Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5
Everyone struggles to define who they are—at home, at school, with their family, with friends, and in life. People regularly answer questions like, “What’s your name?”, “What do you do for school/work?”, and “What’s your favorite (fill in the blank)?” You are constantly challenged to define yourself for the world and to others. It should be no surprise then that many people often struggle to answer those questions and define who they are even to themselves.
Defining “Self” Like Everyone Else
Psychology teaches that the concept we have of “self” is comprised of the view you have of yourself, how much you value yourself, and what you wish you were really like.  These concepts of self can be influenced by many internal and external factors. As you interact with the world and other people (who are also trying to define themselves), you begin to form a view of who you are and how you fit in this world. Depending on the input you receive, your view of self can be shaped positively or negatively.
The Challenge of Defining “Self”
Defining “self” is one of the greatest challenges facing today’s generation. With the flood of negative external input from social media, news, school, peers, and others, it’s not hard to see why. Having a strong inner voice that speaks positively about your appearance, behavior, worth, and purpose in life is a real struggle for many people.
According to the Huffington Post, suicide rates among teens aged 15-19 has increased significantly from 2007-2015 (girls rates doubled, and boys rates rose 30 percent). 
All this external input is the world trying to shape and define your identity. However, the truest definition of an artist’s work doesn’t come from the art critic or the art consumer, it comes directly from the artist! That is what the last lesson was all about—you are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)! He is the artist who defines you!
WHO ARE YOU… REALLY? THERE IS ONLY ONE PLACE YOU CAN LOOK TO FIND THE TRUE ANSWER TO WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE.
God Defines the Real You
One of the best examples of how God defines the “real you” can be found in the story of Gideon from the Old Testament. In Judges 6, a messenger visits Gideon. He speaks and calls Gideon a mighty warrior. And Gideon argued with him!
As you struggle through life trying to define who you are to the world and to yourself, you can rely on How the Master Artist views you. Jeremiah 1:5 says that He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He, above all others, has the right and privilege of revealing your true identity—you are a son or daughter, you are amazing and unique, and you are a mighty warrior!
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Gideon wasn’t a mighty warrior when he was identified as one by God’s messenger. His identity was revealed to him and called out of him. He had to learn how to walk and live in that true identity revealed to him by the messenger.
He had to learn how to listen to God’s voice. He had to learn how to reject and overcome fear. He had to learn to trust God and walk in God’s ways. It was a challenge and a struggle, but as he followed God, he became the person God told him he already was. God sees the you that you truly are and are truly meant to become.
The Challenge to Become You
As you “do life” this week, take time to listen for God’s voice. By what name does He call you? What traits is He identifying that are inside of you? Begin to trust that He knows what He is talking about and take a step. Don’t argue like Gideon. Don’t keep looking for a sign like Gideon. Instead, step out of the boat like Peter did in Matthew 14:22-33. You might sink like Peter if you take your eyes off Jesus. But, then again, you might just find yourself walking on water.
Take Time to Reflect
Take some time and reflect on the following questions. Use them as a conversation catalyst with God—He really does want to know who you are. Use these questions to help you engage in conversation with friends. These can help you go deeper into relationships with God and others!
- How well do your friends know the real you? How do they know what they know about you?
- How well does God know the real you? How does He know what He knows about you?
- How do you want your friends to identify you? What words do you want them to use to describe you?
- How do you want to identify yourself? What words do you want to use to describe yourself?
- How does God identify you? Ask your teacher, youth leader, or pastor to help you discover how God identifies you.
 McLeod, S. A. (2008). Self concept. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/self-concept.html