Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? All questions that every individual has asked themselves multiple times throughout crucial developmental stages in life. At least from my perspective, those questions are pushed by society into our faces; it is as if we MUST know the answers or at least pretend as I we know who we are. What a great detriment that becomes to the minds of people in this nation. Focus shifts from preparing oneself and becomes ingrained in expressing oneself—a self that is lacking, a self that is handicapped and lame—and that is a place in which I have found myself in. Without realizing it, I was trying to be something/someone before I was ready. I felt the pressure to act, before I felt the stability of preparation. And one day it hit me… I discovered a way out.
One day, at the end of one of my classes, we (students) were asked to dwell on three (3) questions: Who are you? (identity) Why are you here? (purpose) Where are you going? (calling); to then present our answers to the class. Without exaggerating, my heart dropped and I instantly felt uneasy. Why? Because I could not answer the questions and that scared me. Sure society doesn’t literally go around asking these questions, but they are out there subtly being impressed into us; and as the days go by, as youth grow they scramble for the answers. Most of the time in the rush they grab the wrong piece to their puzzle.
As every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday came along, I shrank back in my seat nervous to volunteer to stand in front of university level Junior’s and Senior’s and speak my heart; not only was there a fear of not knowing how to describe my identity but I had a picture in my head that I was the ONLY person who didn’t know who he was. The first few days the students who had a grasp on their lives or felt as if they did went first and that was a bit intimidating, BUT something happened within the next few days. I began to see and hear the stories and background/behind the scenes of the lives of many of the students I had known for 3 years now. As student after student opened up and expressed themselves, they did not express that they had everything together, but that in fact they were in the process of pulling themselves together; the only thing they could be sure of was the anchor that held them down, Jesus.
Something began to work inside of me, the stories of others began to produce not only healing, but also action. I was still a bit nervous and void of excitement for the assignment, but the gears were turning and I was determined to at least be honest about my current season of seeking. One day as I was in the shower praying (some people sing in the shower, I take that time in which I am alone to pray and meditate on things haha. Prayer isn’t about posture/position; it’s a state of the heart. Where ever that place may be for you, is up to you.) thinking of these questions and the first encounter Jesus had with Simon (later called Peter) came to mind.
Jesus went to the shore of a fishing port and grabbed the attention of a few (2) fishermen and said to them, “Come and I will make you fishers of men (Calling). They dropped their nets and followed.
So we see in that brief and initial encounter, that Jesus gave them their purpose and calling at that moment.
But then, I thought of the time where Jesus was with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi:
Jesus asked the disciples who the people said/thought He was, and right after they answered He asked them who they said/thought He was. Simon answered that Jesus (Son of Man) was “The Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus affirmed the claim AND then he changed Simon’s name to Peter.
“So what, a guy was a fishermen, he called Jesus ‘Savior’ , and Jesus changed Simon’s name. What’s the big deal, right?”
Well it is a HUGE deal when you think about it. Because sometimes we get our calling but have yet to be given our identity; I would even venture to say that our identity cannot be fully established until we recognize that Jesus is Messiah/Christ/Savior. Will we stumble along the way and doubt? Yeap! I can almost promise you that the path towards God’s will in your life will not be a straight-line, it will involve lengthy detours and at some points even U-Turns (not that any of that should be hoped for ). But we can see that Peter, the elder who pioneered the spreading of the Messiah to the Jews, the man who gave so much for the Lord, the man who was crucified upside-down for his ministry, went through the same process of confusion.
When you look at what occurred you see that He did not have everything in order; in fact, right after he was praised by Jesus for the proclamation of Jesus’ “Messiah-ship”, Peter was then called Satan by Jesus. Peter was the craziest, loudest, rudest, most impulsive disciple we see within the Bible, but he was able to do great things for Christ. And although he slipped away it was through the recognition that Jesus had branded him Peter not Simon, had called him to be fisher of men not fish, and above all that Jesus loved him and always would because He was Messiah/Christ/Lord.
Be strengthened friends, keep your head up, and realize the call on your life and follow through with it. Maintain your focus on our Savior, for in Him alone we receive our TRUE identity.