In the movie, Anger Management” Jack Nicholson asks Adam Sandler’s character Dave,
“Who are you?”
Dave gives his resume.
Jack says, “That’s what you do, we want to know, ‘Who are you?”
Dave lists what he does in his spare time.
Jack says, That’s your hobbies, Who are you?”
Angry now, Dave replies, “I don’t know!”
This is a question I like to ask people in counseling to ponder. So often we are defined by our careers, our place in our family structure, our income, our color, our gender, our weaknesses, our strengths, our dreams, aspirations, or goals. But strip all of that away and you are left with…YOU.
I recently saw a client who was defined by his performances in life. As a child he received gifts, “Whatever I wanted” even a car for performing. He admitted his parents would “lower the bar” so he could easily perform the required tasks “So I could experience success.” But the client said he never really felt challenged. When he wouldn’t strive to accomplish the task, they lowered their expectations so he could receive the gift. He never had to work hard yet always received the reward. Now as an adult, married and with a young son, his marriage is on the rocks and he’s performing again. He’s surrounding himself with addiction groups, counsellors, accountability partners (25), and the church. His need for validation is driving him to seeking identity in the things, people, and commitments that are outside of himself, like layers of clothing all the while hiding himself underneath. Who he is, his personal identity, is so far from his grasp and hidden from his understanding that he doesn’t know who he truly is.
He will only find himself by removing the things that give him a false sense of self. Not everyone can do the work to “discover” who they truly are. Not everyone WANTS to know who they truly are, because they feel the facade (lie) is so much better. It’s like the 1960’s game show, “What’s my line.” Three people would try to stump a panel of volunteers who were asking them questions in order to pick who the real person was. Some people get so comfortable with the lies they don’t know the truth anymore. Unfortunately, in relationships, they must continue the deception to maintain the lie or the relationship falls apart when the other discovers there is no honesty about it.
In The Bible, Jesus went into the desert to be alone for 40 days. He left everything behind, including food and water, and was stripped of everything externally that could have possibly defined him. When Satin tempted him three times with lies, Jesus responded with the truth. Who Jesus was is recorded in John 14:16;
“I am the way, the truth, and the light.”
Jesus knew who he was. He knew his purpose and why he was born.
So I ask you now, “Who are you?”
If you would like to learn more about finding the real you, please contact Encouragers now at 951-900-4414.