"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Who Are You?

Lost: having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.: lost children.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."
-Jeremiah 29.11

Who are you? Does anyone know? Does anyone even care? I think the majority of people spend their lives not knowing who they truly are or what they stand for. The reason I feel so strong about this is because I was living proof, for more than twenty years, of this very fact. The worst thing about it was that I was lost and I didn't even know it. 

Not knowing who you are affects so many different aspects of your life. JC Watts, the famous University of Oklahoma quarterback and once US Congressman said, "That if you're 99% sure who you are, you are a 100% lost." I met Mr. Watts in the St. Louis airport shortly after I heard him say that very thing on a "Focus on the Family" segment and I thanked him for his powerful and truthful statement. I added that I agreed with him and that I suspect many of us are lost." He went on to thank me and agreed that his words are an unfortunate truth.

Being lost and not knowing who we are presents a challenge in every area of our lives. It will affect our self-esteem, our attitude, the companionship we choose and ultimately our future. When we are unable to recognize who we are it will eventually lower our self-esteem. A low opinion of our self will lead to us making poor decisions. We will begin to think less of our capabilities and our abilities.

It is at this very time we will feel as if our life has no purpose; we become paralyzed. This paralysis will also confine our attitudes to the wheelchair of negative thinking. As failure begins to creep into our lives our attitude becomes full of bitterness, jealousy and anger. This disposition leads us to believe life owes us something and when she doesn't live up to her end of the deal we begin to think in some way we have been robbed, been cheated.

M. Scott Peck tells us in the very first sentence in his book, "The Road less Traveled", that life is difficult. Why is this a shock? Life is difficult and the sooner we realize it the better off we will all be. We are called to live above our problems and circumstances. To be content no matter the situation. I'm not saying that we should become complacent; we should always strive to better ourselves and eliminate the negative status quo in our lives, as well as, help others do the same and help them in their time of need. But the principle that must be remembered is that life owes us nothing. It never said that it would be fair, or that it would look out for you and me. 

Only God promises to do that.

The only thing life promises us is change, challenges and difficulties. Life also offers happiness and joy, but we as humans seem to have a short term memory when comes to the many blessings in our lives. It is the change and challenges, the trials and tribulations, that cause us so much consternation, but it's ultimately up to us how we are going to handle all these "gifts" that are disguised as pain and often delivered to us with so much discomfort. 

The key principle to be learned is that we can't plan our challenges, but we can plan our attitudes.

Friendships, true friendships, are hard to come by when you are struggling to find your true identity too. Our judgment becomes impaired and we choose people who really don't care about us or our life; you become a follower instead of a leader. Steve Largent, the once great wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks and current member of the football "Hall of Fame" said on his first term on Capitol Hill, "That if you don't know who you are when you get here (Washington D.C.), that someone will own you by the day's end."

Life is brutal.

I can assure you that if you don't know who you are, or what you stand for, life will eat you up... it will own you. You'll fall prey to those who don't have your best interest in mind. Your owner can be anyone or anything. It can be your friends and their ways, it can be alcohol, drugs, dishonesty, stealing, pornography, greed or it can be misery just to name a few. 

Ultimately, friendships say as much about who we are as they do about who we want to be. Remember, you are known by the company you keep.

All of these negative things that I shared can lead to a very dim future, a future we can change when we find out who we truly are. The good thing about the process of self realization and self examination is that it forces us to get real with ourselves and if we don't like what we see in the mirror we can change it.

It's up to us.

The best step we can take towards becoming who we were created to be is to invite God into our hearts. Ask Him to come and save us; to confess that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and for me. And it is because of His mercy and grace, and our confession that we are saved and have eternal life. I know this to be true because His word says so and because God changed me.

I'm a new person, a new person in Christ. It is not that I've changed physically or that I don't still entertain selfish and poor behavior. It's not that I don't get angry any more or that words are spoken that should have never been spoken. I'm a new person in Christ because I realize what my purpose and my true identity is through him. I realize that I can't do it by myself and that God didn't create or equip me to do so. He created me with the desire in mind for me to totally depend on him. He will carry the heavy load. All I have to do is believe in Him and seek His face daily.

If anything I'm more humble because of this fact.

You would think that two failed marriages, financial failure and collapse, being fired from a job and having two children out of wedlock, in the same year, would humble anyone. Trust me when I say it did. My wife still likes to comment that I was, and can still be, a very "confident" man... I think she is being very kind when she makes those statements.

I think what she really wants to say is that you were an arrogant jerk. 

I agree.

Through all my failures and adversities the Lord was kind and gracious enough to show mercy upon me and share with me that I'm not capable having true success without Him in my life.

Again, I was humbled.

And through this humbleness I realize that the success that God wants to offer us is not necessarily worldly success. There is nothing wrong with worldly success, in fact it is great, but there has to be, and there is, more to life than the corner office, piles of money, nice cars and a big house(s). The success that a relationship with Jesus Christ can provide consists of joy, peace and contentment to name just a few.

And eternal salvation.

In the end, I've been shown that God truly has a "future and a hope" for me and that He will "neither leave me nor forsake me". I must say that is a very comforting and reassuring thought. And though I'm ridiculed from time to time for what I believe, I'm very thankful for those moments. They cause me to take pause and reflect on what I believe. Is this what I believe? Is this who I want to be?  Is this who I am?

The answer to all three of the questions is yes.

It was once said that it takes a wise man to suffer ignorance and smile, and while I don't claim to be wise I do smile a lot.

Finally, Socrates once said, "that life without self-examination is a life worth not living." Is your life worth living for? Do you know who you are? More importantly, do you know who you want to be?

sbb 26.12.10


Jenifer said...

Wow. You have made me think.........deeply. My sister is a good friend of yours and she tells me I should read your blogs more often. She FB'd this link to me and I am so glad I read it. Thank you.

sbb said...

Jenifer...thanks so much for the kind words and for taking time to check mybabyr0c out. Let me know who your sister... Again, thanks for your words and I look forward to talking to in the near future...Look me up on FB. Shawn