The day before I started these writings, I suffered a great personal loss. I won’t pretend that that loss was unique to me, or that others would not understand or empathize, or even that others have not felt that same pain even more acutely. I am not special in this way.
I will also not pretend that I am okay, or that it was not the most painful loss of my life. I was completely destroyed, and whether or not that’s justified in this case is irrelevant. The heart of the matter is that my destruction has led to introspection, which I hope will lead to personal growth through exploring my relationship with God, and his Son Jesus Christ.
One of the hardest questions to answer in life is “Who am I?” I know my name, and my family, and I know about the things I enjoy. I know what I do to make a living at the moment. I know the answers to the rote questions people ask about how I define myself. But I’m not really sure that I understand the totality of my self.
I used to think the truth wouldn’t come because I was still working out the answer. Now I wonder if the answer eluded me because I wasn’t ready to admit the truth. I am working on it, but I don’t really like myself very much–more precisely, I don’t like the person I’ve become over the last few years. Selfish, ego-centric (and self-impressed and egotistical), stubbornly opinionated, intellectually righteous, occasionally contrary, sometimes condescending. I do not like that I’ve justified morally ambiguous behavior, because I always considered myself to be above that. I do not like that I’ve hurt people, even without meaning to. I should have been striving for better.
So lately, through this writing space, and through my reading and understanding of scripture, I’ve begun to deconstruct who I am.
They say that the first step to recovery and improvement is admitting that you have a problem. It is not an accident that much of this writing is largely confessional about my flaws. I don’t like the way I was seeing the world, and so a large part of understanding how to change that was to admit my failures and shortcomings. I’ve always been fairly self-aware, and I have always understood intellectually that I am not perfect. But this deep self-reflection in the context of scripture has humbled me, and I have taken that understanding to heart. What I once knew only in my mind, I think I now understand in my soul. Today, I believe I understand myself better than I have at any point in my 33 years here on earth.
I also understand that I am human, and I will never be perfect. I can only strive to be my best self. Part of that is changing the way I see the world, and part of changing the way I see the world is completely changing my relationship with faith. Every day is a new challenge in faith, and a new opportunity to grow closer to God. I’ve written before that faith takes practice, and I believe that. Every day, through prayer and scripture and worship and treating people with respect and love, I must endeavor to practice faith.
I also know what else faith requires: faith. It sounds ridiculous and redundant and circular, but really that’s all there is. I just have to do it. Let go of my inhibitions, release my grip on what has been holding me back, and just believe. Trust.
This writing stated with “Day 1.” Day zero was the most difficult day of my life, and at first the only thing that moved me was muscle memory. Every day since then has been a little easier, a little lighter, a little less painful. Part of this is time. But I will not discount the comfort that I’ve been graced from God. I am heartened that my trust does not feel misplaced. I am inspired by how easy it has felt to grow towards Him in his light and love.
Although there will never be an end to my seeking, and I cannot yet see a time when I stop writing in this space, I do trust that there will come a time when I am healed. For now, I have trust that I am on the right path. Part of that trust comes from knowing that the question has shifted: what was once “Who am I?” is now “What is the best version of myself? What is the plan for me that God has in mind?” In that way, I know that my mind and heart have changed. I trust that God has great things in mind for me. I have faith.
Father above us, Father among us, Father in our hearts, I glorify your name. I am grateful beyond words for you love and forgiveness and sacrifice. I ask today only that you continue to lead, and know that I will follow.