Monday, March 24

Identity Struggles

I have been enjoying The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner. I found these words in his preface refreshing and stimulating:

"In all of creation, identity is a challenge only for humans. A tulip knows exactly what it is. It is never tempted by false ways of being. Nor does it face complicated decisions in the process of becoming. So it is with dogs, rocks, trees, stars, amoebas, electrons, and all other things. All give glory to God by being exactly what they are. For in being what God means them to be, they are obeying him. Humans, however, encounter a more challenging existence...

"With a little reflection, most of us can become aware of masks we first adopted as strategies to avoid feelings of vulnerability but that have become parts of our social self. Tragically, we settle easily for pretense, and a truly authentic self often seems illusory.

"There is, however, a way of being for each of us that is as natural and deeply congruent as the life of the tulip.... Our true self-in-Christ is the only self that will support authenticity."

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, (and I paraphrase), "I wouldn't give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would stake my life on simplicity on the far side of complexity." I feel that phrase "simplicity on the far side of complexity" may be something of a "life-phrase" for me, to coin a term. 

I long for the kind of simplicity Benner's talking about, a simplicity of identity--on the far side of complexity. Jesus has been discipling me through a long, sometimes arduous journey which I believe will eventually lead there--at least, that is my hope. 

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