The Real Question

Grace 101

 

She is considered the most beautiful by her friends and family.  She wins contests, receives compliments, and turns heads.  Everyone she knows considers her to be the image of beauty.

Yet she knows her flaws.  She looks in the mirror with dissatisfaction.  Perhaps a little surgery will help.  Perhaps some different application of cosmetics.  Perhaps a new workout.  She cannot be satisfied or content.

He has more money than any person could spend in a lifetime, more than any family could spend.  His business success has been legendary and others consider him an example of how it should be done.  Whatever he touches, it seems, turns to gold.

Yet he wants more.  Another business deal.  Another company takeover.  Better investments.  More hours in the office, pushing for success.  Never satisfied; never enough.

These are fundamentally identity problems.  Those who have not reached the pinnacle of what they think will satisfy them often believe that they would be content if they just had enough.  Yet, those who have enough by every standard of measurement are still not satisfied.  Using our accomplishments or attributes to establish identity may work in social relationships, but there is something more.  Most people know this intuitively.  Even as they strive for more, they know it will not satisfy.

Our search for identity compels us to look outside ourselves for definition.  It isn’t enough for us to know who we are to ourselves, we want to know who we are to others.  But, even when the assessment of others is positive, something is lacking.  When I look at my fellow-strugglers, I see others like myself.  Their definition of me is important, but not enough.  I want to know who I am in relation to the universe, the creation, or God.

The real question of the ages is not, “Is there a God?”  The real question is, “Who am I?”  And the question of my identity can only be answered in relation to someone or something bigger than me.

So we have always searched for God.  Not to know Him, but to know ourselves.  And, if our search for God does not reveal our identity, we either give up and resign to our dissatisfaction or we keep looking.

It is obvious that many who claim to have found God have not found themselves.  They continue to strive for more.  They look to their performance or their attributes and are unsatisfied.  In their search for identity, they have missed something.  Some of them decide it isn’t there.  They leave God behind and search in places they have already been or in places of fantasy and imagination.

Our goal is to rest in who we are, but neither religion nor atheism can reveal the answer.  The answer is in a Person.

2 Comments

Filed under Grace 101, Relationship

2 responses to “The Real Question

  1. Fellow Survivor

    Nice Post David. The old “real” me never was really concerned about what others thought of me. That’s the guy I am trying to reclaim, to get back to. I should take my own advise that I give to my daughter. I tell her “keep your head down, treat everyone the same, and the ones that matter will notice how you treat others and will want to be your friend and the ones that don’t notice or care won’t want to be your friend.”

    “The pretty or the plain, the rich or the poor, the wise or the simple, treat them all the same because they are all God’s creating and we all fall short of the Glory of God”

    I would like to think “my” identity is found in following the Commandments that Jesus told us summed up all the law and the prophets ” Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength; and love/treat your neighbor as yourself”

    Anyway, beautiful post. Great timing too because I am trying to rediscover myself and reclaim the old me before my entire life was devoted to satisfying the unsatisfiable ex wife. I feel so much better already.

  2. Laura

    Dave,

    Thank you for these posts about identity, they have been so enriching to me. As I start to feel that I am setting out in uncharted waters to rediscover who I am apart from who my (almost) ex husband says I am, these posts remind me that looking outward to Jesus and not inward towards myself is the answer.

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