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August 7, 2023

A season in Nigeria saw the ubiquitous distribution of motivational speakers, conferences, and quotable quotes. Back then, we could barely go a month without seeing one conference or the other, with a fantastic lineup of astute speakers and halls packed to the brim with the young and old, clenching notepads eager to be inspired to aspire to refire their passions 😂. I say there was a season, but perhaps even now, said trend continues, but I no longer see them as much—I doubt it, but perhaps. There was a season, and there was a reason for the season. I believe it had some impact in developing a vigour and passion for labour, inspiring a particular generation to strive towards something bigger than themselves—a trait that appears to be waning in later generations.

The flare of the motivational season may have faded—perhaps due to the inability of motivation to sustain a movement by itself — but now and then, we come across inspirational quotes and motivational sayings that get us fired up, feeling like the next best thing after soft bread, or painting a picture that shows that we have much more to give/live for. At face value, some of these quotes provide some “ginger”, but when some thought is given, they begin to look like “whining”. One such quote is that “ Everyone is unique” — and at the risk of waking a sleeping dog, reflect on the “all dreams are unique” statement about a recent world record 👩🏽‍🍳.

One of the core things these motivational expressions sought to address was identity, or one’s perception of their identity and abilities. This is understandable because one’s perception of their identity often forms the bedrock of their pursuits and creates the boundaries of their conceivable goals. One’s sense of identity is so important that it was the most contested subject during the devil’s temptation of Jesus recorded in Matthew 4 — both first and second temptations started with the phrase “if you are the son of God…”

A warped sense of identity is the root of several errors and misdeeds. The book of First Corinthians was written as Paul’s response to a letter sent to him by the Corinthian church containing questions in their hearts. However, it required a 6-chapter long discourse on our identity in Christ before beginning to answer said questions 🤯 — which is why Chapter 7 begins with “Now, concerning the things of which you wrote me” 😂, akin to saying, now that you have proper context, we can begin to address your “pressing matters/questions.” The subject of identity is so fundamental that it warranted a six (6) chapter-long prelude before providing answers, implying that the answers to the thousand and one “right now” questions we often have (owing to life’s lemons🍋 and allied matters🍹) are predicated on our identity.

If we remain firmly rooted in and conscious of our God-given, Jesus-purchased identity, we will have the wisdom to answer our realities’ “right now” questions. To lose sight of our identity would result in a striving to turn stones into bread — undue pressure for performance to placate a warped sense of self-worth and unhealthy comparisons. And this would only lead to futile attempts and frustrations, as the kingdom of God is not one of magic (i.e., turning stone to bread) but one of miracles (i.e., using five loaves to feed five thousand and some).

Let us get back to the quote in question. Logically speaking, if everyone is special/unique, no one is, right? Well, not exactly. While there is the argument for each person’s uniqueness using the biological proof of DNA and fingerprints, these data points allude more to humans being variants rather than being special.

Here’s, perhaps, a better analogy; think QR Codes.

QR Codes may look alike and have the same form and essential pattern or elements, but, like fingerprints, each one is unique in appearance. The tiny boxes/pixels move around (unless it’s an exact copy of the same, like a photograph of you or multiple copies of your fingerprint). However, in addition to being unique (like DNA and fingerprints), each QR Code points to a different location on the web or other data point — and this is where purpose comes in. Beyond the uniqueness of each person’s appearance and form, there is a uniqueness of purpose, and this is what makes each person special.

In Jeremiah 1:5, we see that purpose necessitated each person’s birthing on earth; it is what chooses the where, the what, and the how of your birth. This fact is corroborated by Psalm 139:13–16. Before you had a body, you were a thought/substance/purpose with God, and this purpose was the basis of the “fashioning of your days”—the where, the what, and the how — before they were.

So although we may share several similarities, we all have unique destinies and particular purposes. And while we generally run the same Christian race, our scoreboards may vary. As seen with Apostle Peter (Matthew 16:13–19), it is as we press into God — from whom we came — that these special purposes are revealed. It would take more than a few words to unpack this, so I urge you to listen to the message “Targeted”, where Pastor Dami teaches on this comprehensively.

As you go into the week, each time you catch your reflection while getting ready for work or on the window pane of a vehicle, remember that you are indeed unique and special; your life, like a QR code, is a pointer meant to display and direct people to special thoughts, attributes, and purposes in God for your generation.

Do have a Blessed Week.

Itoro Nehemiah


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