When you hear the phrase, “Do be do be do”  what comes to mind? If you said Frank Sinatra, give yourself a gold star.

He made the phrase famous when he substituted it for lyrics in a recording of Strangers In The Night. The song was written by Rodgers (music) and Hammerstein (lyrics), for the play South Pacific.

Having been a fan and student of Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics, I don’t think Sinatra improved them with his placeholder substitution. But he did create a memorable phrase, and it turns out to be one we can use!

Be that

Most people I know (including yours truly) spend a lot of time thinking about what to do. Actually when I say “a lot of time,” I mean in totality. Rarely do we ponder long over a choice of tasks. We consider two or three, rationalize our way to the one we’d really rather do, and then do it.

Of course there are people — all of us occasionally — who know a task must be finished by some deadline, so they do that.

That is all about doing, though, and I want to talk about being.

I know Sinatra put “do” before “be,” and he should have. Be Do Be Do Be just doesn’t work — I’m a lyricist, so I know these things — but being comes before doing in life, so let it be. (See what I did there with a whole different lyric?)

Who should you be? When it comes to being, there is only one of you, so you should be that.

Or, to put it plainly, your first responsibility in life is to be the person God made you to be.

I can easily imagine some fellow taking that sentence out of context, claiming God made him to be Superman, and leaping off a tall building.

With even less effort I can imagine some person claiming God made them to be a Himalayan marmot and moving to Tibet. If that is you, don’t do it. Even if you love Tibet.

How do you know?

There is more to finding out who God made you to be than simply consulting your own desires. Your desires should be consulted, but they should never be the sole determining factor. They probably aren’t even the most important factor.

“Who am I?” is also a different question than “What should I do?” They are both excellent questions to begin pondering once a person reaches the age of reasoning. They are unlikely to be answered then, but the thinking should begin then.

Here are some suggestions that will help you find the answer, whether you have been searching for decades or are just beginning to ponder the question of who God made you to be.

A chair was created to be a chair, not to be a ladder. A ladder was created for elevation, not for seating. That’s what creators do, and your creator made you to be you.

It’s fine if you think God did not create you. Even so, the possibility is something you might want to roll around in your mind as you seek your true identity. Remember this: you are unique, and you are not random.

David (the one who killed Goliath), wrote this to God:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Later in that same Psalm David says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Who you are is a partnership. God has “knitted you together” and you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” But you were also created with free will. You have choices to make.

This is your life

Looking back, who have you been when there was no external pressure to force you in a particular direction?

Think of water flowing downhill, as it always does. If you interrupt that flow with a rock or a tree or your foot, you can get it to move in another direction. Peer pressure, financial pressure, and all sorts of other pressures can do the same to your being.

What you want to know is the flow of your life without interruptions or artificial redirections.

Circumstances can also cause us to behave (notice the “be” in behave?) in ways that aren’t us. Take circumstances into consideration when you are looking at your life. Sometimes they are like external pressures that force us off our path, but sometimes they are actually revealing, showing us who we are inside.

While this is about who you are in your heart and soul, your physical being matters too. Were you born with one limb missing? An extra chromosome? No eyesight? Superior strength? All of that is you.

It is important for you to be honest in your assessment of who you have been, including times when your behavior made you uncomfortable — often a way to learn who you are not. Once as a teenager I was talked into taking part in some childish pranks on Halloween. I didn’t like it but I liked my friends and went along with it, uncomfortable but smiling and definitely participating.

Oddly, I was actually relieved when we were busted. Practical jokes and pranks? I know that’s not me.

Phone a friend

Ask your best friends to describe you to you. They will tell you who you are. “You’re kind. You’re funny. You care about people.” Statements like that give you a great picture of you.

And while you’re asking others, ask God. He might answer in unexpected ways.

Speaking of friends, notice who you hang with. Often we admire our friends because they make us better and we make them better. It’s another great way to get insight into you.

After a while you will begin to know you. You’ll know who you are, and you’ll know how you could be an even better you.

Just don’t be somebody else. We need you.

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