Find Yourself to the Left

Posted on July 11, 2012

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“There is only one plot in all of fiction… Who am I?”

-The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider Man is about Peter Parker finding himself.  Is he a vigilante? A hero? A geek? A masked bandit? A son to be proud of? A failed nephew?

We all ask ourselves these very same questions, every hour of every day.  It feels so important to know who we really are.  We have many sets to experiment in: work, school, sports games, church, relationships, friends… and in every one of these places, we might find ourselves acting differently.  Maybe our actions with our friends would scandalize those at our church.  Maybe on the sports field, we are lazy and slow, but in the office from 9-5, we’re as hard-working as they come.

In work environments, people are often summed up in a sentence.  “She is a good organizer but can be a little harsh,” “She is great with kids but flaky,” “She would definitely be a big help, but don’t email her, she’ll never answer.”  Sadly, ministry can be the exact same way.  If you have ever volunteered, worked at, or attended a church, you know what I mean.  Everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are settled, in a box, and publicly acknowledged (after all, they discovered them in a spiritual gifts quiz). I often wish I could overhear what people at church and work say about me, so I could add that sentence to the pile of evidence pointing to who I am.

But maybe then I’d hear another arena of people who know “the real me-” my best friends or my husband- people who are constantly encouraging and affirming me with their words.  I would add their assessments of my strengths and loveability (it’s a word now) to the growing pile of evidence.

And then… then I would hear the tiny voice in my head that whispers but they don’t know the real you. And this is usually the voice that shows me all the things inside of myself that no-one else can see: secret sins, past horrible mistakes, or moments of laziness or doubt. It is also the voice that clings stubbornly to those strengths I just know I have that nobody else acknowledges. Yet somehow, this voice never seems to show me my victories.  Now I use the dark, secret evidence that I just know is the most important piece of information in the quest to find Farrell.

Thank God, I AM WRONG about me.  And so are you.

I am not a static pond, defined in a sentence because I cannot change.  I am not being covered by my faults and failures like a creeping layer of algae.  I don’t stink with the smell of my own sin.

Instead, I am a rushing river being fed at all times by the sea.  Things live and move and grow in my dynamic currents, and I am constantly changing and being shaped by the flow and ebb of things so much larger than me.  My layers of dirt are being eroded as I am promised again and again that the old has gone and the new has come.

When God thinks of me, he cannot sin.  He cannot gossip, be unkind, or unjust.  Instead, he has promised to love all of his children with an everlasting love.  His mercies toward me are new every morning.

When God sees me, he doesn’t use the assessments of past co-workers or friends.  And he straight-up chastises the voice in my head. He sees me as I really am.

To all of the great characters out there who are not works of fiction, but part of a large, century-encompassing story: God is the one who knows who you are.

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Posted in: Seriously