Whenever I spend time with my two older children (Kate, 17 and Will, 15), I
sense this question underneath all our more in-depth discussions. Whenever I
spend time alone with the Lord, I sense this question beneath all my
frustrated conversations with Him. Together with my children, perhaps with
you as well, I ask, “How am I supposed to be me?” In this fallen world, with
our fallen selves, how could this impossible goal possibly be possible?
One single answer will not do, will it? After all, we are all uniquely
created to be different “me’s”. my oldest daughter, the dancer; my oldest
son, the painter; I least of all it seems approaching fifty am hard pressed
to tell you exactly what it is I “do.” And our two little ones (Nate, 11 and
Maggie, 10). where to even begin? The strangest thing is the two of them
seem least disturbed by the question!
There are, of course, the quick theological answers, “made in the image of
God.” “Conformed to the image of Christ.” “Die to yourself.” But in the
midst of my own personal confusion, these kind of didactic answers don’t
seem enough. There is an unsatisfied place in my soul they barely even
touch. When you are on the other side of a dilemma like this it is easy to
look back and say to yourself, “Of course, it should have been obvious to me
then.” But Kierkegaard was right when he said that the problem with life is
that it is lived forward and understood backwards. Where I am, at this point
in the journey, they are not enough. I need more than answers. My hands may
be filled with books that are filled with all sorts of good answers but I
find instead that my hands ache to be filled with the warm flesh of another
Hand. I don’t need answers as much as I need to know I am not alone. I don’t
need a wise guru; I need a silent, listening, loving Friend.
Incarnation, Presence is the only answer to this dilemma of how I am
supposed to be myself, of how you are supposed to be yourself. It was not an
answer composed of words, even the wisest of words. No, the answer is the
Word that has come alive, a word whose power lies not in somehow convincing
me of the truth of who I am but of a Word that will someday make me true.
The Nazarene stepped out, lived and breathed out the only answer worth
holding on to. He is the Answer after all to how we are supposed to become
ourselves. Weaving in and out, breathing in and through the precious moments
we have preserved for us in the gospels of that perfect life of His, those
contain the answer woven into all those timeless moments. Those moments when
He said the perfect thing to have said or left it unsaid in the perfect
silence that must have surrounded His words. Those moments when He did the
perfect thing, or did nothing at all, in that still, grace-full perfection
that is His presence.
At the heels of the hunt the answer is surprisingly simple and frighteningly
complex. The answer is the perfect solution though paradoxically it leaves
the question altered yet still unanswered. So let me ask it for you in
another way that settles it as far as I am concerned.
“Jesus, how am I supposed to be me?”
From the Study is a monthly syndicated column by Michael Card. For more
information about Michael Card, please visit www.michaelcard.com.