Who Am I? — SheLoves 20Questions, January 2016

Starting the new year off with a bang over at SheLoves . . . with 20 Questions!  This is the one I chose because I believe it to be so central to our journey. Start here and click over to read the rest over there. And please join the conversation, okay? Would love to hear who YOU are!Scan 2015-12-9 0010

This is the central question of my long life, one I must ask myself every day, one that requires me to slow down long enough to remember the answer! It is a question buried deeply in our souls, maybe even in our sinews, and it is the call of God to each and every one of us. No matter what limits we live with — and all of us have limits of one kind or another — each of us has a unique place in the fabric of humanity. And our primary task in life is to find that place and fill it as fully and heartily as we can.

This question is both personal and universal, and the answer we seek can only be found in the unique context in which we live and learn. First and foremost, that context is always laced with the lives of others, so discerning an answer to who we are will require a deep and growing understanding of where we are. That context can — and should — change over time. We must pass through the necessary and important stages of development common to us all, each with its own set of ‘rules’ and tasks. Infancy, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, old age — like it or not, we all move along the river of time and maturity. The trappings and boundaries of our life will change from stage to stage, sometimes quite dramatically. Where we live, and with whom, the level of our education, our job or career status, the state of our health — these shift and re-form constantly throughout our lives.

But that central question stays the same, and so does the answer. Or perhaps I should say, answers. There is an ‘a’ and a ‘b’ part to both, a primary and a secondary truth. The primary part is true for every single person on the planet — past, present or future. The secondary part is unique to each one of us — to our DNA, our emotional IQ, our mix of gifts, strengths, weaknesses and limits.

The ‘a’ part is perhaps the hardest for us to wrap our minds around, the most difficult for us to hold onto with confidence and rock-solid belief. Brennan Manning has written about it exquisitely:

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be.” 

― Brennan Manning, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir

Do you believe this? Do you cling to it, trust in it, allow it to form and re-form you? Hard as it is for us to fathom, every single one of us is the apple of God’s eye, the one over whom the great God of the Universe sings a song of love and delight. This is the through-line of our scripture, the nitty-gritty of the Jesus-Good-News, the powerful, ongoing labor of the Holy Spirit within us: we are loved.

The ‘b’ part of the question looks a lot like Fred Buechner’s famous query: do you know where your deep gladness is? What is it that makes your heart sing, that feels right, way down deep inside you? How do your own gifts and strengths converge to both bring you joy and the world in which you live good? As Buechner put it, where do “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet?”

Hop on over and read the rest and see how others are answering this query!

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  1. The links at the the top and bottom appear to be wrong – they redirect to a WordPress admin login page. I found it on the SheLoves site though.

    • Thank you, Rachael! I am dependent on my editor at SheLoves for those links and somehow this one didn’t work quite right. I’ve gone in and changed it to make it direct to the post.