What makes you you? It’s the question of our time. Is it my genetics? Am I born this way? Or is it my upbringing, the way I was raised and taught? Are children a blank slate when they are born, waiting for society and experience to imprint on them? Or are their personality and choices already written into their genetic makeup?
What makes me me?
Psalm 139 is a great place to start. This psalm-song was written by a man called David. The youngest of eight brothers, David lived in the smallish town of Bethlehem in ancient Israel and worked as a shepherd. David was a nobody-in-particular. In 1 Samuel 16, even his Dad overlooks him. But despite all this, God sees him and knows him and loves him. God chooses him to be king of his people. The world may not have noticed him. But God does.
Understandably, David thinks this is just amazing. In Psalm 139:1-5, David is astonished that the God of the universe knows him intimately. He sings “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me” (v.1). You know who I am. You know what I’m doing during the day. You know me to my very depths. It is an awesome thing to have a friend who knows what you’re thinking, and gets what you’re going through. Well, God gets you.
He understands us completely. He knows exactly who we are. He knows exactly what we’re going through. He knows exactly how we’re feeling. He gets it. Everybody is somebody to God.
But it’s not just that God is like a super computer who has every fact on you and can name details from some distant throne. Not only does he get you, God’s got you. In verses 7-12 David sings of how God is everywhere, which means he never leaves us whatever we are going through. Wherever I am, “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (v. 10). It’s a way of saying “Wherever I go, God’s got my back”. God is there and he cares. You are precious to him. Even in the darkest points of our life God’s got you – he sees you, he knows you, he’s there for you, so we can turn to him for help.
And all this is because you are God’s Grand Design (vv. 13-16). “For you [God] created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (v. 13). We are God’s handiwork. He personally made us, and put every detail of us together. Even inside our mother’s womb, we matter to God because he is making us for relationship with him. As it says in verse 14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
This truth corrects two misunderstandings we can have about ourselves.
1. You are valuable.
A lot of people deep down, and sometimes not so deep, don’t actually think they are worth that much. They don’t think much of themselves and assume they have no value or worth compared to others. But that’s not how God sees you. God knows you in your very innermost being. He personally made you and gave you life. To him you are wonderful and remarkable.
2. You are valuable because God made you that way.
On the other hand, some people have no problem with the idea that they are wonderful and remarkable. They are so full of healthy self esteem they totally agree with that statement, but they take the credit for it themselves! They assume it’s all their doing. But notice in verse 14 David says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” He gives God the glory. I have been intricately made by God, and so God deserves to be praised.
Apparently, if you calculate the value of the elements that make up a human body (a bit of magnesium, some hydrogen, oxygen etc.) you’d get a figure of about $7. But, of course, that’s not where our value comes from. The Bible says our worth doesn’t come from the inherent value of our elements, but from who put us together and how he did it. God has created us in his image (Genesis 1). He personally breathed the breath of life into us (Genesis 2). That’s what makes us stand out in all of creation. We are not just physical beings, we have been made by God in his own image, with a spirit – God’s own breath – within us.
And all these truths are just multiplied above and beyond in Jesus.
God became a human in Jesus. So, God really gets you. He knows what it’s like to be tired, sad, hurting… he knows what it’s like to be human. Jesus died on the cross in our place. So, God’s really got you. He saves us from death and hell. Jesus rose so that we could live a new life as God’s perfect new grand design forever.
So who am I? How do I even know? You won’t understand who you are, until you know who you are in God. Our worth is found in God, and that never changes. What enormous freedom that gives! We don’t have to try to find our identity and worth in things that come and go, like money or success or others’ opinions. Who you really are is someone wondrously and personally made by our loving God. And that will never change. And this is just the beginning. As we’ll see, not only does God get you but, in Jesus, you get God.
 For example, see article by Anne Marie Helmenstine, ‘How much are the elements in your body worth?’, thoughtco.com, 25 August 2018 (viewed 30 Sept 2019): https://www.thoughtco.com/worth- of-your-elements-3976054.