“Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?” Questions of identity and purpose, no two greater pursuits. In fact, all of life can be simply summed up in these two questions. Who am I? and What’s my purpose? Yet our questions are asked from the perspective of the other. Someone outside of you, looking in on you is asking you about you. Why doesn’t this person know who I am and what my purpose is? Isn’t it obvious? Maybe it is a trick? Perhaps they already know who I am and my purpose? Maybe they are simply testing me to see if I truly know my identity and my purpose? Defensive much? Why so uptight about these two simple questions? Could it be that I don’t truly know the answers? Could it be that I am afraid that who I think I am and what I think is my purpose might be wrong? And if I am wrong, do I really want you knowing that I don’t know who I am or my purpose? Wow, now you are simply over thinking this whole thing. These questions are very simple, just answer them. Don’t think. No hesitation. No second guessing. Who are you? and What are you doing here?
Who am I? Well, I am a heterosexual man, a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a preacher, a teacher, a neighbor, a friend, American, white, middle class, middle aged, a Christian, a glass half-full perspective, a heart transplant recipient, Pittsburgh Steeler fan, right Twix guy, dog owner, rule follower, couch potato, binge watcher, conservative, college educated, fraternity brother, dreamer, warm weather enthusiast, conflict avoider, from the hip shooter. Is that all there is? No. There are also all those things that make up me that I don’t like to talk about. Like when I enter a room and someone is obviously mad and I naturally think that I have done something to make them mad. Like beating myself up when I make a mistake thinking that I am not good at anything. Like looking at my reflection and not liking what I see. Like judging someone else based on their skin color, wardrobe, age and overall looks. Who am I? I am a fractured, faulty, sin-stained, saved only by the grace of God, human being.
What am I doing here? Well, I am being a husband, a father, a preacher, a teacher… You get the picture. Identity and purpose go hand in hand. I am what I am because I am constantly being what I am. In my being my purpose is revealed. Yet, is my purpose solely to be who I am? Yes and no. Yes, for I can only be who I am in any given moment. And no because who I will be tomorrow is a moving picture. If I would have answered the “Who am I?” question at the age of eighteen I wouldn’t have included several of the describing characteristics of me today. My prayer is that when I answer this question in twenty years I will not give the same answer as I did today. This is what growth is all about. This is what life is all about. Being a complete you in any given moment, even though you acknowledge that this completeness is a moving target because tomorrow will open up the door to new possibilities. Tomorrow will open up the door to a new definition of who you are, thus changing your answer to the question what are you doing here?
So, having said all of that, how would I answer these questions? I am here being the best me that I can be in this given moment in time and space. The me that I am is a fractured, faulty, sin-stained, saved only by the grace of God, human being, who has a great deal more to learn on this side of eternity! Your turn. “Who are you?” and “What are you doing here?”