'What does it mean to be you?' by Mal and Seannah Calladine - March 3rd 2019

Starting with encouragements from the Bible about who we are, Mal and Seannah discuss how our unique personalities take shape and get expressed in relationships. It's a conversation you can join in by discussing these questions with friends.

0:00 Introduction

We are in a series on identity - one of Severn's main topics for 2019. See recent talks for more about how being empowered in who we are helps us to be empowered in what we do.

Moving forwards, we are on "an adventure of identity" through the book of Ephesians. Last week, we introduced the book by writing our names into the spaces where the letter is effectively addressed to us. You can do this for yourself by downloading and printing this document.

7:10 What does it mean for us to be who God says we are?

It's worth discussing what the description of us at the beginning of Ephesians means for us. Mal and his daughter Seannah share their discussion in this talk, including some questions you might like to discuss too.

Some of these questions are about recognising who we are and sharing this with others. For example:

If someone is to really understand who you are...

  • what should they watch? (e.g. a film or TV show)

  • what should they read? (e.g. a book)

  • what should they listen to? (e.g. a podcast or piece of music)

Seannah shared the example of this conversation between Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Maya Angelou about the power of believing in people.

15:15 Knowing your SHAPE...

Your unique identity contains some elements which make you you:

  • S: Spiritual gifts

  • H: Heart passions & desires

  • A: Abilities

  • P: Personality

  • E: Experience & journey

Although the letter to the Ephesians is addressed to many Christians, we are not all the same, or meant to fit a formula. God has made you unique, and wants you to understand how much you are loved for who you are.

19:15 Who do you let speak into your identity?

It helps for some people to speak into our identity, but for others we might need to be intentional about keeping a barrier from doing this.

An example of someone speaking helpfully into someone's identity is the nanny in "The Help" encouraging the child they were looking after that they were kind, smart and important.

An example of keeping a barrier was Seannah's recognition of stereotypes shaping how people may have seen her at work. Knowing who she is helped Seannah to resist being shaped by these views. Seannah formed this confidence in her identity through relationships, for example with "heavenly Father" God and "earthly father" Mal.

I am who God says I am. I am who my parents, who my friends who know me so well say I am, and I don’t have to be defined by what (other) people think of me.
— Seannah Calladine

Mal and Seannah also discussed this song from Moana as a good example of a person with a strong sense of identity from their background, relationships and experiences.

26:45 What is the spirit of wisdom and revelation being given to you?

Mal led the church to pray for wisdom and revelation about our identities so that we can get to know our heavenly Father better. Mal shared how he believed God had been speaking to him about his identity and calling, and Seannah prayed a prayer you may wish to hear and join in.

Practical exercise

This is the passage from Ephesians chapters 1 and 2 which you can print, insert your name and use to remind yourself of who God has made you to be.