“Everybody ready?” an enthusiastic voice asked the room full of eager children. The room erupted with a thunderous roar of cheers. “I’ll take that as a yes!” The voice shouted. ”Ok then…Ready, Set, Go!”

In an instant the room swarmed with children excitedly scurrying around. Each impatiently launched questions at the others, desperately trying to determine the identity of a name taped to their own back.

“Am I good at sports?”

“Am I famous?”

“Am I pretty?”

“Am I nice?”

“Am I popular?”

A cloud of questions filled the air with a buzz as the children intently pursued their identity, each wanting to be the first to solve the mystery.

As I watched the youthful enthusiasm, I couldn’t help but think that in life, we too often live as though we are playing a real life version of “Who Am I?” We look to those around us to define who we are ourselves. Although we don’t ask such obvious questions to those we encounter, we use their feedback to determine who we are, or who we will become. Am I good enough? Do I matter? Can I really be successful?

And, seemingly just like the game narrows the possible answers, we can fall into the trap of using reactions to limit our own actions, our lives, our dreams, or even our identities. By their actions and their input, we often define how we see ourselves as well as our future potential. We should instead challenge ourselves to ask those questions of God rather than people. He often calls us to live at the edge of our comfort zone, trusting in Him rather than relying on ourselves or the people around us. A few useful steps can help us shift where we get the answers to the question “Who am I?”

Four steps to answering “Who am I?”

1.      Inventory the roles you have in life.

Are you a spouse, a parent, a sister, a brother, etc? How does that role shape who you are or want to become? As you seek to define who you are, remember that relationships are an important part of your life.

2.      Inventory your skills, talents and passions

Do you have natural or developed talent? Do you have a passion that you enjoy or would like to pursue? Once you identify your talents and passions, look for opportunities to make a difference using them.  For example, maybe you are naturally an organizer and you have a passion for helping veterans.  You could use your skill and passion to organize and outreach in your community to give back to veterans.

3.      Pray

Seek God’s input as you search to answer “who am I?” His guidance and His answers are the voice of truth and need consideration over other “voices” in your life. God knows you and knows who he created you to be. Seek Him for your answers. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

4.      Redefine how you look at yourself

Be aware of negative thinking or ways you may be limiting yourself based on what you or others tell you. How have you let the people you encounter define who you are or limit who you are becoming? Have you told yourself that your dream is impossible? Look at yourself with new eyes and see your potential based on what you identified or discovered in the first three steps. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Defining who you are doesn’t have to be as chaotic as a childhood game where chance determines the name taped to your back. Unlike the game, it isn’t a race but instead a process. When you choose to align your skills, talents, and passions and then seek God’s direction, you can genuinely begin to answer “Who am I?”