EXPRESSIONS Opinion

Self Identity and Self Belief

Self-Identity and self-belief are dominant topics that have spurred many conversations when it comes to being successful or relevant in life. Self-identity is “the perception or recognition of one’s characteristics as a particular individual, especially in relation to social context”. I’d simply define it as knowing what you are and what you are not. As a result of social context coming into play when it comes to knowing oneself, society has a way of defining who we are or what we have to become and this becomes a problem for those who lack conviction about who they are.

Let’s look at the story of David.

David, in trying to seek approval from Saul in order to kill Goliath said, “I take care of my father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God. The LORD has saved me from lions and bears; he will save me from this Philistine”. “All right” Saul answered. “Go, and the LORD be with you’”.

Even though David was able to convince Saul, Saul still didn’t have faith in David’s capability, so he gave his armour to David for him to wear: a bronze helmet, which he put on David’s head and a coat of armour. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armour and tried to walk but he couldn’t because he wasn’t used to wearing them. “I can’t fight with all this,” he said to Saul. “I’m not used to it” so he took all off. He took his shepherd’s stick and then picked up five smooth stones from the stream and put them in his bag. With his sling ready, he went out to meet Goliath.

David can be described as someone who knew himself. He knew what he was and what he wasn’t. David lived his whole life taking care of animals and fighting predators like lions and bears with his bare hands and other shepherding weapons like stones. That’s where his strength lies. Saul, on the other hand, lived most of his life fighting human battles with armours and helmets. When it was time for David to face his battle, Saul belittled David’s fighting prowess he gained through Shepherding and gave him a more glamorous option in the form of helmet and armour. Even though David obliged, he realized he wasn’t used to the glamorous weapons Saul gave him so he decided to be himself and gave them back to Saul.

This is where most of us lose the plot of our lives. We fail to recognize that we’re different from each other in so many ways and that’s how God made it. We fail to understand that; our strengths and weaknesses are as a result of the experiences that life throws at us.

We allow people we uphold in high esteem to dictate our lives for us. We are made to think, it’s the most glamorous things in life that’d give us the greatest breakthroughs.  As a result, we neglect the simple innate abilities God has placed in us when it comes to fighting battles in life. We end up living in the shadows of others which destroy us in the long run.

David and Saul differed in height and weight so it was a no-brainer for David to even attempt walking in Saul’s body armour. Moreover, David’s strength didn’t come from fighting with armours but it came from using his bare hands and using slings and stones.

David wouldn’t have stood a chance against Goliath if he had worn all that Saul gave him because of Goliaths towering and intimidating nature. Moreover, Goliath wore a full body armour from the crown of his head to the soul of his feet. You can imagine how David would be able to bring a huge fully protected figure down if he had gone with a sword. When David appeared, Goliath asked “What’s the stick for? Do you think I’m a dog?” David took Goliath by surprise by facing him with a weapon he hadn’t encountered before. In the midst of the full body armour Goliath had on, there was a small vulnerability in his protective guard which is his forehead. The helmet couldn’t cover his forehead and there was no way David’s height could have afforded him the luxury to capitalize on that with a sword. The only weapon that could do that was a simple stone which nobody valued.

You see, we’re usually overwhelmed by challenges to the extent that, we fail to look at the little things God has equipped us with to face them. I’m sure immediately David took his stones and faced Goliath, he recognized the flaw in Goliath’s  body set up which is his forehead.

It’s not about the size of what you have that matters but it’s about how you deploy it. Don’t allow anybody to define who you are. We differ in various regards. We might be headed for the same destination but it doesn’t mean we must all use the same path or technique. God has equipped us with whatever we need in this journey of life. What might have worked for someone may not work for you. Discover your path and use it. Always remember, big doors are opened with small keys. It takes a small tablet or a thin syringe to cure a life-threatening disease. The challenge you’re confronted with can be overcome with that little “insignificant” ability God placed you. When you recognize and value it, God will make a way to make it relevant in life.


WRITER: Desmond Pappy Tawiah

IMAGE: Google

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