There is something about life that is absolutely fascinating. Imagine with me the normal event of familiarity. Sounds, sights, people, places… we get used to things. We take them for granted. When you spice life up a bit, by traveling, experiencing new things, etc. You learn to see things a tad bit clearer when you turn back to the familiar. This lasts only for a while as we tend to slip into certain patterns based on our familiarity. We change who we are and what we do when we get in different groups, places, patterns, etc. In essence we learn to adapt. We learn to mask, parade, fake, manipulate, and change enough that sometimes we never feel quite truly ourselves. This is where we start.
I learned in Europe an amazing thing about people. Not only did I learn that I was correct that people do adapt, change, and can find “being themselves” difficult (but who needed proof on that, am I right?). But I also learned something awesome about the God of the Bible. He, is ever free to be Himself. The Triune God of the Bible has no reason to never not be Himself. He does not change who He is. Ever is He stable, strong, yet gentle. The character He shows is who He is. Yet we, the fallen creatures that we are, struggle with being “ourselves”.
Partially this is due to fact that we are not God. But most importantly it is because of our sin. Our love that is turned to the wrong places. The love that should be directed towards the creator and relational Triune God has been redirected, and that is sin. It is a issue at the core of our being.
It was made clear to me, not only by my professor of Systematic Theology, but also one week prior to meeting him, in prayer, Christ reveled to me the key to learning to be myself. Turn your love to God.
Simple? Yes. Here is how it works, You are created to be a relational human being. As in you find out who you are and more about you in relational ways. God, is also relational. He though is Triune and perfectly relational. We, as humans created in His image, are invited to partake and experience this relation of Him, and to ultimately be in full relation with Him. What we can learn is that by pouring our love, and yearning to God we learn not only about Him but more about ourselves. The more about ourselves we learn the more we learn about who God is.
Yes I know what you’re thinking, “It’s circular reasoning. You can’t do that, you get an infinite loop. You need a starting point and a linear development.” To which I would smile and point you back to Aristotle. Everything people argue rarely, if ever is truly linear. We all argue with circular reasoning. This is why people of different faiths cannot argue and determine what is “truth”, outside of their own faith. If you had a linear reasoning and could lay down all faiths on the table and start at a universal point, there would only ever be one true distinct, and obvious conclusion. However, there is not. We also use circular reasoning to judge the age of the earth… and consequently the universe. So…. good luck explaining that with linear reasoning. It all comes down to this, circular reasoning works. It is just harder to argue with people who have a different circular reasoning on the same topic.
To incorporate my title in here before the conclusion I want to bring Chicago back into the picture. Besides for two slight visits (to and from the airport), I have not been in Chicago since May 11th, if I remember correctly. Once what was familiar, the sounds, the sights, the people… in the interim are all once again a new experience. I’ve been experiencing the world this summer. The constant sound of sirens from police, ambulances, and firefighters takes some adjusting to. I also feel the tendency to slip into old familiar habits that Chicago gave me. Am I free to be me? Yes. Is there a struggle to be the same person I was in Europe? Yes. Was the Europe me the real me? Honestly I’ve spent so much time trying to figure me out internally and not relationally that I’m not sure. I cannot give an answer yes or no, for I do not know.
Relational beings are what we were created to be. Take that part away and things go crazy. Misdirect that love that was intended to be in the perfect relationship with the Creator, who can satisfy, and you have committed sin. To truly find out who you are, you have to surrender it all to Christ and be relational with the Triune God. It has taken all summer to realize this and to start figuring out who I am. When you look into the mirror and you cannot recognize the person in the mirror, not by looks, but by character, actions, passions, love languages, personality types, things that define you as you…. Then you will have to take time as God slowly reveals to you have you have changed and who you are currently. When you turn from Him, you lose the light that illumines who you are. Since you are an ever changing being, that light is pretty critical to fully understanding who you are.