I’ve long been inspired by the powerful coaching lessons found throughout the Scriptures. As a pastor, coach and coach trainer, it’s only natural for me to look to this ultimate source for inspiration and example.
Is there any end to the coaching wisdom in the New and Old Testaments? I wanted to find out, and so this article begins that journey, starting with Jacob’s story.
Whether it’s the start of a new year, a new week or a new day, many of us compile lists and goals of the things we want to do and accomplish. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, it’s important to get into “being” mode before jumping into “doing” mode. That way your actions can be grounded in your ultimate vision of what success looks like for you.
Getting into “being mode” is a lot easier when you know who you are. Jacob’s story in the Book of Genesis gives us a useful framework for turning inwards to answer three powerful questions about our own identity:
1. Who do others say you are?
In Genesis 25:26 we read, “After this, his brother was born, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; and so his name was Jacob.” Jacob’s name, literally, means “heel grabber,” a very unflattering name. Just imagine growing up with that stigma.
Who do others say you are? What names or labels have you been given in your lifetime, and how do those impact your own beliefs about what you can accomplish?
2. Who do you say you are?
We go on to read in Genesis 27: 18 & 19, “So Jacob went to his father and said, ‘My father’; and he said, ‘Here I am. Who are you, my son?'” And Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn…”
At a defining moment in his life, Jacob decided to change his name. He chose to take his brother’s name and be someone he wasn’t.
Who do you say you are? Really? Are you living and acting as your true self, or someone else? How does that feel?
3. Who does God say you are?
Then in Genesis 32: 28 we read, “And God said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel…'”
At another defining moment in his life, Jacob heard loud and clear who God said he was. Being called Israel began a period of life change, radical transformation and lasting healing for Jacob.
Who does God say you are? Spend time really discerning this. This may mean saying no to other tasks. It may require giving yourself some breathing space. Give yourself this gift.
What would it mean for you to live and be who you are in God’s eyes? How different could today be for you?
How do you plan to apply this suggestion to spend more time in “being mode”? More importantly, who will you be when you get there? The person others say you are, the person you say you are, or the person God says you are?