One of the first essays we learnt to write as school kids was “Myself”. Anyone who grew up in the Ghanaian school system knows what I am talking about. It was a simple essay in which we were expected to write about who we were, where we came from, our likes and dislikes, favorite foods, hobbies, etc.
As I have grown up, I have come to realize that your self concept or self identity is important to how far you will go in life. I always say that everything in our lives rises or falls on how we see ourselves, what we think of ourselves and who we believe we are. When you have a strong self concept, what people think of you (negatively) will not matter much because you will filter what they say through your own idea and appreciation of who you are.
Fortunately for us, our identity comes from God. He made us in His image and likeness. “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness… So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27. When we accept this fact and internalize it, it can change how we see ourselves. Our true identity does not depend on external factors like looks, money, status, clothes, what others think of us. It comes from within and from our beliefs and values.
Made in God’s image means many things including the fact that He has placed gifts and talents within us to help us live purposeful lives. Sometimes we fail to recognize and appreciate these because we focus on the wrong things. Some have developed a warped sense of self because of many things that have happened in their lives-tumultuous childhoods, abuses-physical, emotional, mental, among many other things. Though painful and unfortunate, these things cannot change who we are in God; we will just have to dig deeper to appreciate who we are and what we have within us.
It is my prayer today that as you stay connected to Jesus, the Holy Spirit will remind you continuously of your true self identity in God and reveal to you what that means for you as an individual. If I were to write “Myself” today, I would start with “I am God’s image bearer” and let everything else flow from there.