Something I’ve been thinking about:
I don’t really know who I am. I don’t really know myself–the deepest parts of me, the “twillight zone”, as I suppose Nouwen would call it, is as much a mystery to me as it is to other people. I think this is how Nouwen puts it:
“There is a twilight zone in our hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves-our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and our drives-large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. This is a very good thing. We will always remain partially hidden to ourselves.”
And this is true of me. I can feel it. Perhaps this phase of my life can be characterized by a deeper understanding of my lack of understanding. My lack of self-awareness. I don’t really know who I am. But I think, if I can be so bold as to say it, that that is not the important thing. The important thing is that I know who I want to become.
I want to be a person who listens. I want to be the kind of person who lives in a way that invites people to share their story with me. I want to be the kind of person others feel they can go to and receive not condemnation but acceptance, not a diagnosis but a listener, not a false sense of everything-will-be-okay but a genuine sense of hope rooted in the character of Christ. I want to be the kind of person whose friends know that they are deeply loved and deeply cared about, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. I want to be the kind of person who serves instinctively, who understands that “words spoken in deep love or deep hate set things in motion within the human heart that can never be reversed.” I want to be someone who speaks words of life, who prays (com)passionately for her friends, who withholds from anger and jealousy as much as humanly possible. I want to be someone whose lifestyle encourages other people–not in its flawless ability to imitate Christ, but in its genuine attempt to love and live like Him even when failing again and again and again.
You see, I’ll be honest with you: I wish I knew who I was a little bit better. I feel like a stranger living in a foreign soul. I feel like life would be just a little easier if my twilight zone was a little less twilight. But I’m reminded that I have to be patient, keep trusting in God. Another one by Nouwen:
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.”
Knowing who I am is not the most important thing. Who I am is constantly changing, growing, molding and deepening. Who I want to be–now that is something I can root myself in. I want to be like Jesus. I’ll keep looking at and to Him in the hopes that the clay will begin to reflect the potter. It’s all I can really do. I am a mystery unto myself. But that’s okay. Like Bonhoeffer said, “Whoever I am, Thou knowest O God, I am Thine.” And I am reminded constantly that I am safe because Somebody else knows me. Sees me. And loves me.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine.