Who are you? If you were to begin answering that question, where would you start? As a young man I went through a rite of passage ceremony with my youth ministry and the great Steve Janicello where he posed this question to us. I walked into a dark room and sat in front of Steve and Marty wearing some weird hooded robes and between us was a small table with three lit candles, which were the only source of light in the room. I was the last person to be taken into the room and I had not seen any of the previous participants return after being taken away so I was a little uneasy from the start.
“Who are you?” Steve asked in a booming voice. “Scot Luman” I quivered. Immediately, whoosh, he blew out the first candle. I took that to mean that he didn’t like my answer and that I only got two more chances. “Who are you!?” he asked, voice booming even more. I quickly deduced that this was not a logical thing but that he was looking for something spiritual considering he was a pastor and this was a church camp. While I don’t remember my exact words I know that I whimpered out something about being a child of the king and an ambassador of the gospel. Whoosh! Out goes candle number two. Almost screaming now Steve inquires again, “WHO ARE YOU!?” I was stunned, I had no idea what to say but I knew that if the third candle went out I was doomed to the same fate as those who had never returned. I had no other choice but to gravel and so in a moment of absolute desperation I squeaked out a single word in hopes that it would save me, “mercy?” WHOOSH! I was terrified at this point. I had seen and heard some crazy things about these pentecostals so I knew what they were capable of!
Steve lit the center candle and began to talk to me about who he had seen me to be and what he believed God had created me for. I don’t remember his words exactly but I know they spoke into the heart of a lost 19 year old who desperately needed to know who he was and why he existed. Then he gave me my nickname as he had done with so many other young men that had gone before me and so many who would come after me. I was Lizzy. The lights came on and only then did I realize that all the guys that had already experienced this were hiding silently in the room. They all jumped me and hugged me and laughed about my cry for mercy which told me one thing, that I belonged.
Firstly, I tell you that story because I think it’s hilarious and I wanted to fit it in somewhere, but secondly because it sheds a little bit of light on how we define ourselves. Had there been more candles I likely would have said, “I am the son of Kries and Beverly, I am a musician, I am an athlete, I am creative, etc.” and while all of these things are true about me if they were taken away I would still be me. These are things about me and things that I do but they do not, and cannot define me. Somewhere along the way we came to believe that we are the total sum of our successes and failures. If we can just make it to the end of our days and our successes outweigh our failures than we have made it. What a sad and exhausting way to live.
For many years I was defined by my circumstances, my choices, and failures, but over the last 6 years I have spent a lot of time fighting against the false definitions that I had picked up along the way. Through a lot of soul searching I came to see that my mistakes shaped me but didn’t make me. My talents are wonderful gifts that were given to me but that don’t dictate my value. My circumstances are simply a context created for me to live out who I already am rather than dictate who I must be. So who am I? Well, I am glad you asked.
I am Scot Richard Luman. There is one of me in this world. I was created on purpose with a purpose and I have been uniquely shaped throughout my life so that I can fulfill that purpose. I am compassionate, honest, humble, and kind. I have many character defects that are a work in progress and I am aware that there are many that I still do not see. I am a loving and sacrificial man who believes very strongly in the principles modeled for us by Jesus, the Christ, and though I fail to act upon those principles at times, I am trusting that He is not done with me. I am a passionate creator of meaningful things and I desire to cultivate meaning in the lives of others. I fully recognize that this is a working definition which can only be altered by the one who defines me, creator God. My role is to remain connected to him so that I can respond to the corrections He might make as I live this life that He has given me to live. I am a truth advocate because I believe that living honestly is the only life worth living and I desire to see others get set free from the stagnant darkness that is purposeless hiding. I am Scot Richard Luman, I am unique and my purpose is unique as well so I will not sell myself out to lesser callings because in doing so, the world will not be as God designed.
So, again I ask, who are you?
Introduce yourself in the comments below!