Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love. Ephesians 1:4 (MSG)
Your True Self – The Who Series – Part 1
When asked who we are, we often describe what we do. For instance, I’d say:
I’m a mum, and a writer, and a wife, and an ex-pastor. (Context, right?).
I never say things like: I’m kind, but I worry. I have a big heart, but sometimes I can come across indifferent. We almost always describe ourselves according to what we DO, not WHO we are.
And yeah, look… what you do contributes. It has a say. But it doesn’t have to DRIVE the ‘you’ that you are. Don’t put the cart before the horse.
This is where some would jump in and say “In Christ, I am (fill in the blank).” Popular “fill in the blank” adjectives might be:
Adopted (Child of God).
And this is great, too. I had a “who am I in Christ” chart pinned up on my wall as a kid. The problem with this kind of thing is that it becomes a band-aid, a wish, something we hope is true, rather than something we ARE. Besides, all those things listed above funnel into one thing: your true self.
Paul explained it as best he could when he wrote to his friends in Ephesus and said:
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” (Eph 1:4-6 MSG).
Your true self existed before the foundations of the world were laid. It existed before you were born. It existed before you spoke, walked, or did anything good or bad. It exists within you still but now includes all your human experiences thus far. Threaded inside your human body, is the divine you that existed with Christ before any of this was even tangible. Your true self is the you that knows you are loved and holy and chosen before you do a single thing. Your true self knows that this is a gift, and all you can do is receive it.
Richard Rohr says that “your true self is who you are in God and who he is in you.” Inextricably. The life of Jesus shows us that humanity and divinity belong together. Not at odds, but in communion with one another. The Divine is stitched into you.
Thomas Merton said: “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God.”
When we discuss who you (we) are, we must start from the ground and move up. Too much of our spirituality and faith tries to make it right from the top down, from forgiveness down, from redemption down; making up for all the things we aren’t. But if we start at the bottom, at our core, and understand that before everything began, “The Divine had settled on us as the focus of his love,” we understand that that is who we are. God in me, me in God, a divine partnership, a oneness that is ours to discover and to chose and to live for years that we have. This is why the search to find out who you really and who God is, is the same. I’m not saying that you’re God. No. I’m saying that when you find your true self, you find God right there with you, in you, and around you.
So while, yes, I am a mum, and a writer, and a wife, and an ex-pastor. Before I was any of that, I was the focus of Divine love. So rather than living to BE someone, I can live from a place of knowing that I already am.
Written by Lizzy Milani