Friday, June 15, 2012

Be Who You Are ~ 3

We all are on a life long journey of discovering who we are. Over the past few years I've made it an intentional journey because in knowing who I am and how I am put together I become healthier. Healthier mentally, emotionally, relationally  and, most importantly, spiritually. I function better as I get to know who I really am. I serve God and others more effectively when I have a deeper understanding of who I am.

"There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God." John Calvin

On this journey I have some companions whose writing have helped me in this self-discovery. I'm in the process of re-reading these books:
  • Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland
  • Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh
  • Draw Close to the Fire by Terry Wardle
And a new book I'm reading is The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery by David Benner. What I am loving about this book is that it is confirming what I've been studying in Scripture over the past few months. Over the past few months, while I have still been on the journey of discovering how I am put together, I've been on more of a big picture, theological level in my discovery. I've been studying the Gospel of John and looking at how Jesus' identity flowed out of his relationship to the Father. This thread runs through the whole gospel. This is our call as Christ-followers as well. That our identity will flow out of our relationship with Christ and with the Father. So the "big picture" I've been looking at is that we must embrace our calling as God's people first, becoming who He has created us to be and called us to be, only then will we truly know who we are. For years it seems the Church has had things backwards. We promoted finding out what your spiritual gifts are and your passions and then looking for a place to serve based on that knowledge. Rather, my own experience found that in heeding God's call on His church and on His people and being obedient to serving anywhere in order to be a part of His mission and calling, opened up a better understanding of my unique and individual calling. As I get closer to the end of Benner's book that same message is becoming clearer.

"Genuine self-knowledge begins by looking at God and noticing how God is looking at us. Grounding our knowing of our self in God's knowing of us anchors us in reality. It also anchors us in God." David Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself

"The true self is who, in reality, you are and who you are becoming...It is your total self as you were created by God and as you are being redeemed in Christ. It is the image of God that you are.
We do not find our true self by seeking it. Rather, we find it by seeking God. In finding God we find our truest and deepest self.\It is by losing our self in God that we discover our true identity." David Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself

Good stuff!

It strikes me as I write this that things are coming together for me on this journey. Each year I pray about and choose a word that will be my word of focus for the year. For two years 2010 & 2011) it ended up being the same word: freedom. This year it is the word "through". It is in what I have written about above, deep knowing of God and deep knowing of self, that I experience true freedom. In fact, Benner writes about operating out of our false self is actually "forging the chains of bondage". It is "through" Christ and knowing who I am in Him that I experience true freedom. Freedom in Christ!
My theme verse from 2010 & 2011 fits so well here.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 5:17-18.

I know I'm stretching the context of this verse, but to me, an aspect of our "unveiled faces" is knowing who we are in Christ and who we are becoming and operating out of that.

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