Do you ever take a “stop and consider” moment? A “selah” if you will?
Not the passing self assessment that does so little good, that one can engage in it and continue on completely unchanged… but a genuine, constructive pause in life and moving along its flow…
Do you ever give yourself permission to take… an interlude?
The conduct of self is governed by the idea of self.
At the risk of sounding over mystical- “You are who you imagine yourself to be.” It is often easy to assume a certain identity when we have “everything.” Flight. Laser vision. Ice breath. Invulnerability. X-Ray vision. Krypton origin… you must be Superman. Keep the origin, subtract the powers… now who do you have?
I pose to you the same question. Keep your origins, subtract your abilities – your ideas, your goals, your dreams, your performances, your books published, songs released, shows produced, everything – who are you? What’s left? If I take away everything that you draw your identity from… Have I then stolen your identity, reducing you to a shell of your former glory?
I speak on this because it happened to me. My truck was broken into a few weeks back… those [insert choice expletives in multiple languages] took my guitar and my backpack. The guitar was – forgivable. My backpack however was an entirely different story. It contained multiple journals filled with highly valuable information (I’m a writer after all), a Bible I had purchased before my life changing mission trip to Haiti in 2010, as well as the accompanying journal. Oh and my thumbdrive filled to the brim with every ounce of my creative prowess.
I was shattered.
I felt like my identity had been stolen- I had been stolen away from MYSELF.
And thus I was invariably pushed into this Interlude… this – pause.
Any possible recovery of my identity laid within me… my idea of myself.
Change your idea of self, and change becomes an idea.
In laymen’s terms: Change how you identify yourself, and the ability of change becomes a force you can manipulate for your benefit.
Who is Josh?
That question plagued me for weeks. Agonizing days, hours, minutes, seconds upon end. Have you any idea what it feels like to wake up and literally go through the motions? To have conversations with people, and wonder why you laughed when you didn’t think anything was funny, or why you didn’t say something self-revealing like you really wanted to? To have a sense of ambition deep within yourself, and then question its validity because you have no idea who you are anymore? To question “fundamental” truths hitherto considered elementary?
I was existing in a paradox- I was living, but my entire life had hit an irrevocable pause. Afterall, how can one proceed without a sense of who one is to orient yourself with? That’s like trying to use a compass that doesn’t tell you where North is. Identity is required to help you gain your bearings. That’s why basketball players don’t get on the court with a football- their identity as basketball players gives them direction. Focus.
My idea of myself had revolved so long around firstly my intelligence, and secondly my creativity. The combination of which produced the content of my dreams, some of which were outlaid in my journals and the thumbdrive. And then to have lost it… Be stranded out at sea… Even worse than lost- to have it stolen.
I realized my error too late.
My idea of myself – my identity – had never been my own. It had always been rooted in something external… something others could validate… or condemn.
I knew my idea of myself needed to change if I was to continue in life… but how? What kind of process is that?
The deepest appreciation is oft born out of the greatest deprivation.
Strong people do not value strength nearly so much as one who was once incredibly weak, and then became strong. Those born into royalty cannot fully appreciate their position as much as a pauper thrust into royalty might. God Himself put this principle into practice. That’s what Jesus is all about… Almighty, omnipotent God became a poor, homeless man, scorned in his own hometown… Tempted in every way that we have been.
But because He tackled it from both ends and still remained sinless, inside of Himself was born the fullness of everything and nothing. Perfect in yet another way.
My finances have been dying slowly for sometime now. Relationships strained. Intellect not as rewarding as I expected. Creativity not as self-propelling as I’d anticipated. That backpack was “all I had left” so to speak.
And when that was stolen… I truly had nothing. Born into the privilege of the many astounding and detailed ideas and revelations that I’d had- and then they were all taken away.
I realized, even the pits of my deepest depression and anger, that I hadn’t truly valued what I had. I took it for granted, and had my hands out expectantly to life and to God for something else. If there is one thing that lack has taught me, it’s this: Making the most of what you have is a gateway into provision for what you need.
There is no ability among humans so powerful as the ability to make a decision.
In the burned out, smoky husks of what remained of my previous identity I was presented with a unique choice. One that I realized I was presented with every single day of my life. The same choice that you always have.
Who did I want to be? Essentially, I was “nothing.” This then meant that I could figure out the identity I desired to have- create a personal idea of myself- and then follow through on the steps to becoming that person.
So then, I pose to you three very important questions…
Who are you?
Are you pleased with who you are?
Who do you want to be?
Free will. Your life- is in your hands. God is Alpha and Omega, but He charged us to handle everything in between.
Be wise… be honest… but in all things- be you.