Friday, March 14, 2008

Who Are You?

Over the past month or so I have talked with many people and heard many stories from people who are questioning their direction in life. Some of these people are young, some are in transition in their lives, others are entering into their retirement journey. They are all searching - searching for meaning in their lives, searching for a purpose.

So much of the searching that I see today revolves around the question, "Who am I?" Am I defined by my work? Am I defined by my family? Am I defined by the activities that I am involved in? Who am I?

But, I think, this is the wrong question to ask. Instead of asking, "Who am I?" why not turn the question around and ask, "Whose am I?" When we ask this question, we start to see with opened eyes that we are special, needed, and cared for people. We can answer that question in this way: I am God's. I was created in God's image. I am his child, and he is the loving parent who will always be there for me.

You see, God has created you as one-of-a-kind. He has created you with specific gifts and talents. He has created you out of love and compassion. He has also created you to be in relationships - relationships with him and with others. These relationships, while sometimes a struggle, open us to see the blessings that God pours out on all of his creation.

It is also through these relationships that we start to discern the gifts that God has given to us. We discover our passions, our loves, our talents, and we are even given opportunities to use these gifts in amazing ways. And when we do this, when we share our gifts and grow in our relationships (with God and others) we start to see more clearly what our purpose is, for God gave us these gifts to use, not to have them sit on a shelf and collect dust.

My prayer today is that you would discover your gifts, and in the process discover what God is calling you to be and do. For you are one of God's beloved, and he continues to shower you with blessings and love.

1 comment:

Betty Dygart said...

"Who am I?" versus "Whose am I?"

Yes, it makes a big difference.

The first question sends us off on an ego trip, competing to 'be the best, the biggest, the richest, the first'... etc. etc.

The second question puts us in relationship with a higher power. It is no longer necessary to stand above, beyond, or obviously supreme. We are given the freedom to be what we are, who we are, with no judgement made as to whether it is "good enough."

One of my favorite plays to teach while I taught American Literature at BMHS was Thornton Wilder's, Our Town. Written in the 1930s, the play won the Pulitzer Prize and has remained universally true and relevant to this day.

Wilder was the son of Christian missionaries, and while born in Madison, Wis. spent some of his childhood in Asia where his parents were sent. His work is suffused with his Christian upbringing, and this is the case with Our Town.

A particular segment of the play that I especially liked teaching was when a brother and sister are looking out their bedroom window at the full moon one night and they begin to discuss the universe. Or, more properly, their place in the universe.

Rebecca, the younger, is concerned that maybe the moon might get closer and closer, and one day smash into the earth, destroying them.

George, her bigger brother, says that's silly, reassuring her that if that were even close to happening, the scientists who are always looking into their telescopes, would tell us, warning us of the danger.

As they continue to gaze at the moon, Rebecca remembers a letter that her friend, Jane Crofut received. The address on the letter has greatly impressed her and she tells George how surprised she was that the letter reached her friend.

The address on the letter goes like this:
"Jane Crofut; the Crofut Farm; Grover's Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America; Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; The Mind of God."

This address serves to clarify a theme that runs thoroughout the play. While Jane Crofut is a mere speck within the Mind of God, trillions and trillions of miles separating her from her maker, the postman delivered the letter, just the same.

She was that important. And yet, she was no one special. She was just Jane Crofut.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if each and every person in the world could see themselves as that important?

We are, to God.