“While I was enchanted I could not remember my true self.”
When Prince Rilian in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is under the spell of the witch’s sorcery, he cannot recall where he came from or who he was (Lewis, The Silver Chair). He felt it as a “heavy, tangled, cold, clammy web of evil magic.”
Of course the witch told him this was his “right mind.” When he did have clarity, he was told those were moments of insanity. Clearly the Enemy opposes the discovery, development, and deployment of the true self.
I believe our quest for personal identity, meaning and significance is the most powerful drive we have. And I believe it’s inextricably connected to the Creator. Os Guineness says, “Calling is the most comprehensive reorientation and the most profound motivation in human experience.”
Disoriented and detached from the true you
So what about living from the true self? How are we doing?
The science mindset in the West wars against purpose, meaning, and even God. In essence, we’re told we’re nothing more than chemicals and that life itself is chemical reactions.
I’m sorry, but it’s something of a challenge to find identity and meaning in that.
Modern society seems to tell us that all meaning is somehow tied up in economics. People are empty. Tired. And angry. Is our signature life and personal meaning wrapped up in economics and political agendas?
When our lives are disoriented, they don’t make sense. What’s surprising, really surprising, is that even self-identified Christians are not doing well with identity and personal meaning.
“One of the most stunning outcomes [from a study] was that born again Christians and non-Christians were equally likely to be seeking meaning and purpose in life” (Barna Research, Most People Seek Control, Adventure and Peace in Their Lives, 2000).
“Now with God’s help I shall become myself” (Kierkegaard)
I’ve just finished reading It’s Your Call by Gary Barkalow. It’s a great read on personal identity, meaning and calling.
Can I recommended this book along with The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose for Your Life by Os Guineness and Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship With God by Dallas Willard? Calling is such a foundational and powerful issue in our lives, it’s certainly worth investing in some quality reading, thought, and prayer.
The call of God is like the call of the sea, no one hears it but the one who has the nature of the sea in him” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
There is a depth and weightiness (glory, brilliance, splendor, beauty, effect) to your life waiting to be deeply discovered. Your true self brings pleasure to the Creator and deep joy to you.
How do we get accurate about our true passion and purpose? Is it really possible for me to be a “co-worker with God in the creative enterprise of life on earth” as Dallas Willard writes?
For me, at this place in my personal journey, my highest quest in life is to walk in comradeship with the Creator, much like Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. And out of that growing relationship, I can more clearly understand my personal identity and calling. Perspective from Oswald Chambers.
As Soren Kierkegaard affirmed, “Now with God’s help I shall become myself.”
Journaling is a powerful practice to help discover your authentic desires
The coordinates of story, desire and journey
In It’s Your Call: What Are You Doing Here?, Gary Barkalow writes there are three coordinates that guide us with our calling: story, desire, and journey. We become more self-aware and acquire our bearings by triangulating these three reference points.
- The story of our lives fits into the Larger Story of the Creator. We need that setting and context. In this way we learn to overcome and become who we really are. As we walk with God, we progressively read and live from a beautiful script.
- Desire is a word we may need to become more comfortable with. We find that what we are supposed to do is what we most want to do. It’s a process. It can be messy to unearth authentic desire. But it’s quite worth it to experience the true self.
- It’s in our interest to journey with the Creator. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage” (Ps. 84:5 NKJV). Barkalow says we journey to a sacred place and purpose in life. “They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion” (Ps. 84:7 NKJV). God speaks through the journey itself.
Clarity is a high value with the Creator. And he honors authentic desire.
Revelation to understand personal identity
God uses story, desire and journey. And he is speaking through it all. Hopefully we are listening. But we need something more …
At times we need a more direct revelation from God. Specificity. Details. The mystery of our lives is an invitation to be intimate with God and to receive revelation from him.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you …” (Eph. 1:17-18 ESV).
Give It’s Your Call a quality read. I think you’ll enjoy it and find it beneficial.
Calling is nuanced and multi-layered. This human thing can be pretty complicated! But we can know that the Creator is speaking and has our best interests at heart.
What is your experience with personal identity and calling? How are you doing? What do you envision?
photo credit: Creative Commons / DeaPeaJay