Who Exactly are You? – Finding an Identity in a World of Bios & Titles.

Seun Olagunju | Finding an Identity

Some weeks ago, an organization I admire reached out to feature me in a series they have coming up. When I opened the interview questions, the first question they asked was to describe who I was in my own words. It felt like a very simple question. I mean, here I was being given a blank canvass to describe myself however it suited me but no matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t know how to. I remember rehearsing with a friend that night and telling him over and over again about how hard I always found it to describe myself. Whether I’m in an interview or in a random conversation or somewhere online where I am required to put in a bio, I would get stuck, usually between the things I do, the woman I think I am and who is asking.

On Instagram for instance, I have had to update my bio so many times. I have gone from ‘a simple girl who just wants to make an impact’ to ‘writer, social entrepreneur and blah, blah, blah’. Recently, I changed the bio again to detail the things I love and do, in the simplest way possible, so that when people see it, they can have at a glance an idea of who I am, but after a while, I thought that description wasn’t complete enough and now I’m back to a bunch of titles that just describe my work.

But who am I?

I could describe myself as a woman, and while that is true, I have only limited myself to an identity that is not exactly peculiar to me. I am a woman just like any other female person beside me.

I could describe myself as an African, Nigerian, Yoruba and while this is also true, I have again limited myself to an identity that is not uniquely me. Anybody born of my descent could carry those same titles and I would have successfully defined myself based on where I’m from, rather than who I am. Besides, what happens if tomorrow I gain citizenship in the UK? What do I then become? A Briton? Lol.

I could describe myself as a sister, a daughter, wife to the most amazing man one day, and future mother to the best kids (who will look like me in the event where I am finer than their dad; or look like the both of us in the event where he is finer), but in doing this, I would only be describing myself by virtue of my relationship with other people, and the truth is, some of these relationships change. One minute, I might be an employee to the best boss and the next minute, I am an employer. While at that moment those titles define me, they do not exactly make up for who I really am.

I could describe myself as a writer, a social entrepreneur, a teacher, a passionate volunteer for social development in Africa and all of that, but while they are also true, these titles only define what I do. A lot of us describe ourselves by this most of the time. We feel great when we are introduced as a ‘CEO or a founder or a doctor’ and we feel terrible when we have nothing we are doing because somehow we’ve carved our identities from our work, forgetting that there is more to us than our jobs.

We feel great when we are introduced as a 'CEO or a founder' and we feel terrible when we have nothing we are doing because somehow we've carved our identities from our work, forgetting that there is more to us than our jobs. Click To Tweet

Now, is it okay to introduce yourself as any of these whenever you have to describe who you are? The answer is yes. Why, because the context and platforms on which you are asked matters a lot too and you’d be surprised the number of people making sales on Instagram just because their bio reads ‘writer’. However, your identity forms a very big part of how you see and carry yourself, which is why beyond all of the titles you give out to people, there is a revelation of you that you should have  – a revelation which is solid, unchanging and true, and which you may not necessarily give out to everybody but which you’d know and carry in your heart everywhere you go.

Today, I’ll attempt to share a few of those revelations with you. Ready?

.1. You are a spirit:

One of my favorite scriptures in the world is Jeremiah 1:5, where God said ‘before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.’ In fact, a particular version of the Bible says ‘before I formed your body in your mother’s womb, I knew you.’

Did you get that? It means there was a you that existed before your body was formed. That same ‘you’ is who would exist after your body’s been laid in the ground and buried. That ‘you’ is a spirit. You are a spirit and if you really get the revelation of that, it would influence how you see and carry yourself, the things you do to yourself and even the things that go on around you.

.2. You are a child of God:

I’m writing this assuming that you have given your life to Jesus. Gosh! it’s the best thing that could ever happen to you. Why, because the minute you did, God adopted you into His family and you became His child. You know, this knowledge was very cliche to me for a long time but the day it hit me that (i) to adopt someone means that you intentionally choose them. Like you go to an adoption home, look through a group of kids and deliberately, consciously choose one that pleases you well enough to pay for and take home as yours. If this is what adoption is, then it means God had a choice … and He chose me. (ii) God – the same big God who created the Heaven and the Earth is my daddy now? – the day that hit me, it fundamentally changed my perception of myself and I began to ask questions like ‘what does it mean to have a father who is God?’ Believe me, the answer to that question requires insight and a knowledge of who of God really is but once you begin to find it, it will help you grasp your identity better.

.3. You are a vessel in which God lives:

Another identity of yourself you need to know is that you are a vessel in which God Himself lives. This might not make so much sense to you until you realize that a container is primarily defined by what it carries. For instance, if I walk up to a shop and I ask to buy Pepsi, what I would be given would be a bottle that contains Pepsi, right? Now, if I get home, finish the Pepsi and pour water in the bottle instead and if I put it in a fridge and 5 minutes later, call my younger sister to get me water from the fridge, what would she give me? She would give me that same bottle of Pepsi which now contains water. How did the same bottle change from being seen as Pepsi to being seen as water? It’s because of the content it carries.

Seun Olagunju - Finding Identity

I want you to think about this very well. Who lives inside of you? If you say God does, through the Holy Spirit, I want you to then think about how this revelation influences how you (should) see and carry yourself. You can always share your answers with me later. 🙂

.4. You are royalty:

Another revelation of your identity you should have is that you are royalty. As in, do you want to raise your head up high now or you still haven’t gotten it? You are royalty, and it’s not because of the things you wear or the number of clothes you have or because of the degrees you’ve gotten or the position you hold at your place of work; no. You are royalty, simply because your father, who is God, is a king!

Unfortunately, a lot of us do not know this and so we live like that prince who was kidnapped as a baby, and who grew up among paupers, always stealing bread to eat and wearing rags for clothes. Gosh! if only we knew who we are, we wouldn’t stoop our shoulders in low self-esteem or keep some of the association we currently keep, or concern ourselves with whether on not our pictures got a hundred likes on Instagram.  You are royalty and this is an identity I want you to carry in your heart always.

Seun Olagunju

.5. You are who God calls you:

Finally, the last revelation of your identity I would be sharing here (which does not mean it’s the last there is because there are still a whole lot to discover) is the revelation of who God Himself calls you. This one is personal to you and always in alignment with the purpose for which God has called you. An example of this is seen when Jesus asked his disciples, ‘who do you say I am?‘ and while the others were saying orisirishi, Peter said, ‘You are the Messiah. Son of the Living God.’ – a declaration to which Jesus replied ‘Blessed are you, Simon! For flesh and blood did not reveal that to you, but my Father who is in Heaven’. Oshey! I’m trying to imagine if Jesus were one of us Millenials or Gen-Zs, he probably might have updated his Instagram bio to read something like ‘Official Instagram Page of Jesus Christ, the Messiah | First of His Kind | One and Only Son of God | Virgin born | Chaser of Demons | Raiser of the Dead | The one in whom God is well pleased.’ Or not.

Anyway, the point is, the identity that Jesus carried with Him came only from a revelation of who he was to God and nothing else. There is someone you are to God too and you can have this identity revealed to you as you spend more time getting to know who God is.

Now, it is important that I say this, revelation is not really revelation until the Holy Spirit reveals it to you Himself. So, while I might have attempted to list a few of these things in here, I want you to personally ask God to open your eyes and help you see (understand) who you really are. The knowledge that comes from this revelation is deep, unchanging and true, and that identity is what you’d hold on to for every time you come across the question, ‘who are you?’ You might not necessarily share it with the whole world on social media or during interviews or anything, but because you know who you are deep inside of you, it would show – in the way you see and carry yourself, in the way you talk, in the way you relate with others, in the things you do and ultimately, in the results that you get.

I hope you learned something from this post? If you did, share it with me in the comments. Also, do you find it hard to answer the ‘who are you’ question too? What do you say when people ask you to describe yourself? Share that with me in the comments too.

Till later, with love.


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Author: Seun Olagunju

I'm just a simple 24-year-old girl, living for One and working to make the world a better place than I met it. I love to teach and tell stories, which is what I do as a blogger. I'm also the founder of Beyond the Surface Development Initiative. There, I reach out to teenagers by educating and empowering them, with an aim to curb the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and school drop-outs in Nigeria. When I'm not writing or involved in a social project, I work as a Product Manager with a tech firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

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