I think I ought to know who I am.
Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is You-er than You.
But is it the “You-er than You” that you see in me?
Is it the “you-er than You” who you see yourself?
To have a flavour. To be distinct and recognisable. To be an experience, an entity, an essence, that description can only portray, that can never truly be captured. My flavour. My me. Is it not every one of us? Is it not the mix of flavours that make our communities, our friendships and loves so potent, so fragrant, so memorable.
Must a flavour be labelled and packaged before it can be used? Our society is very taken with the idea of discovering oneself, of escaping and travelling afar to find ourselves. The truth is all too often we live in a bondage that comes from feeling restricted and powerless to progress, being stranded until we have fully discovered our identity, our essence, our “Me”. But is life itself not merely the process of being found, of being slowly discovered; a process to be relished, to be savoured, to be engaged in everyday. Can it ever really be finished?
To live is to be slowly born.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Yet with what we have found, what we have discovered, we so often keep private, out of sight, hidden. It is fear that stops us from disclosing ourselves. How often do we shy away from being who we are, who we’ve discovered so far, to fit into the social confines, perceived expectations of those around us? How often do we allow the fear of how others may think, react, respond, to constrict our visible selves, to keep us contained within our self-imposed limits of what we have perceived others to perceive as acceptable and normal? And why do we fear? Do we not know that they are waiting for someone else to go first? Do we not know that our “You-er than you” is what will release and empower others to be their selves? Do we not realise that we are all playing the same game, struggling against the same rules?
Oh, you can’t help that.
We’re all mad here.
You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.
There is a freedom that releases freedom. It is the expression of self, of truth, that qualifies, that permits those around us to try; our expression of truth that calls them to try. It is the shedding of closely held masks, and comfortable lies that allows us to be seen, to be known, to be loved; it is in the shedding that the path to being seen, known, loved becomes apparent, available. In being ourselves, we open up another way, another option, another life. It is, in fact, the truth that sets you free. Again.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Paul: Galatians 5:1
Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
We worry that we are different, that we are excluded on account of our differences, not realising that it is in fact our differences, our uniqueness, that is the common thread. We were created, designed, shaped to fit and reflect aspects of our maker that no-one else will or could. We aren’t the same as everyone else, as anyone else, for we weren’t designed to be, nor indeed were they. Unique in the calling, gifting, contributing essence of our lives, we are matched to the individual road that lies ahead, the road that no-one else will travel.
When people talk, listen completely.
I like to listen.
I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.
Most people never listen.
The opportunity we have is to see the person in front of us, to be ourselves, both beautiful and flawed, thereby giving permission for them to be themselves. To look into our friends, our family, our colleagues, and to be ever calling and drawing the essence and the gold that lies within; however well masked, hidden or buried. Can we be that person who is subconsciously known as the one who doesn’t so much hear, as listens? Can we be that one who releases freedom by walking in freedom, by walking in truth, by walking in integrity of self?
What will our towns, our neighbourhoods, look like as others see demonstrated a life lived free of fear, a life grounded in being true, being known, being loved. A life that is unafraid of what it is you bring to the table; rather, excited to discover what you are bringing to the mix.
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.
We are all in the process of discovering ourselves. We all have much yet to learn, many areas to grow, many branches yet to be pruned. Of course we aren’t finished with the refining, the distilling, the much-loved purifying.
But remember: God likes your flavour. He made it. He wants it. He requires it.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine”