To Thine Own Self Be True

I had always thought that was a self-idolizing maxim. I felt it was in opposition to all that the call of the cross represented, but in the context of some things I am slowly facing … I have to look again at the idea within that piece of the world’s wisdom.

How often are we misguided in our walk as Christians, or for the common experience of humanity, by untrue representations of us, of our goals or abilities? How much of our life is wasted in meeting others expectations; expectations that are so incongruent with who we are and how we are made and what it is we are best pursuing in life? How much is clearly ignoring God’s plan and message to us personally? How much is substitution of confusing stereotype and dead-end thinking?

In the pursuit of godliness we are to reflect the image of God, that is essentially what godliness is. A true reflection, the true form of what humanity is to be. So, I wondered. Is God interested in “being true to Himself”? God does not need to self-discover I presume…maybe I am wrong about that, but what I do see is that God is often maligned by those who think that God should be untrue to His nature and characteristics.

Why doesn’t God do something about evil? Why does He allow it? Why doesn’t he just end it all ? Why did He allow this situation if He foresaw it? These are common questions, and almost all are premised in the ideas of God’s need to pre-empt Himself in some way to satisfy the questioner’s ideas of justice and mercy, not God’s manifestation of those things which are rooted in His character. Why can’t God be the “someone else” that we want Him to be? We like His justice when it is convenient for us, and His mercy when we get something from it… but as soon as it crosses our own interests, or costs us something by its demand, then we have allegations of God’s cruelty, or injustice. Well, what we want, then, is for God to be untrue to what he is in that case, right? Just bend it a bit for us? Pretend he something else for our comfort levels to stay un-mussed and undisturbed. Because being like God is just so very painful. Crucifying, actually. Why do we need to suffer with longstanding problems and why do we need to put up with repeated failures of those who just aren’t trying hard enough? We don’t like this suffering and it doe not seem to be worth the costs. Why not cut short the losses, Lord?

What connection does this have to knowing oneself and being true to oneself? I think it has a lot to do with identifying with what God says we are. Discovering and accepting our gifts and how they are to manifest in the plan of God, even when it is uncomfortable for us for others who have to adjust to us…when those gifts are an uncomfortable fit in the status quo. To recognize the development of those gifts is sometimes in the crucible of suffering and misunderstanding, and wait in a self understanding that what we are is not always appreciated, but is valuable and necessary. We are needed in the fact that we have a uniqueness in the particular combination of time, place, and characteristics. No one will be quite like us in our function, and it matters whether we fulfill our potential or not. It matters in God’s plan and it matters in the lives of those we touch and have to do with.

And we need to know that and be true to that. Otherwise we could throw away ourselves.
“Who do you think you are?” Well. Do you know? Be it, and be it to the glory of God.