So many people talk about wanting to “find” themselves that it has become a cliché. Conveniently enough, people need to “find themselves” in fantastic locations like western Europe. Neat how it works out like that, huh?
Why do people feel like they have to leave their home to do this finding? Is there something to being on the road and experiencing something other than the norm? Is that a basic requirement in how you find yourself?
I think there is something to that. We do need to get in a different environment to stretch us and help us figure out who we really are. Maybe that doesn’t need to happen thousands of miles from home, but we do seem to intuitively need to get away from time to time.
The students I work with seem to find themselves when we are in mission. I can pull out countless stories of teenagers who discovered who God created them to be as they served alongside the down-and-out. They see a passion in helping others burst out of their hearts. They find out that serving others is something we are created to do. I wholeheartedly believe that this is one of the most powerful ways to find out who you are: by joining in building the Kingdom of God.
Oddly enough, I “found myself” across the street from my home, way back in November of 1993. I went on a weekend retreat at a school not fifty yards from my doorstep. A bunch of juniors and seniors spent a weekend hearing about Jesus of Nazareth and what it means to follow Him. We learned what unconditional love cost us and how it was poured out recklessly for us.
That Saturday night, I lost something. And what did I find? I found myself.
I was a lost kid. I knew that my family loved me, but I didn’t really understand love. I certainly had no clue as to what the love of Christ really meant. That weekend, I died to self and became a new creation. I didn’t know I was lost…until someone helped me figure that out.
The God of the universe never loses us. We might feel like we have to find ourselves, but in Christ, we find our true selves. In following The Rabbi, I find my true nature when I look at who I am through the lens of Christ.
I was lost but now I am found.