If you treated another person how you treat yourself, would they stick around?
Here are two ways we can handle the pervasive feeling of being ill-at-ease with self.
- Retreat: Shutting down all the paths where I could be rejected. But as Oswald Chambers says, “Man cannot shut out what is inside by cutting himself off from the outside.” Nope, my isolation will not change the fact that I follow myself wherever I go.
- Whoring: Becoming involved in a campaign to prove that that sense of rejection is wrong. This is simply selling my self on the auction block to the highest bidder. It says, “Who out there will disprove my fears and verify that my opinions of self are not true?”
Both of these options are faulty at best.
I remember in junior high school, I used to make a pact with myself. After the long summer break from school, all the social structures were shaken for a new settling. Kids grew, experiences happened and things changed. Some hit the “In-crowd” lottery and were elevated. The hierarchy of cool was up for grabs, so to speak. Well, I started my first day each year with, “Okay, if you can just not talk, maybe everything will be all right.” I figured that if I didn’t speak, people wouldn’t see my exuberant awkwardness. By lunch of the first day, that cat would be out of the bag. With a sigh, I figured I would have to wait another year to try again.
Why can’t we be friends. I also have gone about with that inner auctioneer, just hoping someone would buy. But drive through any red-light district . . . we all know who is for sale. And social convention makes most run from those who are pimped out. They are dirty, and so is everyone who is pandering for the acceptance of man to prove we’re all right.
So now that I have ice-picked the inflatable flotilla, what is the truth?
The fact is, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Amazing how this reality is dismissed by so many as trite and cliché. God Himself formed ME within an astoundingly intricate purpose. Every nuance of my personhood was fashioned deliberately. Those I like and those I hate. There are many why’s to my creation that I must lean into Him to find. I am crippled outside of His intentionality. He made me to thrive in the hothouse of His Will and perish outside of it.
There is a great adventure of discovery in finding out who He is in me. His life is expressed through me differently than He demonstrates Himself in any other. So to fight, struggle and strain against my self is resistance to my Creator and complete fulfillment.
Now, I am not purporting that the years of consequences for my sinful responses to life is His idea of me. There are aspects in every life that are more sin than self. But you know His sovereignty is even big enough to encompass that.
What I want to leave you with is something that Martha has said to me. “Your life is the only life you’ll ever have to live. And you are the only person you’ll ever really know. So treasure yourself and your life.” Yes, when all our energies are exerted toward becoming someone else, we miss the joy of finding out who we actually are.
“God’s love is hidden in your suffering.
God’s love is hidden in the sovereign choice
of how He made you and where He placed you.”
Martha Kilpatrick (Why Am I?)