Ever wake up one day and wonder who you really are? I think we’ve all done it at one time or another. When we become bogged down by being somebody’s daughter, somebody’s wife, or somebody’s mom, we can begin to feel like we’ve lost our own identity in the world.
The journey to self-discovery can be a grueling task of self-reflection and of developing self-awareness and can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be fun and insightful. Listed below are seven steps that will help point you in the direction of self-introduction.
Step #1 – Find Yourself by Knowing Your Personality
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
God created you to be exactly the way you are. He doesn’t make mistakes. There are so many different personalities on the earth and while many of them appear to be similar (definite patterns do seem to emerge), every person is unique to the way they were created.
There are many different personality tests out there, and they can be helpful, but it is important to know that they cannot be a “be-all end-all” to understanding yourself. Instead, use them as a launch pad to your self-discovery.
My favorites are:
Focus on the Family Personality Test
Christian DISC® | Spiritual Personality Assessment
Personally, once I began to understand who God created me to be, and that I didn’t need to apologize for approaching life differently than those around me, my self-confidence began to soar. Our brains are all wired uniquely which will cause us to see things through slightly different colored lenses than those we are close to, and that is okay. God has a purpose for your unique perspective.
Step #2 – Find Yourself by Examining Your Experiences
When each of the twelve disciples met Jesus, they were far different men than those who were sent out to preach the gospel after his ascension. This is largely due to the gift of the Holy Spirit (which we will get to in a later step) but also, in part, to the experiences they endured while in ministry with Christ Himself.
When these men who were to be the first evangelists, the first missionaries, the first church leaders started out, they were rough and boisterous, they were ambitious and prideful, Matthew was a traitor to his people, Simon was a trained fighter. But through the few years they spent in the daily presence of the Messiah, they were taught important truths, they witnessed unimaginable miracles, and were pushed out of their comfort zones to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
These experiences helped to mold and shape them into who God needed them to be for their part in His greater plan. Not all of the experiences were good, some were terrifying, but all were important to their journey.
It is the same for your own journey to self-discovery. Examine the experiences that have helped to define your life. Recognize that while those experiences may not make up your whole identity, they have played a part in who you’ve become. Own them, and learn from them.
For more on Jesus’ Disciples, I highly suggest Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. It’s a fantastic look into who they each were and what we can learn from them.
Step #3 – Find Yourself by Recognizing Your Skills
One result from our experiences listed above is the skills that we develop overtime. God will not allow a single one to go unused in His kingdom.
I am currently living a life completely different from that of three years ago. Seemingly overnight, I went from a full-time working mom with a VP title in banking to a stay-at-home mom homeschooling my kiddos. But in the few years I’ve been home, God has asked me to use almost every one of the skills that I had accumulated throughout my career.
There is no waste in God’s economy. Whatever you learn, He will redeem. You are invaluable. Your skills are invaluable. On your path to learning how to find yourself, they cannot be left out.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Step #4 – Find Yourself by Exploring Your Passions
What is it that keeps you up at night? I’m not talking about the stresses of tomorrow, but what is it that makes your heart race in excitement? I would not describe myself as a passionate person in general, but the idea of growing relationships between women, and of seeing them grow their relationships with Christ, is what really gets me going.
What is it for you? Is it the sanctity of life? Or reaching out and connecting with children? Maybe for you its teaching others to be financially independent. Whatever the thing, explore it!!
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:6-7
Discovering Your Passion
If you have not yet uncovered your passion, don’t worry. Many times, passion is born out of our experiences which means that a new passion could show up at any point throughout your life.
But be careful, passions may come out of our experiences, but they are usually shaped by what we hold dear. Examine your heart, and if you find that it is holding close those things which can be damaging to your soul, talk to God and give it to Him. He will help you realign those priorities.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Step #5 – Find Yourself in Your Family
A common complaint I’ve heard among those who chose to marry young is that they have no idea who they are apart from their spouse. This statement makes me sad and a bit perplexed. Maybe it’s because for me, the choices I made before I married my husband, Bruce, were not ones that I’d celebrate as the best of me. Maybe it’s because I just really like my husband. But really, I think it’s because when I chose to marry him, I stopped growing as an individual and began growing as a half to a whole.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Once we said our vows, it was no longer me and him, but us. We are a unit, bound together for the purpose of driving each other towards Christ. He is God’s primary tool in my sanctification, seconded by my children, and then by my church family.
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
The famous love chapter in the Bible is quoted often in weddings and on Hallmark cards, but have you ever considered what Paul was actually telling us? Yes, it is a description of what love is, but do any of us display this kind of love naturally? Probably not. These are attributes that need to be first refined in our hearts so that we can love others well. And who else to learn these things with but those placed closest to us in our lives?
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
When trying to find yourself, don’t leave out those in your family. Whether you like it or not, they make up part of who you are and they are the ones who have helped shape you this far.
SUGGESTED POST: WHY IS CHURCH IMPORTANT?
Step #6 – Find Yourself Within God’s Economy
These next couple of steps are more important, and carry way more weight, than the previous five. If you’ve made the decision to follow Christ and to entrust in Him your whole life, then you are a part of God’s economy. (If this is not something you’ve done, and you’re curious about what that would entail, please read the post Why Is Jesus Important? for more information.)
Once you’ve made the life-changing choice to submit to Christ’s direction and to accept His love and sacrifice, your identity develops greater meaning and depth. The following list is just a mere snapshot of what makes up a large part of who you are:
- Redeemed – Ephesians 1:7
- Chosen – 1 Peter 2:9
- Cherished – Ephesians 5:29
- His Child – John 1:12
- His Branch – John 15:5
- His Righteousness – 2 Corinthians 5:21
- His Friend – John 15:15
- His Ambassador – Matthew 28:19-20
If you are one of God’s children, He has bestowed on you gifts meant to be used through His specific plan for your life. These will give you a place and a purpose in His greater kingdom. Working side by side with others bearing various gifts, will unite the church as one body in Christ.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8
There are many different spiritual gifts listed in the Bible. Different passages refer to various giftings (in addition to the passage in Romans above, check out Ephesians 4:11-16 and 1 Corinthians 12). As a whole, the gifts most referred to include:
Try one of these online spiritual gifts tests that I have found:
Spiritual Gifts Test – Discover your spiritual gifts!
Discover your specific gifts and, combined with your skills, passions, and experiences, pray about where God might want to use you as you grow.
Step #7 – Find Yourself by Allowing the Holy Spirit to do His Job
Finally, if you have made the decision to follow Christ and to become a child of God, then you have made the decision for the Holy Spirit to dwell within you. So what does this mean? Well, I can tell you that it’s more than an empty phrase that Christians say. There is depth to it.
When the Israelites were instructed to build the temple, they did it so that the almighty God could descend to the innermost sanctuary and dwell among them.
After Jesus died on the cross and paid the ultimate price for our sins in order to make us holy before God; and after He rose again three days later proving to the world that He was God; His Spirit descending upon His people, making us His temple so that He could dwell within our innermost sanctuaries forever.
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?... For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17b
Fruit of the Spirit
Ultimately, if you are seeking to find yourself and the Holy Spirit lives within you, you are looking for the wrong person. The closer we grow to Him, the more of Him we should see instead of ourselves.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
When a person allows the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, they should begin to exude proof of His work, or what is commonly known as the “Fruit of the Spirit”.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25
So then, this becomes your identity. There becomes no need for self-discovery or self-introduction, but instead a discovery of the Holy Spirit and an introduction to who Christ is in you.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4