Identity and Purpose, what is the relationship between the two? The interview has much to say about this question.
Who is John Jedidiah Obisesan?
As an artist in my own sphere, I have come to realize that even the seeming perfect and seamless piece undergoes upgrade from time to time just to stay aloof and in retrospect. So when asked this sort of question, I could address that in different respects: who I was, who I am and who I know myself to have become.
But for the sake of the normal response expectations, I’ll just refer to who I am.
I am John Jedidiah Obisesan as you have said. Permit me to slot in my initial second name Oladipupo.
I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and I’ve been for some years now. As a lover of God’s foremost creations before man.
I opted in to study Agricultural Engineering at the Federal University of Technology Akure. I graduated from the school after coupling an additional skill of Graphics Designing which I have since then majored in.
I will not exactly refer to myself as a writer but I do write, from time to time. Also I will not refer to myself as immensely creative but I depend my inspirations and meditations as my father in heaven gives grace. I am (proudly) the last born in a family of four kids.
Why these choice of names, have you ever asked?
My choice of names are very significant. I will love to first point out that the names given to me from onset were John Oladipupo. But after an unforgettable encounter with God’s love, I considered myself loved enough to be named the beloved of God; which I believe my parents had seen before giving me the name Ayanfe (I don’t really answer that though) a name that means The Beloved. That encounter brought about the name Jedidiah.
John on the other hand, also holds incomparable importance to me not just in its meaning (the grace and the mercy of God) but also in the two pronounced biblical personalities that answered it (John the Baptist and John the beloved).
I have seen these two identities reflect in me even in the few days I have journeyed in this world. Though more of the beloved though.
Growing up, with respect to the theme, what was your greatest challenge?
Something I would really love to point out about my characteristic nature is the fact that I am of a moderate height, not pitiful at all but advantageous. It exposed me to bullying, being an object of jests and being looked down upon. The first lesson that taught me was never to attempt fighting for myself but to depend on God and his gifts of friends and associates.
Growing up as a believer wasn’t a challenge, it was the life I had always learnt and known. Being studious wasn’t a problem either, I had the smart gene brewing within my veins.
The greatest challenge I faced was that of inferiority and my height at the peak of my reasons. This made me sacrifice all the so called ‘good qualities’ then on the table of acceptance from others. The more I fought for it the more I stood out.
The devil will never want to feature a bright light in a dark circle because he knows the light will dispel his darkness. I didn’t realize this, so I struggled to be like everyone else and the more I tried, the more I failed. Instead of granting my blind ambition to join the crowd, God made me glow. I can still recollect how I got requests from both teachers and classmates to help them with artistic works.
Also I was given a creative mind (remember I said I won’t refer to myself as creative but I depend on God for ideas). There was a custom then in my junior secondary school days. During the break time, friends gathered around me as I told them stories from movies I had seen and when the movie had ended, I would create my own movies and tell it to them. All those days, I ignorantly wanted to be like them, but thanks to God who never granted that wish.
When can you say you discovered who you really are?
I cannot say I have the overall comprehension of who I am, as I said earlier, I am a work piece in the hands of my Lord. I have always had some basic answers to questions that I later discovered were really challenging for other people to solve. There were times in my life that I was very alone.
For about the span of a year, I spent more than half of everyday alone and at the time, I had no phone or gadgets to keep busy with. I discovered my personal desires in this time; some things that fascinated me and helped me through the lonely phase. This was before I got admission to the University at all and in those days, I was a believer in the God of my parents. So, my discoveries were not entirely centered on God but as I later got to realize, they were guided by God.
The moment I knew and laid hands upon what gave me the most satisfaction in life, my only remaining purpose for living became to please God.
So, since that time, God has always led me to places and through circumstances he has designed to leave me with only one purpose for life; Pleasing Him.
Please note that I never said God gave me everything I wanted, I have been taught important lessons through lack and want, failures and disappointments, anger and displeasures, but through all these things, I realized that though the feeling of fulfilment is always hungry for more, true satisfaction lies in the little things that God will never deny his beloved. That was my discovery of “myself”.
As I progressed in my walk with God, I realized that not only does He have a destiny for me, His purpose for me was to live everyday as a blind follower of His. I once had a challenge that drove me to look up to God and plead so much. When I wasn’t pleased with the response I got (which was silence), I told Him, “do what you please, I have come too far to go back now”. And He did.
My discovery of myself isn’t a deep revelation as some had it, it wasn’t an encounter with a really bright light. It was just a simple but ever imprinted realization that God’s will is the only item left to accomplish on my to-do-list. And this began long before I could honestly track in time.
As a person, what defines you?
I want to believe I have answered a bit of this question in the previous responses of mine, but for the sake of emphasis, I will respond using a few words. Simplicity, sincerity and love. These words define me. Do not be deceived, though these things look or sound so unreal, perfect isn’t one of them. They are just boxes within which I have found myself to hover in for some years now.
I have always preferred simplicity over complexity. It took a whole lot of effort for me to decide to explore depths of spirituality, I derived utmost contention from just following as the Lord leads, nothing more. This reminds me of John the Baptist who launched a revolution based on the instruction that whosoever he sees the Spirit come upon in the form of a dove is the messiah and didn’t ask for more. I did tell you we were similar, right? You can choose to call me lazy, but that is just me being sincere.
How can love define a person?Honestly, I am still comprehending that. But, I understand that I have found myself increasingly indebted to love and I try to spend as many privileges I get to reciprocate it even though I haven’t fully comprehended its meaning yet. That is why I pray and believe it is a word that should define me.
Does Identity crisis really exist?
Yes they do. I was forced to face it and I think everyone has their own share of it. There will be no desire for self-discovery if the essence of life (who we are and who we were meant to be) was never questioned. When a man gets unsure of who he is, he seek answers and this curiosity is the vehicle upon which I believe purposeful living rides. The difference between a believer in God and an unbeliever facing this challenge is just where they source for answers.
For a true believer, being the woman that anointed the Lord in preparation for his burial could be sufficient a reason for life, just the same way John was satisfied being the forerunner of the Messiah. But this challenge becomes a major crisis when ambitious and insatiable cravings for recognition comes in play. I believe God has a plan for everyone and whether he reveals it in an instant or decides to hoard some details for a while, it ought to be sufficient for a man to follow Him. It becomes increasingly difficult when we see only the path ahead of us and we regard it insufficient.
This is because God will always ensure we have the minimum of one path to lay our foot on and when we trust Him enough to follow it, we are a foot closer to who we were meant to be.
The opinion of people in relation to who we are, does it really matter?
I believe strongly that it does. The one thing we just have to hold dear is that our actions or reactions must not be fueled by what people say. This is because the crowd is always susceptible to influence. We are not meant to make decisions based on what people say, but we are permitted to consider them in our actions as a subset of obedience to God. He did tell us to try our best to live at peace with all men.
Identity and Purpose, is there any relationship between these two?
I will love to use this analogy. King David was an obvious lover of nature and with the way he cared for his father’s flock, I will suggest that he loved them too. He enjoyed being a shepherd because if he didn’t, he would be able to justify the loss of the flock to wild animals as an act of self-preservation. He was also a poet and a skilful man in the art of music. Above all, he loved God and walked before Him.
With these things, he was known and described among his people. In these things, he derived utmost satisfaction and fulfillment. When the time came for the Lord to plant him on the throne, he possessed both the skillfulness of his hands and integrity in his heart. The qualities that once defined him were raw materials for the actualization of his purpose.
Just the same way a potter will design a handle for a cup and not build one in a plate, God designs in our identity the qualities that will be needed to live a life of purpose.
What is your advice to people struggling to accept who they are?
I believe the struggle begins when we think who we are is not good enough, either by our scale of measurement or God’s. The truth is God knows exactly who we are and he loves us all the same. He can never be wrong in judgment and after he has examined our lives, he sees us as people worth His love, care and sacrifice. He sees who we really are as good enough for His attention. So, that leaves us who think in ourselves that we are not good enough.
Permit me to ask, good enough for what? Is it enough to be accepted by friends, enough to be who we want to be, enough to own the world or good enough to make heaven?
If you were permitted to redesign yourself, what would you have removed or installed? Remember that you are unaware of what tomorrow holds, so you can’t really say whether who you are now is all you need to survive tomorrow.
When I was in the University and I was failing repeatedly, I wanted to trade my mind for those that the brilliant students carry. Now, I cannot be less grateful for this beautiful mind the Lord has blessed me with. Our myopic view sometimes deceive us and that is why we need to trust and rely on the All Knowing God, who loves us to death.
Stop struggling with who you are and embrace it, then you will discover that there is bliss in uniqueness and beauty in being different.
‘Accept who you are’ what exactly does this mean? Is it advantageous or a disadvantage?
If you were asked the question ‘who are you?’ what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it who people have known you to be or who God has named you to be?
Who you are is who God is raising you to be. Not who you are in the face of the crowd. Everyone saw the Saul that persecuted the church while God saw a man He would raise to carry the good news to the gentiles. When Paul realized the way God saw him, he didn’t struggle with it, he embraced it and even though it took years of hidden and rigorous training with studies, he became it.
Who you are can never be found in the judgments or descriptions of men (though God can use them), but ultimately, the identity of yourself that you must accept and embrace is the one God gives you.
And of course, it is of great gain, eventually. No one sees it at first, and even if you did, you will not fully comprehend what it will be like on the other end of obedience. Let us look at Jesus who came into the world knowing exactly who he was. He got to the point of His greatest sacrifice and He was almost shaken, but after receiving comfort, he went on till he was glorified and given that great name.
This brings me to the last thing I will say about this, you cannot really accept who God wants you to be without the help of the Comforter (Holy Spirit). He is the one who will succor you in the days when you feel you are not good enough and He is the one who will guide you in becoming exactly who God has made you to be.
Thank you so much sir. How can we contact you on social media?
- Facebook : Jedidiah Obisesan
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- Whatsapp: 07069360219