-in writing to followers of Jesus:
“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no [one] who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
Another interesting quote in my view, from a rather trippy dude who imho, got the following nearly 100 percent correct:
“When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly like themselves, they don’t think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwellin’ on himself and start payin’ attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence.” ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
My life has been a gift. All life in fact, is of course. But in particular, I have only rarely very felt truly lost, choked by deep misery I have seen so many experience. I mean, I can list several horrid experiences that have stayed with me after many years, but overall, I fully admit mine has been a rather gracious ride -so far.
I don’t sit around “waiting for the bottom to drop out”. On the occasion it seems to it’s not much of a surprise in this sinful, fallen world along with my own ability to sin or simply make mistakes.
I also really try to keep my focus UP and OUT (God, others) and so much of my life is not about me, what I do or how I feel as such.
On the practical side, to me, purpose and meaning, “finding myself” involves recognizing my sins, clear inadequacy, arrogance/insecurity, fails -and plenty of them over my lifetime!
But as I forgive, so I am forgiven. I don’t LIVE in the mire.
What I AM concerned about is making PROGRESS both spiritually and relationally. A lot of my time is spent in things I believe are (to God and often others) PRODUCTIVE. So it’s not (nor has typically been) about “finding myself” but rather “What, Lord God, do You want me to do? How might I best spend and steward my energies, time, life?”
One day it’s one or six different things, the next day may be truly different. I change “hats” all the time.
For some, of course, the “shifting of gears” (in our automatic transmission culture) can feel like grace or a royal pain depending on your perspective.
I REALLY enjoy finishing what I have started (re. any project) and so “interruptions” which happen all the time can threaten to bring me out of peace, love, kindness and into “argggh…” but of course I interrupt people constantly just as I am regularly interrupted.
But I find that the relationships I need, seek, foster with both God and others are so much more about attitude and servanthood (on my part) than “finding myself”.
My sense of peace, indeed happiness and real joy comes regardless of the task. Or geography. Or subculture. Or politics. Or weather.
As we make spiritual and relational progress (by dying to self as C.S. Lewis wisely and accurately put it) we find that otherwise allusive happiness people about kill themselves and others to somehow grasp.
It is in BEING GRASPED BY THE TRUE GOD and in faith, surrendering that we begin to gain “ears to hear” and I believe, the unfolding of our true purpose/s for our time on earth.
Of course, THIS here ain’t heaven! But in what you are reading you find what I believe is a recipe for peace and a fruitful (rather than constant regretful and self-focused) life.
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Things to consider perhaps?
As always, thanks very much for stopping by. -Glenn