Let’s start with the big picture. You—and every person in the world—are “offspring of God” (Acts 17:29). He created your spirit, which joined your physical body when you were born to mortal parents. So what does that mean about who you are?
Who Am I?
What’s my place in the world? What is my purpose? Does my life have meaning?
These are questions of the soul but beyond being merely philosophical, they can be answered—and can influence how you live. The Bible and other scriptures reveal that you are a child of God with a unique identity and purpose.
You are a child of God
God is your Heavenly Father
In the Bible, it plainly states that “all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6). Jesus confirmed that God is literally “your Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). As such, you have inherited spiritual traits from God, just like you’ve inherited physical, genetic traits from your mortal parents. These spiritual characteristics are unique to you, and they can help you feel connected with your Heavenly Father.
God knows you
Yes, everyone around you is one of God’s children, too. But He knows you specifically. Jesus taught that God the Father watches over all of His creations—a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without the Father knowing it (see Matthew 10:29). And when it comes to you, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:30–31).
God loves you
Just as a mortal father provides for his family, God wants to help His children to be happy, and so He has given us the earth and everything in it—including all the marvels of nature. To help protect us and also to help us grow, God’s plan involves family and home but also problems and trials (we’ll talk more about these in a minute). And as a father, God loves you, watches out for you, and wants to talk with you. This communication happens through prayer, and “your Father which is in heaven [will] give good things to them that ask him” (Matthew 7:11).
You are part of a family
God wants you to be cared for as He would care for you as His child. That’s why God’s plan involves families—they provide ready-made relationships for every person that’s born. No family is perfect. But your identity is tied to your family (past and present), and you can make an impact on that family now and in the future.
Your physical identity is largely influenced by your family
When you’re born, you have an instant identity: a physical body composed of genetic traits inherited from your birth parents. Your physical characteristics are probably the first way other people recognize you and may be what you use to describe yourself. But there’s much more to you than skin color or body type.
Your spirit is also shaped largely by your family
A big part of who you are has nothing to do with how you look, but it likewise comes largely from your family. Your spirit—your personality and the part of you that makes decisions—has probably also been highly influenced by your family and surroundings. That’s part of why family is such an important part of God’s plan; God wants families to support each other, be a strength to each other in times of trouble, and help each other become better people.
Your past and future are linked to your family
Your family name may reflect attributes and values that have been developed over generations. If you think about it, much of your identity—maybe where you live, what you believe, or even what you do for your livelihood—may have been impacted by previous generations. Your ancestors are a big part of who you are; learning more about them through studying your genealogy (tracing your family’s history) can answer a lot of questions about you. You belong to a bigger picture. And you’re part of making it grow.
You are one of a kind
Your eyes might be your mom’s. Maybe you’ve got your father’s demeanor. You and your brother might have many of the same opinions. But as much as you share with your family, you are an individual like no other. Your Heavenly Father created you with unique strengths and flaws and with an eternal potential He hopes you will fulfill.
You have unique talents—and problems.
God created your spirit to be unlike any other. Your combination of strengths, personality traits, and innate abilities are designed to make you unique as well as to help you overcome the problems you’ll encounter in life. The Apostle Paul explained, “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (1 Corinthians 12:7). As a loving Heavenly Father, God allows you to face challenges so that you can learn and become a better person.
You are individually blessed with real gifts of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:8–11), and God has also given commandments that direct the ways you should act. Through following God’s commandments and seeking His will, you can overcome any difficulty you face. For “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7).
You have a purpose.
Because He’s your Father, God wants you to be happy. He can help you achieve that happiness by sharing His blessings with you and giving you loving direction. But God knows that “everlasting joy” (D&C 101:18) comes after this life. His ultimate purpose for you is to return to His presence. You can do this by using your talents and spiritual gifts to prove that you are obeying the two greatest commandments: that you love the Lord your God and that you love your neighbor (see Matthew 22:37–39). One way you can show that love to God and others is by serving those around you. Serving God and His children brings personal fulfillment like nothing else can.
You choose your destiny
You exist in this life because God wants to see what you can do and the choices you’ll make. He’s given you the ultimate test—to make it back to His presence—and He’s given you instructions on how to do it, the talents to help you succeed, and some tough obstacles to prove yourself. How you ultimately respond to these circumstances is likely how you will answer to God. “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . So then every one of us shall give account of himself [or herself] to God” (Romans 14:10, 11).
As a child of God, your spirit—the part that truly makes you you—never goes away. But you have the power to change what you become through the choices you make. Each good choice makes you a better person and brings you that much closer to God.
And as you make good choices, God will guide you to know how to draw closer to Him. From the Book of Mormon we learn this truth: “For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have” (2 Nephi 28:30).
Who am I?
God knows who you are. You are His child. He is watching over you and knows exactly the difficulties you face—and He knows exactly the abilities you have been given to overcome them. He wants nothing more than to see you succeed and reach your full potential and to ultimately have you and your family rejoin His family in glory forever.