14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
I’m still thinking about last week’s topic on aging. If it’s not a specific age that defines us, that leaves us satisfied, then what is it? Because we all have to explain ourselves somehow. We will pencil in a definition if none is forthcoming.
If you ask my daughter what she’s about, she’ll tell you how old she is, what she’s wearing, and the mood she’s in: I’m three, I’m in a purple glittery t-shirt and I’m happy-ish, but I want a snack. Done. Defined. This is her. But she’s also a sister, a daughter, a preemie, a toddler, a perfectionist, a dramatist, a narcissist (aren’t all three year olds?) and an occasional generous soul.
There’s an idea that’s stuck to me recently, given the state of our country. It is the idea of secular liturgies. Secular liturgies are all the ways we define ourselves by the world’s standards…all the things we fill in on all those blanks on social media and government forms and neighborhood over-the-fence surveys.
Here are a few for consideration:
I am…what I wear.
–That’s an obvious one because the first thing people notice about us is our looks. Eyes might be the window to the soul, but they also take in all the rest too.
I am…what I own.
–Same as above, but the visual picture you create extends to your property: your house, car, vacations, all the amenities of life.
I am…what I do.
–Vocation is validation. We’ve heard it all before. But I believe this extends to all we do, not just our jobs. It’s easy to define yourself by what you accomplish whether that be in the workforce, in the home, or in the world at large. We all like to have items checked off the list.
I am…what people think I am.
–This one’s about letting everyone else tell you what you need to be in each situation. It’s also the most exhausting, because it makes you too malleable to other people’s whims, a big ball of playdough that everyone else gets to mush into what makes them most comfortable.
There are many more I could add to this list but in the end, we are called first to be daughters and sons of Christ. And here’s where it gets tricky. If I am a Christian, then I have to act like one in all the “I am’s”. It has to shine through in how I dress, how I manage what I own, how I spend my time, and how authentic I am in each situation. My underlying Christianity needs to rise like cream and be the richest part of me, not just another “I am.” Moses wanted a definition of God to explain to his people. He wanted a noun with a few adjectives to go along with the burning bush. But God said “I am who I am.” Let that be enough. He has to be enough for me too.
Antoine de-Saint-Exupery, the great French writer said,
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teacher them to long for the endless immensity that is the sea.”
Whether I mean to or not, I am painting a picture with my life of what I long for. I want my picture to be a real Pollock of a painting splattered with the passion and energy of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hallelujah, stand up in church! I don’t want to ho-hum it. I want my picture to be my liturgy and my liturgy to be God in all caps, His “I AM” setting the frame for my own life. It’s harder than it sounds, but also easier. I just have to long for Him more than I long for all the rest.
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!