Tag Archives: Seeking

Who I Was Meant To Be

“Who I was meant to be” popped up in two separate songs recently on my favorite contemporary Christian station. The phrase grabbed hold of me and has yet to let go. It represents hope:  hope that I’m not forever destined to remain the wounded, stunted human being that I began as.

If I’m honest, I didn’t start out trying to become a better person. While I don’t feel like I was ever really bad, I cringe when remembering some of the things I’ve done, some of them not that long ago. I’m not totally sure how my journey of improvement started. A brush with mortality in my late 30’s was a catalyst, though that wasn’t all of it. Much of it, I think, was just getting experience under my belt:  I eventually realized, through thousands of interactions with hundreds of people over a couple of decades, that people are a desert, and in the desert you don’t need much water to make an impact. It’s not only more rewarding to make people feel good, it’s addictive. It became circular:  the better I behaved, the better I wanted to behave. It wasn’t intentional, but I was changing from the inside out. I now wish I could go back and do so many things over again, but that’s never an option, is it? All we can ever do is learn and go forward from here.

I suppose that’s one of the most comforting aspects of Christianity…that no matter my unique flaws, no matter my regrets, no matter how shriveled my heart started out…as long as I allow the water of love to help me bloom, I am welcomed as a beloved child returning home. I am grateful for that mercy, for I have needed every minute of my life until now to earn my meager, hard-won progress. I am still very far from who I was meant to be, but I am closer today than I was before. And I won’t give up. I like who I was meant to be, much better than who I was.

“He said ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.'”  –The Velveteen Rabbit


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20 Questions

I found this list of “20 questions for every spiritual seeker” awhile back on the interesting travel blog site Matador, and I finally decided to meet the challenge to provide my personal answers to them. These are among the most challenging questions we can consider, and I suspect our answers are as diverse as we are. I don’t think I am up to the full challenge of answering them all at once, so I will answer one at a time. While I would prefer to answer the “easier” ones first, I will take them in order.

The first question is “Why is there poverty and suffering in the world?”. That’s a doozy of a question to start with, as this question has posed one of the biggest challenges to faith. I, too, struggled with this issue until doing the research for The Best Possible World, studying the concepts of free will and choice. The simple idea is that God requires from us only that we search for Him with complete free will. If God were obviously present in our lives, for example preventing bad things from ever happening, we would not have a true choice of whether to believe. To believe as we are told that God loves us, though bad things do happen, seems to require a belief that struggle in this life must be “less worse” than some alternative. What those alternatives may be is a matter of personal belief and tradition (and the subject of questions 11 and 12). I do not believe that God wants us to suffer, but allows it to allow us the privilege of the freedom to choose. It is a high price to pay; the reward must be large enough to match the price.

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”  –Friedrich Nietzsche