“To be nobody but myself–in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else–means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting.” – e.e. cummings
As I look around, so often it seems like what I do matters more than, “who I am.”
I am, first, and foremost, a child of God. Then, a daughter, wife, mother, aunt, friend and neighbor, and the list goes on. There was a time when my list would have started with my job title and then worked its way back with “child of God” being somewhere further back on the list, maybe even last. While in lots of ways, I was a success, having all the “necessities” of life and more, I was not happy. I did not have a happiness (or joy) that permeated my being…only a surface happiness. I recall thinking, at times, “There has to be more to life than this. This can’t be all there is.”
There was something missing. Come to find out, God was missing. No, actually, God was not missing. God was there, but I was not inviting God into my daily life. Despite attending Sunday Mass, I had no relationship with God, or at least not one that had any depth to it. I find it interesting that as I have worked to deepen my relationship with God, I have not only come to learn more about God, but have also come to see, more and more, who I am at the core of my being. In addition, I have come to see the gifts God has given to me as well as to consider how God might be calling me to use them in a way that is beneficial for me, and the people, and the world, around me. In chapter 1, verse 27, in the Book of Genesis, the Bible states:
“God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
What does it mean to me to be created in the likeness of God? While this may seem like a simple question, it cannot be answered without digging a little deeper. I need to have some idea of the following: What do I believe about God? How have I experienced God? Who has God been to me? and who is God to me now?
In my own life, I have found that putting my relationship with God at the center of my life…staying connected…listening and speaking with God and spending time with God’s Word, which has led to taking in, with new eyes and ears, the beauty of all of creation, has been the key to experiencing true happiness in life. That is, a sense of peace and well-being, that no amount of money or earthly people or things could give. This is not to say that everything goes my way all the time, but as “being a child of God” has moved forward on my list of who I am, whether things go my way or not is becoming less relevant.
St. Paul says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” (Col 3:12-15)
When I am able to hold fast to these truths, having only goodwill in my heart, nothing can harm me or take away who I am…who God created me to be, and…I am truly happy. There is no better feeling than that of joy in the Lord. Praise God!
But Moses said to God, “Who am I…” – Exodus 3:11