Many people I meet and try and help share one thing in common they struggle to know who they are. This time of pandemic, where some of the scaffolding we normally have, travel, visiting friends, nights out – all have been removed and what are we left with? What do we live for? Knowing who we are and our place in the world is what God wants for us. Only then can we know true peace and fulfilment.
When I first became a committed Christian in my mid-twenties I was given these words to meditate on, from my favourite psalm, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts”.
It is in reflecting on passages like these and asking God to help me to grow in understanding of who he is and also to understand who I am has made such a difference. Getting to know God in a personal way has changed me and how I relate to others, the world and myself.
One of the first things I learnt as I began to reflect on who I am was that I try so hard to please other people. Isn’t this true of many of us? Do we do this because we have forgotten who we are? Or who we were created to be. We are more than what others think about us but don’t we so often look to others for significance, for love, for respect and for approval. People become more important than they should, yet our vision of God and his importance in our lives remains small.
Do you get thoughts like this: “If only my partner encouraged me more? If only my girlfriend respected me? If only my children listened? If only my boss valued my skills? We can think we need other’s approval to be happy and also that we need to have more and more material things to keep up. If this happens aren’t we following our culture to think we can’t be happy unless people like us and we have their lifestyles? Our world conditions us to believe that we cannot be happy unless our felt needs are met and too often we look for other people to meet those needs and we look for things to make us feel good. But isn’t living like this counterproductive? Instead of the happiness we crave the opposite happens. We fight with our partner. We get angry at our children. We disparage our boss. We put down others. We get jealous of what others have.
Let’s look again at the words from Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life”.
Christians who believe as I do will say that they get their identity in being one of God’s children. They will say the moment they gave their lives and futures into the hands of God things changed. God’s love had become personal. They felt secure and loved unconditionally. The death of Jesus was no longer an abstract idea but something they know was for them. It is as if Jesus death was just for them alone. Life is no longer about making their own path, being individual and isolated, but being part of the bigger plan of God and one of his family.
A quote from Carl beech, President, Christian Viewpoint for Men:
“You can try websites, self-help gurus, investment experts, plan a relocation, change careers or do the lottery to get a fresh start. However only one person can wipe your slate clean and change both your life and your destiny. His name is Jesus Christ. Start looking there”.
At this time of pandemic uncertainty when the whole world has been shaken up. Know who you are in God (Jesus). Feel confident in who you are and what your purpose in life is. Know the confidence of God’s love in this time of confusion.