Slam Book Reflections: Who Are You?

A famous Christian song with the title, Who Am I by Casting Crowns, hit not only the Christian airwaves but even reached the main stream. In fact, even fishball vendors and jeepney drivers listen to it. The song has become a commodity even to the simplest of people. Yet, it tells us of the worthlessness of man when compared with the God who created the heaven and the earth. While the song has faced the scrutiny of many conservatives even those within our own backyard, the fact remains that the song has touched a lot of hearts especially those who have been searching for meaning in their lives.

Still, the unanswered question remains: Who Am I? Where are you going? Why are we here?

A few months ago, a colleague and friend was about to leave the clinic to tend to family business. We’ve been friends since college and became workmates. She told us, that as a parting gift, she would like all of us to fill this up. I never knew that I could still see the likes of this in this day and age. For the 70s to the 90s kids, this is called the slam book.

One memorable aspect of our generation is this object. I call to your attention, this book called the slam book.  Long before this other book called facebook, this book is the king. During a time when the best technological advancement is a pen and paper, students, mostly ladies, pass around this book, you fill it out over night or more than over night, and then read the other entries with giggles. I am not sure if the members of the collegiate ministry could relate to this. Pero sigurado ako, many of the yuppies and adults can relate to this – and also deny that they can relate.

The questions may all sound simple. But for some, it is where the best kept secrets are to be found. It is where introspection is possible. It tells more about your core beliefs than you could possibly imagine. And of course the first question there is:

NAME: __________________________________

Who are we really?  It is easy to give a name nowadays but who are you really?

In ancient times, the name of the person reflects what happened during their time of birth or the general condition of the parents. Adam meant “man,” Eve meant “taken out of man.” Noah meant “comfort or rest.” Abraham meant “the Father of many nations.” Isaac meant “laughter.” Jacob meant “leg-puller.” Israel meant “persevere with God.” Emmanuel meant “God with us.” Jesus meant “God saves.”

Nowadays, I don’t know how parents gave names to their children. How they arrived at a 3-4 word name is amazing. Even my name is a wonder. I was never named after a passage in a book or the Bible. But this isn’t about me, so I won’t tell. After all, we all have different stories surrounding our names, but in the end, who are we really? Some of us may have beautiful names, but do we live up to our names?

Our name means a lot to us, it is our identity.

Identity is one of the biggest struggles of the youth. By the time we reach the early teens, we begin to wonder sometimes in agony, sometimes in tears, often times in despair, who am I?

As young-and-yet-to-be-molded mind, we seem to be too open to experiment on who we are and what we would like to do in our life. Anything goes so to speak. Factor in the peer pressure, the social media standards and many others that would eventually define us. Do you follow the trends to be “in” or do you try to carve out your own path to succeed in your own way?

So who are we? The Bible’s answer is simple:

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”

Matthew 5:13-14

Consider the case, a young Joseph was sent to lead the Egyptians out of famine. A young Gideon took heed of refining the original 300 men who fought and won against an army of thousands. A young Samuel was called to serve God to anoint two generations of Israel. A young Israelite servant was called to send Naaman to the prophet Elisha. A young Jesus Christ confounded the lawyers and doctors of his time. They chose to live up to their names. They are youth who are pace makers, who lead the way, who contributed to society because that was their identity.

Taking their example, they were young men and women who took ear to God’s word and became light to a dark Israel. They added flavor to the simmering melting pot that was Israel. We are pace makers. We are the generation that would determine if the future would be bright and colorful or dull and meaningless. We are the children of God who were called to keep the world ablaze.

That is who we are. We are defined by what we do. What we do as Christians is to be like Christ. Why don’t we leave our real identity to the one who created us and loved us first.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

Psalm 139:1-4

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