Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Definition of Self

Every so often I get a question asked of me by God, and it makes me have to completely stop and evaluate the situation.  This morning I was walking into the office, and a friend of mine was ahead of me.  He didn't know I was behind him, and we both were just walking into the office.  At that moment I was asked, "what (or who) defines you?"  I was already waiting for the light to change so I could cross Main St, but it definitely made me take pause.  It made me take pause enough to stop at the coffee shop at the bottom of the building that I work in to really examine the question at hand.  Knowing my own psyche as well as I do, I know the root for this, but I believe that God had more than just the surface question to be answered.

The surface question:  do you define yourself in someone else?  Do you need to be "seen" with someone to define who you are?  How do you want others to think of you?

In my life, I've been "defined" by others.  I was the youngest son of my parents.  I was the "little brother".  I've been the baseball player, the "computer guy", the "Star Wars fan".  I've been defined by my school, my work, my faith, my possessions, and my hobbies.  None of them has actually "defined" me, they have only categorized me so that people can make broad accusations about who I am.  I've never handled the labels well.  I've lashed out against them; attempted to set myself apart, even to my own detriment.  I've done things that I know looking back I was fully aware was the wrong path.  All of this in an attempt to "define me" to myself.  The then spreads out like tendrils to my relationships.  Do I keep a relationship for the wrong reasons, wanted to assume some aspect of another person by the association?  Do others keep a relationship with me because of who I associate with?  Do I have relationships that I am called to not have, because of the parasitic nature of the relationship?  

So the question comes down to this:  Who do others see when they see me?  If I really truly peel back the layers of self, and get beyond ego, I think we all crave acceptance of our true self.    The problem is that our "true self" we know is not the person that we truly wish to be.  I do not want to be defined by who I am in worldly eyes, no matter what the Enemy wishes to press on me.  I'm frail;  I'm self centered; I'm egotistical; I'm unworthy.  It's not until I'm broken and rebuilt and people see Christ in me that I am who I am meant to be.  I know it's a journey, at least for me;  each defining moment in my life reveals that without my continued total dependence on Christ I cannot remain an image that I will be okay with others accepting as me.  

1 Corinthians 13:12-13

The Message (MSG)
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

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