I’ve been struggling for a while about something major – what sets me apart? What makes me unique? What is there that’s special about me?
My wife is a musician. She sings, writes songs, plays several instruments. With just a little nudge, she could be a pro. She could be famous.
My daughter Trinity can draw. Not just draw. She sees unique and original pictures in her head and can transfer them onto paper or canvas and they are beautiful creations. She’s only 11, but she has some serious talent.
I could go on – and I guess I will. There are people who are extremely gifted in this world – whose abilities outclass the mere mortals around them, and wherever they go, whatever they do, people take notice. They change things, they challenge themselves and those around them. They are, more often than not, heros.
Well, what about the rest of us? What about me? I’m not being down on myself. I’m very smart, and I’m really good at a lot of things. A LOT of things. In fact, almost everything I’ve ever done, I’ve been really good at. But not great.
What am I great at? What will define me and my life? What will I contribute? What will I do that’s important?
Everyone will agree that I’m unique, and I have a certain way of seeing things that’s different. At work I approach things differently than most people, and its been that way regardless of what job I have had. But at the end of the day, unique is just a way of saying different but mostly the same. I’m just me, and I’m really not that much different than any other person.
I really only have one thing that makes me special. And I’m not all that good at it. I’m God’s kid. He’s my father, and I’m his son. Maybe if I can be a better child, I will find what I’m really supposed to do or be.
Thing is I can’t make myself better. I have to rely on the father for that. I have to follow his lead, and live the life that his Son lived. That’s something I’m still learning. I’m more of a prodigal who has been off squandering and is just now waking up in the pig pen wondering what brilliant idea I can hatch to get me out of this mess.
The problem is the same one that everyone faces. Not what am I going to do with my life, what am I going to be, but who am I? It’s all about identity.
We all struggle through life trying to find our place, carve out an existence, muddle our way through. I used to think (and still stuggle with thinking) that there were some really lucky people who knew someone or had the right daddy who actually got to be someone in life, and the rest of us just got regular jobs and lived and died and were forgotten.
I really don’t want that to be my life, but I don’t know anyone, and I’m not too terribly lucky. But I do have the right daddy.
In spite of all of my wrong thinking, which I am obviously still working through, I’m still set apart. Those are not my words and I stuggle to believe it. I know it in some part of me, but I don’t act like it sometimes and have trouble believing it in my head. It’s funny how different parts of your body can be in a war against each other sometimes.
My spirit tells me I’m living in the Kingdom, I’m God’s child, he has a dream for me. My soul tells me I’m pretty much average and pretty much out of luck. My heart yearns for freedom and to know what God’s plan is for me so I can just do it already.
Basically I’m out of whack.
So I have to keep on going. I’m at least pointed in the right direction right now. Three years ago there was no hope at all. No. Hope. I have to keep giving more of myself to God, I have to keep keeping less for myself. Because one thing I do know – it’s not about me. All those things I’m good at…what are they but gifts from God, that I used for my own glory for so many years.
We are set apart – unique, different. The bible says we are aliens – not of this world. Or maybe that’s an old Petra song. Either way – what we need when we are stuggling with these things is to remember that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. That’s Romans 12 right there by the way.
The battle for my spirit is complete. My body will keep getting older, then fail at some point. No way around that unless Jesus comes again while I’m alive. What stands in the middle is my mind, and it’s still crammed full of the world. This is why I stuggle – because my mind needs to be transformed. As Bob Hamp puts it – I don’t need to think different, I need to think differently.
The problem is I’m in bondage to being me. Jesus came to set me free from that. I need to repent from that – I need to think differently. Right now I’m trying to think different – I’m trying to control my thoughts by plugging other things in – good things! Classes at church, Christian music, listening to great sermons. It’s all good! The content of my thoughts is not so much the issue, though, as is the actual way in which I think.
I can’t exchange bad thinking for good thinking and hope to do any better. This is my effort – and it’s in vain. It’s fruitless.
To repent means to think differently – not new content, but a whole new way of thinking and seeing things. The renewing of my mind. And as I’m discovering, like everything else, it’s a process – one that I’m in the big middle of.
So I will keep on going. But sometimes I may still wonder from time to time – who am I, why am I even here? I think that is thinking the old way and only glorifies me. I don’t want to do that anymore. Maybe it’s a baby step, but that’s where I am.
Where are you?