Are you singing everyone’s song but your own? Are you marching to the beat of everyone’s drummer but your own? Are you performing to an ever-changing, ever-fickle audience? Do you even have your own tune? Do you even have your own drummer? Are you acting for approval which never comes” Does anyone really know the REAL you, or do they see a carefully-crafted persona, an Avatar? If you are, you are NOT alone.
Yes, I have been there too, for the first fifty-seven years of my life, and I was lost when I “struck-out” that last time. I had a name, but I didn’t know WHO I was. Those were treacherous-waters. When I started not caring about what anyone thought about me, the real ME started emerging, peeking-out from the rubble of what had been my life. It was hard. It was scary, but I had to do it. I didn’t have any other choice. My old life was in ruins so I couldn’t go back.It was either become ME, or die…
Why did I have to wait until after my dad died to find out that he was “proud” of me? He couldn’t tell me that he was “proud” of me because I hadn’t met his expectations.
Do YOU even know who you are?
If this is YOU, why not join me on a voyage of discovery? You might just come out as a new person.
There is ONLY one YOU! There is ONLY one ME! Even if you have an identical-twin, YOU are different. We are NOT copies and we are NOT clones, so why is it so hard to be who you really are? Is our authentic-selves not “good-enough”?
The short-answer is “NO!”
When we are born, we are given our first “identity”. Our parents named us, and we were their “son” or “daughter”. They soon started teaching their’s and society’s expectations, whether is was “put some clothes on” or “don’t make a fuss in church”. If we didn’t meet those expectations, we received their wrath. We were taught early-on to CONFORM!!! No “square-pegs for round-holes” allowed.
When we started going to school, they expected us to “make good grades”, however they defined “good grades”. We might have even been punished if our grades weren’t “good enough”. I didn’t always meet “expectations”, particularly in high school. When I was raising my own kids, “good grades” meant the best that they could do. My oldest daughter is very-bright, “gifted and talented”, so her “best” was “straight-A’s”, which was what she made. My other kids weren’t quite as talented, so their grades weren’t quite as “good”, but still the best they could do. They were talented in other ways. I tried to not be a “pushy-dad”.
Next comes the question of college, or… My dad was disappointed that I didn’t go straight to college right after high school, which was his expectation. I fulfilled my dream of being a professional musician by becoming an Army Bandsman. It was there that I realized that I didn’t have what it took to be a professional musician in the outside-world. It was also there where my roles and titles were more important than who I was. I was Sgt. McFarland, Section Leader and Barracks NCO. I was also Fire and Safety NCO, and periodically either Charge of Quarters or Duty-NCO, depending on which “hat” they had me wear. The only place I could be “Steve” was on the outside. Do you see a pattern developing?
As we go along in life, we collect more “titles” and more “roles”, and unfortunately these become our “identity”. “Who” we are becomes buried in “what” we are, and as long as we can “replace” a lost “title” or “role” when we lose one, we may feel like we are doing “Okay”. BUT, what happens when that last “title” or “role” gets stripped-away from us?
Along the way, I became a “husband”, and then a “father”, as well as an employee of “X-Corporation”. I then became a “team-leader” for a Search and Rescue Team, as well as a “Captain” and “Assistant Director of Communications” in the Civil Air Patrol.
When we moved, and I changed jobs a few times, “titles” and “roles” came and went, but the core, “husband” and “father” stayed the same. Then came the “crash of ’97”. Within a few weeks’ time, I lost my job AND my family. When my wife committed suicide, her family took my kids away from me. Yes, I CRASHED, and I was left without anything to “prop” me up. That was my first, but not my last, “identity-crisis”.
Towards the end of 1998, some “normalcy” was restored when I remarried. I was a “husband” again. That gave me a new “anchor”. I also got involved in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a Volunteer Fire Department. Those brought new “titles” and new “roles”, and helped me survive the next “crash”, the “crash of ’07”. I lost my right eye AND my wife, who divorced me after I lost my eye. BUT, I still had a job and a “title”, and I was still part of a Fire Department.
By mid-2008, I had remarried – again, and I still had my job and the “title” that went with it. I left the Fire Department because we moved out of the area, but being a “husband” was my “anchor”. Then I lost my job…
Have you spotted the “little-problem” yet? What if I give you a clue? Every “crash”, and every new “normal”, was lower than the one before it. Each time I lost out, I lost more than I would ever regain.
The next “crash” came in 2010. I had lost my job, so the only income I was able to bring in was from the odd-jobs I was able to do and the pittance of unemployment I got each month. My wife had married me for my money, and when my money ran out, she did too. At least I still had a place to live.
The final “crash” came in early-2013. I had remarried, again, just a few weeks earlier. I had left the Fire Department for the last time and moved to an unfamiliar area. Less than six weeks after we got married, she abruptly moved out, while I was out of town for a doctor’s appointment. I had lost my last “prop”, but there was no turning-back. I had to stay in the area while I worked towards a reconciliation that hasn’t happened over three years later.
I could moan and bellyache about all I lost, including the last vestiges of my old “identity”, but I have already written about that extensively in other posts, so I would rather tell you about what I GAINED.
I am a child of the living God, the second-most exalted status in the universe. Only Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God ranks higher than me. I am free from arbitrary-expectations, so I can sing my own song, act in my own play, and dance to the beat of my own drummer. I have only one Judge and Law-Giver, Almighty God, and His law has been summed up in the two Great Commandments, which are: Love God above all else, and love my neighbor as myself. I am FREE, I am LOVED, I am a child of the Living God, and nobody nor anything can take that away from me. Goodbye old “identity”.
Will YOU Dare To Be Authentic? It is the best feeling in the world.
What is man?
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
I pray that this is YOUR significance. It is mine, and nobody can take it away from me.
I have great worth apart from my performance, because Christ gave His life for me, and therefore imparted great value to me. I am deeply loved, fully pleasing, totally forgiven, accepted, and complete in Christ.