Music Release: “Tell Me Who I Am”

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Advent, Music, Pop Culture, Religious Life, Spirituality, The Jesuits

Last May I released a song called “Tell Me Who I Am.” The song offers a candid insight into my mind at a time of deep interior wrestling. I found myself unable to shake a feeling of deep insecurity. This was so much more than a lack of confidence in my abilities. It was a kind of existential insecurity. I kept searching inside myself for an answer to the chronic question of the human person: “Who am I? Who is this person that I call myself?” As I sifted through all the possible answers, none of them seemed satisfying. Lists of what I did, looked like, where I came from, and other characteristics did not answer the seemingly simple plea from the deep part of my heart: “Tell me who I am!”

What I intuited then and see now is that I cannot really tell myself who I am. That intuition is evident in the hook of this song where I beg God to tell me who I am. I believe everyone has that intuition. We can see it in our dissatisfaction with human answers: these can only describe parts of who we are. Here is the key: only God can tell us who we are in a way that is complete, true, and satisfying. God is the one who creates us, who gives us life, who forms us in the very image and likeness of God. God is the one who knows us and loves us perfectly. 

As I reflect on the song now, several months later, I have realized that I was asking the wrong question for the answer I desired. If I really want to know the answer to “Who am I?” I need to ask God “Who are You?” Since I am made in God’s image and likeness and for relationship with God I cannot have satisfying knowledge of myself without having knowledge of God. My plea ought to be “Tell me who You are!”

The good news is that God does not hide from us who seek Him. Quite the opposite! We are reminded in this liturgical season of Advent that God pursues us even to the point of becoming a human being. We appropriately call Him “Emmanuel – God with us.” Jesus is not only physically present, but with us in all aspects of our humanity, except sin. He knows our human experience because He experienced it fully. As you listen to “Tell Me Who I Am” I invite you to reflect on what is keeping you from turning to God and asking “Who are You?” I encourage you to see and surrender your own insecurities to the love of God who pursues you.

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Timothy Bishop, SJ   /   All posts by Timothy