The Wonder of Being You
"Lord, in our efforts to serve, help us be true to who we are in you"
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
There is tremendous freedom and simplicity in being yourself. One of the least studied characteristics of Jesus, was His ability to simply be himself, when a multitude of factors, forces, and people, desired him to be something that he was not. In fact, no other person in the history of humanity had more pressure to be something other than who he was and to do something other than his mission. When you read the gospel stories, his identity was challenged by his own community, his family, his disciples, his religious leaders, and his government. Despite all of that, he never allowed others to frame in as something other than what God sent him to be.
In our own lives, we face innumerable forces that seek to form us into an alternative identity. To make matters worse, our natural desires (that which we were born with and our experiences enhance and diminish) are not a true measure of the person we were created to be. The person we were created to be is found uniquely in our relationship with God. It is in God, through Jesus, that we shed the need for "the false self". The False self is the image that we project to the world in order to gain success, uniqueness, and attention. All of this "to accomplish another goal which we believe we keep us from facing being dependent upon God or fathom something we can not control" (Robert Wicks, Touching the Holy)
We use tremendous energy to perfect an image that may not even be us. I find, the more divergent that image is away from who I truly am, the more pain, anxiety, and depression that we experience.
Now, that does not mean that I use this as an excuse for doing things that I need to do for health and service of Jesus. We have all heard the person with substance abuse state that "thats just the way I am made" while they remain defeated in their bondage. No, the true self that comes from God's spirit is first of all free. It is free to serve God in the unique way that God has formed you. Using your unique gifts, talents, insights, and quirkiness for His Glory.
Secondly, your true self is not necessarily extraordinary, but does the ordinary extraordinarily. In other words, there are common services and tasks, that we have been gifted by God to do extraordinarily and it gives us great pleasure.
Thirdly, your true self is significant, secure, and accepted because its is formed by God. Your significance is found in God, trusting that He has given you the gifts and graces necessary to live the "abundant life". Our security is found in God, who gives us relationships and callings in which we uniquely fulfill. The True self is never in competition, but always called to collaboration. The Psalmist realized this when he said "You are my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure" (Psalm 16:5). We do not need to be like someone else, but are free to be ourselves, knowing that God has given us a niche to fulfill. We accept this as a gift from God, not a burden to fulfill.
Are you living a life where you can truly be you? Do you find that you are expending a lot of energy being what others need you to be? Do you feel free? Consider taking the time of marveling at the wonder of who you are and the care in which God has made you and is forming you today.
God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor