Whose are you?

By David Noroña

"The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence. At last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. 'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.”

I suspect Alice was a creative. After all, look at the wondrous land she imagined in her dream.  And what a cast of characters, indeed: the Caterpillar, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, and so many more. Yet, we know that in some way all of them were, in fact, Alice -- or aspects of who Alice is.

It’s our job as storytellers to invent and in some sense to become our creations. How else can we know how to write them, sing them, dance them or act them. This is why knowing who you are becomes a matter of life and death. Identity is our anchor in the sea of our beautiful creations. Without it, we may just get lost inside the rabbit hole.

Just look at how many gifted geniuses have been taken over the last few years: Heath Ledger, Robin Williams, Michael Jackson… Each one of them stolen by the Thief, able to pick the lock of their front door: Identity. Who you are might very well be the most important question of your life.

When Jesus was in the wilderness being tested by the Enemy, the devil’s tactic was self-doubt. “If you are the son of God…,” it hissed. And though Jesus’ weapon of choice was the Word of God, His greatest defense was knowing that He was the Son of God. So who are you?

Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’”

It’s one thing to say that you know who you are now.  But when Fame, Fortune and Opportunity come knocking at your door, selling their counterfeit wares, what will you say then? How will you respond? Who might you become?

I’ve worked almost 30 years in the business -- Broadway, Off-Broadway, film and tv -- and I will confess my journey has been anything but smooth. It wasn’t till I came to the Bethel school of ministry that I finally came to the end of myself and to the beginning of my walk as a son of God.

It happened during a creativity elective, when renowned film and theater actress Diane Venora and I met for the first time. The conversation started innocently enough, until she put her hand on my chest and said, ”I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with you this year…”

What happened next I could have never expected. I buckled over at the sound of a Voice that whispered deep unto deep and said...

“Artists are not prostitutes. They are prophets who prophesy through character, story and emotion.”

Years of hurt and false identity were shed in a moment. I was forever changed by the sound of His Voice. It turns out that He defines us, not the other way around. And what He says is what I am.

You are more than just creative. You are made in the image of the Creator. You are more than just a writer. You are a son, a daughter of the Author. And your story in eternity begins and ends with the answer to one simple question: “Whose are you?” His. That's who you are.

Redding Performing Arts