Discovering Your Individuality 1


| Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of the one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’

John 1: 19-23

The question “who are you, doesn’t mean “what is your name”? Your name doesn’t define who you are. What defines a person is his purpose; the original and eternal plan of God for creating and sending him to earth. It is not your race, culture, title, nationality or even your educational background that define who you are. Being successful in your career doesn’t necessarily mean you are living your purpose. It is a terrible tragedy to succeed in the wrong assignment.

When the Jewish Priests asked John who he was, he didn’t tell them he was John the Baptist; rather he said he was a voice calling or crying in the wilderness, thus associating who he was to his purpose.

The journey of discovering your individuality starts with finding your purpose. Individuality means originality, peculiarity, distinctiveness and personal identity. The most confused person on earth is somebody who has lost his identity. A person can lose his identity in crisis, success, failure, etc. To avoid identity crisis you have to honestly ask yourself these questions, “Who am I?  Why am I Here?”

This is the most fascinating story I have read that graphically illustrates how a man can turn into who he is not when crisis, lack or deprivation comes.

A man was looking for a job and he noticed that there was an opening at the local zoo. He inquired about the job and discovered that the zoo had a very unusual position that they wanted to fill. Apparently their gorilla had died, and until they could get a new one, they needed someone to dress up in a gorilla suit and act like a gorilla for a few days.

His job was just to sit, eat and sleep. His identity would be kept a secret, thanks to a very fine gorilla suit that was made for him and the good pay attached to the job. The man took the job and he tried on the suit and sure enough, he looked just like a gorilla. They led him to the cage; he took a position at the back of the cage and pretended to be asleep. But after a while, he got tired of sitting, so he walked around a little bit, jumped up and down and tried a few gorilla noises.

The people who were watching him seemed to really like that. When he would move or jump up and around, they would clap and cheer and throw him peanuts. And the man loved peanuts.  So he jumped around some more and tried climbing a tree. That seemed to really get the crowd excited. They threw more peanuts. Playing to the crowd, he grabbed a vine and swung from one side of the cage to the other.

The people loved it and threw more peanuts. “Wow, this is great,” he thought. He swung higher and the crowd grew bigger. He continued to swing on the branches; getting higher and higher- and then all of a sudden, the vine (the stem) broke! He swung up and out of the cage, landing in the lion’s cage that was next door. He panicked. There was a huge lion about twenty feet away, and it looked very hungry. So the man in the gorilla suit started jumping up and down, screaming and yelling, “Help, help! Get me out of here! I am not really a gorilla! I am a man in gorilla suit! ” The lion quickly pounced on the man, held him down and said, “Will you shut up! You are going to get both of us fired!” That means the “lion” was actually another man who was employed for the same purpose.

This story may be fictitious, but the truth is that if you are not sure of your peculiarity you will be turned into what others will want you to be. Crises in life can give you another identity.

Understanding your purpose truly establishes your individuality and uniqueness.  Many of us have become what we were never intended or ordained to be; maybe because we did not understand God’s plan for our life or have been turned into something else by the situations we face. WHO ARE YOU?

 Principle: Understanding your purpose establishes your individuality and uniqueness.

Ruminate: What defines who you are is not the name you bear but your purpose; the original and eternal plan of God for creating and sending you to earth.


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