So lately I’ve been defining myself by what I’m not or what I haven’t done/accomplished. I have no career, no love life, no money = FAILURE. Because I feel like a failure, I feel that I don’t deserve any good thing that might come my way. I don’t deserve the love from others, I don’t deserve success, I don’t deserve happiness.
Today I went to church. It wasn’t out of obligation, it wasn’t because I was feeling super pathetic about my life and I needed comfort, it was more of a fleeting thought, of why not? You don’t have much else to do. Therefore, I came in not expecting anything. In addition, maybe that’s why today’s lecture really got me.
The pastor was talking about identity. You know from my past posts that identity is a huge issue for me. Who am I? What am I supposed to do with the life that is given to me? What is my purpose? In addition, the pastor straight up said, your identity is in god’s love. God has bought us by sacrificing Jesus to the cross. God paid the price for us. And because of that, he loves us no matter what. Isn’t that such a relief from having to define ourselves from what we aren’t and what we haven’t done?
Ok, so if my identity lies in the FACT that god loves me, does that absolve me from any responsibility? That I can do anything?? As soon as this thought entered my mind, the pastor answered by saying that identity without virtue is adolescence. Kinda like that rebellious teenager that is unconditionally loved by his/her parents.
What about vice versa? The pastor said that virtue without identity is morality. Yes, you have a sense of right and wrong, but without the identity of god’s love, you are weighed down by the imperatives that you are commanded to do, consequently you won’t be able to do it. Therefore, it goes back to me feeling like a failure. Let’s say that my imperative (my calling, my purpose, what I’m commanded to do) is to do acting. But then why am I so neurotic about it? Because I forget that the imperative comes from identity. That without knowing identity (I’m using identity interchangeably with god’s love), the imperative that I am called to do is impossible.
With both we are encouraged to grow maturely in god’s love and to become who we are.
So why is it that I keep forgetting that god loves me? Because I don’t trust him yet. I believe in him. But I lack trust in him. There’s a huge difference believing in god and trusting in god. The pastor told a story to demonstrate this point: he told us that he is really good at throwing knives. He said that at an event, he proved this point to his friends, when he had a dummy pinned against a board, and he threw knives just around the perimeter of the dummy, never hitting the dummy. And his friends cheered and exclaimed, “wow, you really are great at throwing knives! We believe you, we believe you!” and he responded, “great, so which one of you will be the dummy next?” and no one volunteered.
Out of fear is why I lack trust in god. For sure. Hands down. I definitely fear what I don’t know/understand. Why trust in that? But at the same time, I trust human beings. I put trust in my coworkers, my friends and my family. They are all human beings. They are all NOT PERFECT. So, if god is not human, is not part of this human race, but is way above our limited human minds, perhaps even considered perfect, why not trust in him? Why not?