Today’s Reading: “I.”
You might wonder why I’m kicking off this blog series on The Apostles’ Creed, (which is all about what we, as Christians, believe about God) by focusing on the inwardly-focused word, I.
Most Christ-centered folks would insist that you and I need to forget about ourselves in order to fully embrace all God has for us. The argument goes something like this: In a generation that’s all about me (I-phones, selfies, Facebook, etc.), we need to break free of our self-centeredness and our self-consumption, so we can surrender ourselves fully to Christ.
Now, without a doubt, there is truth in that line of thought. But in recent years, as I’ve been invited by Jesus into a deeper, more intimate walk with the Master, I’ve come to discover that the most effective pursuit of God can begin (and end) in a deeper pursuit of my true self. Thomas Merton, in his book, New Seeds of Contemplation, says it this way…
(There) is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
Let’s face it, folks, your personalized universe revolves around you. My personalized universe revolves around me. And if you or I want to explore some of life’s biggest questions (What’s Life All About? Who is God? Why Are We Here? etc. etc.), it’s probably safest (and most productive), if we limit our pursuit of these questions by beginning with the worldly trinity of Me, Myself, and I.
So, let’s start, today, with this first basic question: Who Am I?
As I see it, our answer to this question will go far in forming the healthiness (or lack of health) of many of the other creeds (systems of belief) we choose for our lives. And as we discussed last time, a well-defined creed, or healthy system of belief, can serve us well as a guide for nearly everything we do and say in life.
So again, reflect a moment on this question…
Who Am I?
Before you answer, allow me to remind you that there are numerous sources of information we can draw from when attempting to answer this important question.
Modern science says at the core of who we are is our DNA. It’s at this basic level where you and I are linked arm-in-arm with all of creation, yet each one of us is uniquely different from each other. Our DNA is our unique storybook on life, explaining our past and present, and in many ways, predicting our future. Yet, while our DNA states that we are an extension of our family origins, there is so much more going on than what we find inside the cells of our bodies.
Psychology says that any attempt to answer the question of “Who Am I?” must also take into consideration all of the life experiences we’ve had thus far. In truth, if you and I can trace the good, bad, and ugly coming from our life experiences, adding in the choices we have made in response to all that, we just might be a bit more successful in defining “who we are.”
So, who am I?
Who is the “I” in the “I believe in God”?
No short blog like this will come close to providing any in-depth answer to that question. But hopefully, this short discussion just might put you on a course toward true self-awareness. It’s my belief that as you pursue a relationship with your loving Creator, that same God is desirous of showing you who He has made you to be:
One unique creation, unlike any other in the universe, yet dependent upon others to the same degree that they are dependent upon me. And together, we can explore this question of “Who Am I,” and, as I see it, with God’s help, we can ask the secondary question of “Who are we?” as well.
Are you up for this journey into “self” and “us?”
My prayer: God, the question of “Who Am I?” is not a quick, easy multiple-choice question, and the complexity of that answer can take a lifetime to explore. There are many excellent resources out there where I can search for answers. Science says my DNA is the key. Psychology believes that I am what I have lived. And then, there’s religion which, depending on the flavor of the day, offers me a variety of answers based on creeds and belief systems written long before I was born. Truthfully, God, I don’t know where to look first. But I do know that the answer must begin and end with me…and You. Reveal to me in the days ahead, the truest answer. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to consider: Who Am I? What practical steps might help me find some answers? Might I benefit from writing out my story, unpacking all the good, bad, and ugly of my life? Would DNA studies uncover important facts about my heritage, my beginnings? Would meeting with a well-qualified spiritual director allow me to have healthy conversations about all these things? Do I trust that God might have more to say to me about this important question?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are Contemplating The Creed?
If you’d like to do more reading on this subject of “Who Am I,” might I recommend this excellent little book… The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner.
Over a seven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Apostles Creed. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Creed home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!
Click here to go on to the next session in this blog series…