What Shapes Your Identity

A collage of diverse cultural symbols, representing influences on personal identity

What Shapes Your Identity

Today, I’d like to revisit a couple of significant “firsts” in my life, as these pivotal moments have played a crucial role in shaping my identity.

The initial “first” (quite a mouthful, lol) marks my debut car accident. Back then, I had just begun seeing Jenna and was a high school junior. Months before dating Jenna, I snagged a sweet deal on a slightly used Ford Ranger, only four years old! Despite a few quirks, it was in splendid condition, especially for a high schooler.

Skipping ahead a bit, shortly after Jenna and I started dating, I rose early one day to fetch a friend from the other side of the county for an FFA event. Consequently, I found myself up earlier than usual. Following the day’s activities, I took Jenna out for a date, albeit cutting it short as fatigue crept in.

As I headed home, approximately five miles away from my house, exhaustion took its toll, and I drifted off the road, succumbing to sleep. All I recall from the incident is the jolt as I launched over a county road, evoking images straight out of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” I shut my eyes tight, bracing for the inevitable.

Moments later, I found myself jarringly awakened mid-roll, the world inverted. Upon the accident’s cessation, I fumbled for my cell phone (yes, I had one; remember those rollover minutes?). Alas, it eluded me. Being part of the volunteer fire department, as was my brother, I radioed him calmly, requesting assistance near the small school.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too late—around 10:30 p.m. Without hesitation, he grabbed his gear, suspecting a deer collision, and rushed to my aid.

When Russ arrived, I was busy clearing the road of debris from my truck, determined to prevent another accident. After Russ’s arrival, I borrowed his bag phone—remember those relics? —to call Mom and Dad, reassuring them that although I’d been in an accident, I was safe and would be home soon. We then contacted dispatch to have an officer tag the truck, preventing a flood of unnecessary calls.

We hopped into Rusty’s truck and headed back home. This incident left a profound impact on me, shaping several facets of my identity. Firstly, it underscored the realization that I could have lost my life that night, but by some divine intervention, I was spared. It solidified my belief in the reality of a higher power.

Secondly, it taught me the importance of helping without hesitation, even if the situation arose from a less-than-ideal decision. The willingness to lend a hand to those in need became ingrained in my character.

Now, shifting gears to another significant “first” in my life: the birth of our first son, Billy. Jenna and I were quite young when we became parents. We began dating in our junior year of high school, got engaged right after graduation, and tied the knot a year later. By the age of 19, we had already shared three years, bought a new truck, and exchanged vows.

Shortly after our wedding, we decided to start our family. We conceived Billy just two months after exchanging vows, with his due date coinciding with our first anniversary. However, he had other plans, arriving a few weeks early. William Robert Greer, affectionately known as Billy, made his entrance into the world between 3 and 3:15 PM in Durango, Colorado, on June 3, 2006. That moment marked a profound shift in my identity—I became a father in every sense of the word.

Though I had felt like a dad before, that day sealed the deal in my mind. The memory of his birth remains as vivid as if it happened yesterday.

The night Billy was born, sleep eluded me almost entirely. Little did I know it would be the only night for the next decade that Jenna would enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Yet, I couldn’t close my eyes for more than a moment. Billy lay in his bassinet beside us, and I found myself drawn to him, marveling at this tiny, fragile life entrusted to us.

My mind buzzed with anticipation for the future—witnessing his first steps, hearing his first words, sharing in his adventures like his inaugural 4-wheeler ride, guiding him through learning to drive, embarking on family trips, fishing excursions, hunting outings, and witnessing his journey into adulthood and beyond.

But alongside that excitement was an overwhelming sense of fear. Suddenly, this little being was my responsibility. I felt the weight of ensuring his happiness, security, and upbringing in a nurturing environment. It was my duty to instill in him the values of kindness and respect, just as my parents had done for me.

In those profound moments, my identity underwent a seismic shift. As George Strait aptly sings in “The Breath You Take,” life isn’t merely about the breaths we take but the moments that leave us breathless. These moments define us, shaping us into the individuals we were meant to become.

So, I urge anyone reading this to pause, take a deep breath, and reflect on the moment you find yourself in. Consider how God is at work, shaping your life in ways both seen and unseen. Embrace these moments, for they hold the power to mold us into the people we are meant to be.

Enhance your faith-led leadership journey with God First Life Next. Explore empowering insights at “Embracing God’s Big Plans for Your Life” Let faith guide your leadership. Click for purposeful living at

Share this Post :

Join our Newsletter

Get all latest news, exclusive deals and academy updates.