The Jam once sang ‘To be someone must be a wonderful thing…’
In reality we’re all someone, but – who? And how do we know? In Before I Go To Sleep Christine Lucas wakes each morning with her memory wiped. She has no idea who she is and relies on her husband Ben to tell her. She also receives daily calls from psychoanalyst Dr Nash, who tells her different stories about who she is. Christine is torn in two – unsure which voice to trust.
The notion of differing voices telling us who we are is not as odd as it might sound. Advertisers regularly tell us that their products will give us an identity. For some of us it’s our work that defines us. Or our relationships, or our lovers, or how many friends we have on Facebook. Some are defined by their successes, others by their failures.
The Bible offers an alternative viewpoint. When Biblical characters hit low-points they often remind themselves that they are created and defined by an invisible God. A caring, creative, parent kind of God. Whether we make it in this world or not we can see ourselves differently, through a divine lens. In Jeremiah chapter 1 we read, ‘Before I (God) formed you in the womb, I knew you.’ And in one of his letters John writes this, ‘See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and so we really are!’ (1 John 3 v 1) It’s easy to forget this and perhaps like Christine we need daily reminders.
When world-class swimmer Kirsty Balfour unexpectedly failed to qualify for the final in the Beijing Olympics she felt a total failure. But as she sat alone behind the scenes after the race, feeling terrible, a still small voice whispered in her being, ‘I’m proud of you.’