Who Am I? – by Nicole Johnson

Nicole JohnsonAfter putting her children to bed, a mother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse, took off her makeup, and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. At last she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard her three-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was that?”

I wonder the same thing about myself! Between dress-up evenings, afternoon runs to the grocery store in sweats, and stay-in-my-pajamas-and-work mornings, I stay in wardrobe confusion. From changing diapers to exchanging business cards to rearranging furniture, the tasks that we perform during the day are no help in determining who we are. We can do anything, but that doesn’t mean we want it to define us. Bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan, changing a flat on the way home, starting to feel like I’m a man! But I’m a wooooman. No wonder we are confused about who we are . . . .

Who am I? Have you ever lain awake at night asking this question? I take that back. Most women work too hard to miss sleep by lying awake at night, much less asking questions! So the questions probably come at other times. Who am I? Do you ever feel that you’re faking your life? That you’re living someone else’s life, and you’re not sure whose? You wonder how you got to this place of disguise. You want to give yourself to God, but what self are you going to give?

Your work life? What you do doesn’t determine who you are. Your beauty? What you wear or the hairstyle you sport, or how much makeup you have on isn’t necessarily the “real you.” Your relationships? All your roles as wife, mother, and friend are not the sum total of your identity. So what do we give and who are we?

The answer is (D), all of the above.

We are like onions. We can’t merely peel away all the layers, because they are us, as long as they are true to the core. You don’t get to the middle of an onion and find an apple core. The onion begins at the core, and each and every layer builds upon the “onion-ness” inside. An authentic life and self is one in which the layers on the outside are merely expressions of the core on the inside.

Excerpted from Laughter is the Spice of Life © 2004 by Thomas Nelson. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

At 2011 Imagine events, long-time Women of Faith dramatist Nicole Johnson is stepping out of “character” and into her real life, telling her own story for the first time on the Women of Faith stage. Find an event near you.


  1. 3 years ago
    Michele. says

    Nicole, I love, love,love your work!!! Is there every an opportunity to work with you on one of your dramas? Just wondering. It would be such an honor!

  2. It took me close to 40 years to get to the core of who I am. I know now that I am a loved daughter of God, fully dependent on Him for my day to day needs.

    Now that I know who I am I have been teaching my daughter how to know who she is…She is soaring as a loved daughter of God! How thankful I am that she didn’t have to wait 40 years!

  3. 3 years ago
    Beth says

    Thank you Nicole. I too am an older Mom. I was a stay at home Mom for most of my years. I feel that I’ve lost the sense of who I am now that I work two jobs. There is hope and healing in the hours I spend in devotions. I love God and I know He loves me.


  4. 3 years ago
    daniella says

    I love this post, most especially this part “Who am I? Have you ever lain awake at night asking this question? I take that back. Most women work too hard to miss sleep by lying awake at night, much less asking questions!”
    Too tired to pray, then to add the part of thinking. God help us in Jesus name. Amen

  5. 3 years ago
    Edith Blakeslee says

    Hi Nicole, So good to read of your day and yes I wonder who I am now that Thursday would of been Ben and my 39the anniversary but he went home to be with the Jesus Dec 6 2004 and I am still wondering who I am. The business I worked at for 30 years sold out to a biggger company and I was unemployed for one and half years which was good for I was able to go and help others and do mission trips and just felt such a part of life. Now Im working Thank God yet the time is not there and money is barely enough to get buy and then I read your message and I recall the 6 woman of faith of have been to and how I just felt like I sitting on the porch with all of you. It brought tears to my eyes and recall the first time I seen you I was that younger Lady. Now I dont know who I am yet I know who I do belong to and that is Lord,our Father the one that will never leave me. So thanks for the hope that you bring and now Im going to go peel an onion to put in my salad for our church picnic at the park tomorrow. Blessing and may the peace of Christ be with you, your family and everyone with Women Of Faith. Your Sister in Christ Edie

  6. Look forward your skits Nicole.
    Ladies, I’m giving away two pair of Honda Center Suite tickets. Enter today at http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/WomenofFaith2011Giveaway.aspx

  7. 3 years ago
    Pat Stuart says

    I loved this. I feel the same. It really hit home and gave me a good chuckle. I can hardly wait for the conference here in Atlanta. We will have laughs and tears and heart changing moments.
    Thanks so much.

  8. 3 years ago
    Tami Huffman says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m in one of the most difficult situations I’ve been in right now, and had put God on the “back burner” of my life. God has my attention and I am putting God first in my life again, reading my bible, and praying more than I think I have in my entire life of 45 years. God is great and faithful!

  9. I never felt more “myself” and comfortable in my own “skin” than when I was an at home mom. As I started back to work, and my first child left for college, and as I aged and began to look and feel different, I’ve lost the sense of who I am. I am sad about this. Sometimes I wish I could get the past back, or fast forward to the future. I have learned that I got too comfortable in wearing my “hats.” It is okay that I found so much joy and satisfaction in being a mom, but being a child of God is and should be what defines me the most. What I need to do is a personal bible study of who I am “in Christ.” Because that never changes over time. Time will never change who I am in Christ, just make me more beautiful.

    • 3 years ago
      Laurie says

      I too am no longer comfortable in my own skin. I find myself mourning the loss of so many hats and youth that vanished I don’t know when.Who am I now? I know I must cling to God and pray that He show me who He has made me to be. I long to be more beautiful in Christ and be a blessing to those around me. Thanks for your comments, they really helped me see.

  10. 3 years ago
    Debbie says

    Went to Columbus’ WOF… Nicole has ALWAYS been my fave of all the gals!! She’s dynamic! Thanks!

  11. This is so true We have to be all of the above. God truly knows who we really are. We can trust that He knows us in each disguise.

  12. 3 years ago
    Melissa says

    I am not married and I don’t have kids, but I have a job that, at times, is my life. It’s amazing how wrapped up in it I can get. I am amazed at women who have jobs and keep the household under control. They are superheros!!

  13. I think life is never more real and my identity never more solid than when I’m living out my faith daily. When I’m depending on God for all my strength and being, it’s so easy to answer “who am I?”

  14. 3 years ago
    Sharon Williams says

    Isn’t that so true, only the other week I asked and answered myself ‘who am I? And after the negatives the enemy bombards me with, unlike thinking myself as an onion.hmmm..lol I thought myself as someone that God had chosen to bare His name…The enemy will always suggest that which we were, is what we are, but women of God…We are now precious!!

    Always good to encourage each other hey….Be blessed

  15. 3 years ago
    Dorothy Folkman says

    I was working home health for many years. I’ve spent most of my life taking care of people. That defined me. That is who I was. Now that I can’t work in the profession God put me in, due to unresolved health issues, I really don’t know who I am. For me life is over.

  16. Love this post! I can so relate! Thanks for sharing!