“When someone asks you what you do for a living, what do you think about? Maybe you try to equate your worth into mere sentences, maybe you try to butter up your life’s work thus far into something that sounds more intriguing than your day to day actually is. But has anyone ever asked you, who are you?
This question has the ability to stop anyone in their tracks and make them think. There would probably be an awkward pause as you search your mind for descriptive labels to come up with. Think about it, who are you? Not what do you do, rather who are you in the essence of your being?
What comes to mind?
You might assume a question like this takes time and energy to answer and you couldn’t be more correct, but where to find that answer? Does it come from who you believe yourself to be or does it come from who you want to be? Would thoughts of your accomplishments come to your mind or would you begin to think about who you believe your heart to be despite the choices you’ve made? Where would the answer come from?
There’s this avoidance that plagues people. Imagine everyone in the world being asked that same question simultaneously…the pause on the entire world would be felt in the atmosphere. Less busyness, less drama, less hiding, less covering, less downgrading, less suffering…more stillness. An awakening of sorts, but this would be the beginning.
You avoid the stillness because that directly makes you come face to face with the answer: I don’t know. Few have been awakened to Love.
Avoidance. Stillness. What comes next?
Wilderness. Before diving into the necessity of the wilderness you are about to enter, ask yourself, why do I avoid it with so much fervency? Why do you choose to remain asleep unawakened to Love? The wilderness sounds exactly like what it is. It’s dry, uncomfortable, hard to breathe, it feels alone, it can be unbearable, it causes you to question, it reminds you of a familiar past, it even peaks your desperation, but for what? What are you desperate for?
You are desperate for an answer that won’t come in the timing you believe it should, so you quit. You leave the wilderness or avoid it completely because the unknown on the other side of that wilderness isn’t promising. Why go through something seemingly painful all for an answer?
The One who provides that answer is jealous. Jealous of what? Have you ever thought to yourself that maybe I am being brought out into this lonely place because Someone wants all of my attention? Someone thinks I am valuable and important enough to want all of me, even when I don’t know who I am? Who would want someone who can’t answer that question? Who would want someone who has no recollection of their own self worth? Distractions and a familiar past won’t yield an answer. You’ve yet to find the answer but are awakened to the dullness of the distractions and familiar past.
Who am I?
The wilderness strips you of everything you thought you knew and everything you believed to be undeniable. Crisis in the form of identity, no wonder you turn a blind eye away from taking the time to get an answer to this question. When you’re in the wilderness you can’t rely on what used to satisfy you, you won’t be able to rely on what used to comfort you, you won’t even be able to rely on who you used to be; a stripping of sorts.
Death and life happen simultaneously, you are simply unaware of its immediacy in transformation. In order for new life to take form, something must die. What if you have yet to die, but have yet to live? Where does that leave you?
This is how you live life. To think you have lived the last fifteen to twenty years of your life asleep…how daunting. How do you wake up? How can you escape the sleep you live in daily? How do you know you’re awake? You become awakened to Love. You’ll get to a point in life where no amount of money, no accomplishment, no complement, no relationship, no adventure or vacation brings you a sense of lasting fulfillment. There’s a constant chase for something. Everyone shares a desperate need; all lacking but in search of something. The search stems from the lack of understanding. You have not answered the question, “Who am I” so you cover the unanswered question with labels, reputation, and false identities.
You become utterly aware of the answer in the wilderness. The stripping of what you’ve known creates space for something bountiful to blossom, and in that, a worthiness non-competitive and ever lasting arises in its place. An experience floods your being. The same empty chase that lacked fulfillment now becomes an overwhelming hunger that is satisfied completely, yet you want more. Hungry, satisfied, and still yearning to see and experience more? How can that be? This speaks to the wonder of Love’s vastness. To think that Love’s heart is vast enough that there is a special place in His heart that can only be filled by you is a concept worth leaning into. Nothing earthly loves you back with no expectation in return. Nothing earthly loves you back in the worst stages of what you deem unworthy. Nothing earthly loves you so deeply when you don’t love yourself.
The lack of love for self stems from the lack of understanding of self. If you could answer “Who am I?”, you might love the response so deeply and stand in adoration that Love thought each of you special enough to be created. In the wilderness, Love shows us pieces to His puzzle. The puzzle encompasses why Love loves you so deeply, why He placed you into being, and what He wants to accomplish through you; a life worth living. The wilderness stretches you thin into nothingness so that you can be rebuilt brand new as the one Love’s fullness wanted you to experience from the beginning.
To chase a concept with no means to an end sounds crazy, but you do it all the time. Think back to a time when you thought you were hopelessly in love. You’d do anything for that person and you didn’t expect anything back. You just wanted their heart. You would give them your last, your first, and everything in between. You forgave their mishaps, and saw beauty in their chaos. You experienced a love that was hungry, and you wanted more. You wanted to spend time with them. You wanted to laugh with them. You thought, if only they could see how beautiful and necessary they are to this world. You gave them all of you. You sacrificed for them. You didn’t remind them of their past, only spoke prophetically on who you knew they were. You encouraged them and believed in their being. You would do anything for them. Their smile made your heart full. Their hugs warmed your spirit. One look from them made your soul come alive. You think about them every moment they are away from you, and miss them dearly when you could not be next to them.
All of this, only a fraction of how Love sees you, and yet a love so few get to experience. You must realize this is not because Love does not want you to experience it, but because of His vastness, as mere human beings, we can only experience Love through our willingness, He never forces Himself on anyone; otherwise Love would not be love. Why can’t Love just reveal Himself to you fully? It would be like Love revealing all that He is to us and leaving you there to pick up their pieces of our exploding fragmented understanding. How cruel? Instead Love releases Himself little by little so that you lean into Him more. The more He shows, the more your hunger increases; an appetite that is satisfied and replenished but yearning to see and experience more of Love’s love.
Many will deny Love but not for good reason. They deny what man created Him to be in their minds; a poor representation, a judgemental King sitting on a throne who created servants merely to praise Him for His kingly-ness and if not at the right time, His subjects are sent off to a fiery pit for the rest of their days. This king we’ve made up rules based on laws, our appearance, what we’ve accomplished, and how much we’ve accrued on earth. A “well-done” would be extended only if He deemed us worthy of His presence.
It has been communicated all wrong. Love doesn’t want you to only love Him. He wants to show you His deep love and desire for your heart. He wants to show you how wanted and precious you are. Love wants to show you His unending, everlasting, burning desire to have you close to Him. He wants to show you who you truly are. Love wants to show you why you are here and walk with you while you accomplish your reason for being. You. There is but one spot in Love’s heart that only you can fill.
Did you know that your yes is the answer to someone else’s suffering? If every person on earth said yes to Love and leaned in to experience His fullness, there would be no suffering, no comparison, no mass shooting, no racial discrimination, no social injustice, no bias, no hate, no segregation, no social classes, no rich, no poor. If you could, imagine this is what heaven looks like, everyone who said yes to Love abides in His fullness, and there is space for every heart to be right next to His.
This is possible, but you must become awakened to Love. You must be curious about Love’s love. You must be comfortable with breaking up domesticated foundations so that you can experience everything. You must allow death and life to run its course simultaneously. You must be willing to let all you have accrued fall to the wayside and look to Love’s guidance. You must be willing to endure the wilderness. You must desire to know who you are. You must seek Love in His fullness. You must want to stop sleeping through life. You must be courageous. You must want to fall in love with Someone who is already head over heels in love with you. You must say yes to the unknown and take a step in the opposite direction of your confidence so it can be rebuilt in surety.
You must be willing to accept Love, and allow Him to create the change in you. All you must do is become curious, lean in, and free fall. Therein lies the answer to “Who am I?”, once awakened to Love”.