Bear with me for these are not yet fully formed thoughts...
I have been reflecting on self identity recently… now that’s not just a fancy way to say I’ve been thinking about myself a lot lately, although that is probably true as well!
What I’ve been thinking about is, how does one come to know self?
I am a little bit of a personality test junkie, I love them! Anything that will tell me more about myself!
Now I do recognize that personality tests can't actually tell me who I am, and that they need to be nuanced, but I do think they can be a valuable tool for "self-work" ...
OK Maria where are you going with this? Don't worry this is not going to be a promo for the latest and greatest personality test...
I am a number 8... if you don't know what that means that’s OK, but if you do then great, you'll know that by being a number 8 I am a challenger, a fighter ... at least that is what the test told me. The test also let me know that my greatest fear is to be controlled... I actually can get onboard with most of, if not all, of what the test has told me about myself (despite the fact when I first took the test and was told "Maria you are a number 8, the challenger..." the first words that came out of my mouth were "No, I'm not! No really guys I don't think that I am..." Haha! But I have come to accept my true identity!).
In the past month or so I have been reading more about my personality, and spending time in prayer asking the Lord to speak into what the test says about me, and who He says I am, which I think is probably a pretty legit thing to do, right?
I still think personality tests can be a helpful tool, I still think of myself as a number 8, but a couple days ago as I was sitting with the Lord thinking about myself, I was reading My Utmost for His Highest, and this is what Oswald Chambers had to say...
"Personality is like an island, we know nothing about the great depths underneath, consequently we cannot estimate ourselves. We begin to think we can, but come to realize that there is only one Being Who understands us, and that is our Creator.” (347)
That's when I first started to question the validity of my self-work methods, maybe instead of sitting around thinking about myself, even if it's with the Lord in prayer and reflection on the Truth of who He says I am, I should try sitting around thinking about Him, praying and praising Him for who He is. And as I get to know Him more and more intimately I will start to discover who I am in Him…
Further on Chambers argues that, “if you give up your right to yourself to God, the real true nature of your personality answers to God straight away.” (347)
Maybe Chambers is onto something? What do you think? Could maybe the key to who we are actually not be in ourselves but be in the One Who created us?
Over the past couple days I’ve been trying to think of myself less often, and instead focus my energies on Jesus, or as the author of Hebrews beckons us to do, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2).
Then this morning I read in the Message “ … If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me…” (Matt 10:38-39)
Hum… there it is again, the idea of forgetting about myself and instead looking to Jesus!
I think there is something to this.
Again I am not saying throw out the personalty tests!
But what I am saying is maybe instead spending so much time trying to figure myself out, trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and how I can fix it, I could instead spend that time looking to Jesus, reading the Word, praying and praising Him, not with the aim of figuring myself out, but with the soul goal of knowing Him, loving Him, praising Him, because He is worthy, in fact He alone is worthy, I am not worthy, you are not worthy of all the time and energy that we spend on ourselves.
Please hear me I’m not suggesting any kind of asceticism or self-deprecation, rather I am just think that most of us could probably think about ourselves less often, and think of Him more often, and that this would do us a lot of good, in fact I’m suggesting that with this reorientation we will not only, ironically, find ourselves, but it is the right and true perspective, for:
““Worthy [is He], our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for [He] created all things,
and by [His] will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:11)