THE GIFT OF BEING YOURSELF
by David G Benner
Happiness and fulfillment are blessings that come from surrender to the loving will of God. Both are idolatrous if pursued directly. Both are also easily a distraction from our true destiny, our calling in Christ. This is the only self within which we will ever be able to find absolute authenticity.
It is like putting on a perfectly custom tailored dress or suit after wearing clothes made for other people. Our self–in-Christ is a self that fits perfectly because it is completely us. It is a self that allows us to be free of all anxiety regarding how we should be and who we are. And it allows us to be absolutely our self – unique not by virtue of our strivings for individuality but profoundly original simply because that is who and what we are.
God’s call to our fulfillment is therefore a call to take our place in His grand restoration agenda of making all things new in Christ. Our vocation is grounded in the self that from eternity God has willed that we be. Our calling is to become that self and then to serve God and our fellow human beings in the particular ways that will represent the fulfillment of that self. Our identity is not simply a possession. It is a calling.
Paradoxically, our fulfillment lies in the death of our own agendas of fulfillment. It also lies in the crucifixion of all our ego-centered ways of living apart from complete surrender to God. It does not lie, then, in any of the places we would expect to find it. Christ’s way always turns our ways upside down. But it is only in the upside-down world of Christ’s kingdom that we will ever find the self we were called from eternity to be and the God we were created to serve. In God alone is the truth of our being.
……… The discernment of our vocation is an ongoing, lifelong process. It is learning to live the truth of our being, not simply fill certain roles or accomplish certain expectations.
……… Prayerfully write out a mission statement for your life. Think back over your life to this point, reviewing the givens of your being and seeking to discern calling within them. Add to this any direct leadings of God that you believe yourself to have received. Begin your written statement with the words “Called to…“ and allow it to reflect what you feel to be the reason you were created and the unique face of Christ you have been called to be. Discuss this with someone who knows you well and whom you trust, seeking their perspective but not adopting it as your own unless it is confirmed by prayer and careful reflection.