I came across this a few days ago. I originally wrote it sometime in the first months after I was ordained; I’ve polished it a little to reflect my own growth and development over the past nine years. I pray it resonates with you as it did with me when I found it again.
When we find our identity in our romantic relationships, when we lose those relationships we lose who we are.
When we find our identity in our spouse, we are not honoring them by offering our authentic selves to them but rather giving them who we think they want us to be.
When we find our identity in our children, and they grow up and leave home, we are as empty inside as our nest.
When we find our identity in our job, we become human “doers” rather than human beings.
When we find our identity in God, The One who created us in the divine image of love and community, who we are is eternal. We are who we are created to be, able to offer our real selves to those we love and to see them for who they truly are. In God, our identity is lived out through all our relationships as we seek to see God in all people, striving to love them as God loves us.
Who we are at the core of our being is Whose we are: God’s beloved children. Created in God’s image. Designed in love to love. Born to continuously grow and mature, becoming more and more like Jesus on our lifelong journey toward God.
Our creator God is the God of abundant Life, the God with us and for us, the God of beauty and practicality, creativity and precision, learning and love, compassion and forgiveness, freedom and responsibility. God calls us to The Divine Presence with the self awareness of the question “do you want to be well” and then commands us to love our neighbor.
In the Centering Prayer App I use (yes, there’s an app for that), I read this quote from Thomas Keating every morning:
“This Presence is so immense, yet so humble; awe-inspiring yet so gentle; limitless, yet so intimate, tender and personal. I know that I am known. Everything in my life is transparent in this Presence. It knows everything about me – all my weaknesses, brokenness, sinfulness – and still loves me infinitely. This presence is healing, strengthening, refreshing – just by its Presence. It is nonjudgmental, self-giving, seeking no reward, boundless in compassion. It is like coming home to a place I should never have left, to an awareness that was somehow always there, but which I did not recognize.”Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart
And every morning it still takes my breath away.
In the midst of so much angst and despair in the world today, make time to sit quietly and let God remind you whose you are. Let God take your breath away and breathe Life into you. And then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next. You are God’s Beloved.