performs consistent miracles throughout Judea. In other words, God gives him this name not as a result of getting anything done but because it is the original intent of the human condition, imago Dei,” states AJ Sherrill.

As children of God, we are beloved because we are made in His image. Our identity comes from what God gave us. As children of God, He gave us a new heart and a new set of desires. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17

Sherrill reminds us that “Before we achieve anything, we receive everything. Our identity is not earned, but given,” and that “we must always resist the temptation to reduce identity to anything less than the image of God.”

Taking ownership of your identity in Christ is the first step in learning who God created you to be.

2. Uncover the Layers of Your Personality

Personality refers to our differences in the way we think, feel, and act, and it shows up in the way we interact with others. For example, if you’ve ever visited a doctor you felt did not have a good bedside manner, this means that you did not care for the doctor’s personality. Or have you ever just not clicked with someone? Although you may not have put words to it at the time, there was a personality conflict. 

Our personalities are the strategies we use to protect ourselves and meet our desires. Just like we each have unique fingerprints, we each have unique personalities. 

While there are many personality tests available, most of them focus on external behaviors. They don’t give you the tools necessary to transform your inner self to line up with your identity as God’s beloved child as the Enneagram does. 

The Enneagram is a personality test that reveals why you think, feel, and act the way you do—what motivates you to think, feel, and act. It shows nine ways of seeing the world or nine perspectives. 

The Enneagram also shows us our nine personality strategies (1- perfectionism, 2-helping, 3-achieving, 4-creating, 5-thinking, 6-preparing, 7-planning, 8-protecting, or 9-withdrawing). We use these strategies to protect ourselves from our core fear and our core weakness to get our core desire and longing met. 

There are many layers to personality that help us understand how we are wired, as well as how to interact with others. The Enneagram is a great personality tool to help you understand your inner world in order to move forward with purpose.

Resource: Find Your Enneagram Type

3. Discover Who You Are in Your Being and Your Doing

Needs are conditions, things, and feelings that you must have to be minimally satisfied in your life. Your core needs reflect who you are in your being. When you know what your needs are, it can bring insight and understanding into why you react in certain ways.

For example, if you have a need for peace, it can show up as needing quietness, stillness, serenity, or balance. It can explain why you enjoy riding in the car quietly. 

If your needs are not being met, you may feel like something is off and have an underlying feeling of frustration. Your minimal needs must often be met before you can get on with doing things you value.

Values are what’s important to you in the way you live and work. Your core values reflect your doing. When you know what your values are, you can use this information to make decisions about the things you do and the things you don’t do. 

For example, if you have a value of teaching, it may show up in the things you do, such as instructing, training, educating, or illuminating others on a certain topic or issue. There are so many unique ways that teaching can be done based on how God created and wired you.

It’s important to remember that just because you're doing a certain thing, it does not mean that it fits within your values. Overall, you tend to be more energized and motivated when you are doing things that are in alignment with your values.

Resource: Needs and Values Assessment

Understanding how God created you and wired you is not something that you automatically learn. It takes intentionality on your part to regularly remind yourself of your identity as God’s beloved child, along with uncovering the layers of your personality and discovering your needs and values.

When you understand yourself better and who you are in your being, you are more productive, motivated, and fulfilled in your doing—the jobs that you do and the roles that you fill.

God has a purpose for your life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

As a child of God, your purpose is to know God and to make Him known to others. How you do that will be unique to who God created you to be and to your circumstances. This is the fun part where you get to explore what that looks like for you. 

Photo Credit: ©Ben White/Unsplash

Renee Bethel, author of  Finding Me: A Woman’s Guide to Learning More About Herself is a Professional Christian Life Coach and a Certified Gospel Centered Enneagram Coach. She helps Christian Female Entrepreneurs and Leaders do their own inner work so they are equipped for building relationships and impact within the Body of Christ. Join her free Facebook community.