The Search for Self

Written by Dave Leake

Out of all of the challenges people face today I believe some of the most intense ones are not fought externally, but instead faced in the battleground of the mind and heart. Being in a culture where the best looking and most talented are held on a pedestal as the standard of fulfillment puts a lot of pressure on individuals to figure out how they fit into the picture. The feeling that we don’t measure up to this ethereal standard is pretty much universal regardless of race, gender or age.

I think this is why depression is so rampant in America. It’s why families are torn apart as mothers and fathers who feel like they still haven’t “found themselves” cave to the enormous pressure to break what feels like routine or rut. It’s what often causes mid-life crises, poor financial decisions, years of wearing fake smiles and all kinds of major regrets. The eternal question, “Who am I?” and the seeming lack of any kind of good answer seems to plague our modern world today. Maybe you’re even reading this now and pondering what your answer to the question is. You might be feeling insignificant, frustrated, or stuck and you’d be right there with the rest of society.

Honestly, if you asked me to give my answer to that same question I’m not sure I would have an adequate response. I’m not quite sure if I’ve fully discovered myself. But you know something? I’m not totally sure that it matters. Bear with me for a second – what if we’ve been spending all of our time asking the wrong question?

Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church and author of New York Times Bestseller The Purpose Driven Life begins the book (which happens to have sold over 40 million copies) with a profound statement: “It’s not about you.” Pause. It might not seem apparent, but if you explore the depth of that simple statement you may just find the answer to this seemingly unanswerable question in the search for self. Let me write this one more time for you to ponder: It’s not about you. In other words, when it’s all said and done your life isn’t (or at least shouldn’t) be primarily defined by YOU. In fact, if you’re defining life that way you’re really missing the point. Rick Warren goes on to elaborate, “…you cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God — and until you understand that, life will never make sense.”

Think about this for a moment. If you put weight on this statement, then you can end your search here and now. You have no need to be tormented by your lack of an answer as to who you are. That was never really the right question to be asking in the first place, because it was never really about you anyway. As much as it may pain your ego to admit this, the only way to find true purpose and meaning in life is to admit that you’re not the main character in this drama of life. You’re just an extra! And that’s actually a good thing! If you’re honest with yourself then you can admit that being your own “main character” in the stage of your life probably wasn’t working out very well in the first place.

In closing I’d like to extend challenge you to act on this truth. What good is knowledge without action? If you continue to drudge through life on the search for the mythical answer to the search for self you’re going to to probably live a life that will leave you frustrated and depressed. Freedom and empowerment come from the admission that it’s truly not about me! That there is something bigger and more important at play in the world then just what I’m going through and that you need to play your part.

If you’re looking at where to start then get involved in your local church! Talk to your pastor or leader. If you’ve been waiting for life to finally start when you actually find yourself then quit waiting and get in the game! God is just waiting for you to take the first step into a brand new world full of purpose, significance and identity!

Next time you’re plagued with the question “Who am I?” you have your answer. Who cares! Life’s not about me anyway!


12474013_1567101066946655_6124925627570272524_oDave Leake grew up in the Pittsburgh area and attended Allison Park Church all through his childhood and teenage years. After high school, Dave got his bachelor’s degree from Central Bible College and has served as the high school youth pastor at Allison Park Church’s Hampton Campus for the past three years. Dave’s hobbies include watching his favorite sports teams (the Steelers, Chelsea FC, etc.), reading good books, and playing Legend of Zelda video games.