Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?
When introducing yourself, where do you start? What is it that you think people should know about you? How would others introduce you?
Recently when introducing myself I thought it would be best to start with my name, but even that simple thing became more complicated than I had imagined!
Nicola, Nikki, Nik, Nor, Nix, Mum and Babe (I never like that one much, but it is spoken with love so I accept it now after 15 years) these are the names that I answer to, people will often ask me which I prefer to be called, in all honesty I am not sure! It sounds strange, but each of those names spoken by different people, reaches, touches, and connects with me differently.
Often the names people call us by are linked with a role or context and speaks (sometimes quietly) about the relationship between individuals. I have heard it said that the most beautiful word to hear spoken is your name, I believe this to be true. The use of our name can also speak to us about the state of our relationship with people. I know that if my parents call me Nicola, this will unnerve me as I know this means that I probably won’t like the next part of the sentence, likewise with my own children, I will use their full names when necessary to make sure they really listen! I am sure many of you can relate to that too.
The next part of the introduction had me stumped and unsure of what to say. We each have so many labels, but what ones do we want to draw attention to, what ones would we prefer to hide? Do we use our personal or relationship labels such as Wife, daughter, Mother, Sister, friend or do we use our status labels, Christian, Children and families worker, Parent governor etc or a mixture of both? What do we want to play down, and what do we want to draw attention to?
As the introductions came in from the other’s in the group, I found myself really pondering identity and the power of a name. So often the names and labels we carry, and wear can have a massive impact on our thoughts and behaviours, some of these are positive and some can cause vast damage. Think about the things that we tell ourselves, sometimes these can be harsh and hurtful, we would possibly never speak to someone else in that way, especially someone we love, yet we say them to ourselves, but are these things true and what does God have to say about this?
For many of us living in these strange times our roles and lives have changed suddenly, we may have found that some of those things we use to identify ourselves are changed or maybe no longer there. Our lives and the way we live has tipped and shifted and it may have left us with questions about our identity, here are a few that I have heard recently:
Who am I? or Who am I becoming?
What am I doing?
Where should I be?
Am I doing enough?
Where am I going?
Where is God in all of this?
Insert your own questions here!
I would like to use this week to explore identity together, to dive in and find out what scripture says about who we are and see what this means for us in our own lives and community.
Try and take a few moments today to write down all the names you are (or have been) known by, and all the labels too. Those words, positions, names that can be used to tell the world something about who you are or who you have been, or maybe even who you hope to be.
I leave you today with Lauren Daigle and her beautiful song-You say