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WHO  AM  I ?

By Gary Petty


"There are two kinds of success. One is the very rare kind that come to the man who has the power to do what no one else has the power to do. That is genius. But the average man who wins what we call success is not a genius. He is a man who merely has the ordinary qualities that he shares with his fellows, but has developed those ordinary qualities to a more than ordinary degree." ..... Theodore Roosevelt

Who are you? You might answer this question by stating your name. But that's not really the question. Who are you as a person? What makes you...you?

If asked to list the 10 things that make you...you...what would they be? You might start with your age, sex, race, weight or grade in school. You might identify yourself as a cheerleader, basketball player, "computer nerd," member of a particular gang, or a "lone wolf."

Considering these factors, how much are you worth? How would you even calculate your worth? You might try and figure your economic worth—so you have a stereo, a skateboard and $7.37 in cash. Not really much, is it?

Everyone wants to feel valued as a person. Our society tends to judge a person's value by beauty or a perfect body. We also find value in what we own, stylish clothes, a car or how much money we make. Others find a sense of worth and appreciation in belonging to a certain group.

It would be nice to make our troubles disappear by dressing a certain way, belonging to the right group or being a lead singer on MTV. Wouldn't life be a breeze if you were a professional basketball or football player? But would it really?

You want to be successful. You want to have a good job, friends, clothes, a nice car and—most of all—have fun. But sometimes it seems teachers, parents, ministers and peers are all trying to define who you are.

You begin to feel like a contortionist as everyone tells you to keep your back to the wall, ear to the ground, shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, while keeping a level head with both feet firmly planted on the ground.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The search for self

The United States was rocked by a social revolution during the 1960s that irrevocably changed society. Young people became disillusioned with their parents' belief that fulfillment is based in religion, duty to country, family, hard work and commitment to community. They became acutely aware of religious hypocrisy, racism, greed and the senseless governmental policies.

The result was a revolution in clothing styles, music, drug use, freedom from sexual restraint, a sense of rebellion and the belief that the purpose of life is the search for self.

Pop psychology espoused the same philosophy of life. It's expressed in a vocabulary of: self-esteem, self-actualization, self-acceptance and self-realization. Millions of people are trying to "get in touch with themselves."

The conclusion of this search for self is, "Since no one can determine who I am, except myself, then no other person has the right to determine right from wrong. What may be wrong for you may be right for me."

There's a fatal flaw in the belief that happiness is to be found in the pursuit of self with no concrete guidelines of right and wrong. This flaw is best illustrated by something that appeared many years ago in a major newspaper. The article told of a young man who seemed to have everything. He was a star athlete, a good student, handsome and one of the most popular boys in his school. One day he took his own life, leaving a simple note stating he just wasn't good enough. This young person had many good things in life, yet something was missing.

What's missing?

During the teenage years and early twenties a person begins to make decisions and pick his or her own course through this grand maze we call life. There's a tendency for young people to throw out the parental maps and attempt to "do it my way." But before you reject all adult maps, think about the fact that you are embarking on a dangerous journey with the only real resource you have...your own life.

The paradox is that no matter how hard you pursue pleasing yourself, life is going to be a mixture of happiness and sadness, joy and tragedy, success and failure, and all worthwhile endeavors and intimate human relationships demand self-sacrifice.

There is a map that can help you find your way through this maze. The Creator of life gave it to us. It's called the Bible.

In the Bible, God gives us reference points on how to handle life's problems; how to avoid destructive behavior and thoughts; how to enjoy life and face bad times with hope and faith. Happiness, fulfillment and contentment aren't things you find. These traits are developed in you by living a certain way.

"You see, the real question isn't who you are, because all of us are in the process of learning and growing. The real question is, who are you becoming?"

Who are you becoming?

Sometimes life seems like the story of the mother who went to buy a toy for her small child. She commented to the salesman that the toy was too complicated for children. He answered, "It's an educational toy designed to prepare a child for today's world. Anyway he puts it together is wrong."

God has given us a way to put life together. There is a map.

You see, the real question isn't who you are, because all of us are in the process of learning and growing. The real question is, who are you becoming? If you really want to find yourself, look at the way of life defined by your Maker. It's in His map book the Bible.

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 1:27

God, the Creator of the universe, desires to have a Father/child relationship with each of us. Young people aren't excess baggage accepted by God only because of their parents! Each young person has personal access to God in prayer. God will be involved in your life if you want Him to be involved.




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