Recently I was visiting my ailing 92 year old mother and as I was getting ready to leave, she grabbed my hand pulling me down close to her face. Staring directly into my eyes she said “Paul, go and be yourself – that’s enough!” With this simple blessing she kissed me and wished me well on my trip back home to Chicago as she has done each time I leave her.
It’s a wonderful blessing to receive and an even more wonderful way to live, yet I find it difficult to embrace this fully for myself.
Be myself – it’s enough. Really? How can it be? Isn’t this an arrogant view of myself that puts me in the center of my world instead of allowing God to be in the center of my world? It seems counter intuitive to allowing God’s presence to fill our lives – shaping us from the inside out. Doesn’t scripture call us to deny ourselves in order to let God’s spirit dwell within us?
Adding to that, I know both the bright and the dark areas of my soul. I know all the doubts, questions and insincerities of my faith journey, my ideas of God, the spiritual life and all that goes with that. Shouldn’t I be trying harder to ‘fix’ all these areas of my life – especially all the sins that so easily entangle me?
My mom’s words suggest otherwise. “Just go and be yourself – it’s enough!” The forgiveness Jesus offers us suggests the same idea to me. Your sins are forgiven, your doubts don’t matter, your fickleness is unimportant to me. Go and live freely, unhampered by that which can so easily hold you down. Go and be yourself and in the middle of being yourself, you’ll find me at the deepest part of yourself. That’s enough!
As I face the new year, it’s my hope, prayer and resolution to live more fully ‘into’ the person God has created and freed me to be and in so doing, to find him at the core of my heart, my mind, my soul and my life. This is my prayer for you as well.
Happy New Year 2015!