Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Times They Are A-Changin'

It's funny how at each stage of your life, there's never this easy realization that you're older. It's more of a push and pull - wanting to be older, wanting to stay young, wanting the responsibility, wanting to give it all up and hide.

Recently, I've been feeling ever-so-existentialist. Pondering why I am here, who I am, what carves out my identity and how others perceive me and how far I could go before that identity or perception of identity changes. And it all scares me. I sometimes feel like it's something I want to push all of these questions to the back of my head and never think about them ever again, but then there it goes again, popping right back into mind, making me question everything about myself.

Like... am I cool? What is cool? Do I have friends, or do they just say they are my friends, or do they only hang out with me because I'm friends with their friends, and are those friends even my friends, and if not them, then am I likeable at all? So I am unsure of who my friends are.

It continues into about every area of my life. If I was really good in school at this, and got my degree in this, and two minors in that and that, but then went to school for the other, then what am I actually good at? And if I like the one, but like the other, then what am I best at? So I am unsure of what my truest vocation is.

So someone else tells me to follow my heart. But what if my heart is indecisive? What if one thing brings me happiness, and another brings sadness but fulfillment? What if both fill me in different ways? And so my heart cannot guide every decision.

So someone else tells me to use my best judgment. But then I ask, based on what? My values? Okay - but how do I prioritize them, and what if there are a whole bunch of things that I count as values, and what if some things are only valuable if you approach them with an appropriate attitude? So rational thought - but pros and cons lists when making decisions can only go so far. And sometimes the rational choice isn't the choice that best fits a person who is equally built on emotion. So even my best judgment doesn't quite work out the way I want it to.

So now what?

I am left with only one thing, and it's Jesus. The only constant ever in my life.

And it's funny because even this one constant leaves me with questions - what does it mean to fully follow God? Does it mean giving up everything in my life? Am I doing enough right now for His kingdom, and if not, what should I be doing better? Underpinning all of that is this desire to get God to accept me, to fit in, to love me - which He totally already does, so I really don't need to stress so much. But I also think sometimes that it takes a lot of guts to fully devote your life to Christ, and I wonder over and over again if that's really what I've done, or whether I live my life for myself and hope that God will just help me get through it, rather than living my life for God and hoping that I will be used by God to bring people to His kingdom.

And perhaps this Christ-centered identity is best discovered in relationships with others, with the "Church" or people equally focused on Jesus. 

I often feel alone in a large group of people. Like I could carry on a conversation and never be heard. Or maybe a bit better, never understood. I've come to fully appreciate the friends who take the time to understand me, to get to know my heart and answer the questions that are underpinning my ever-wavering, ever-changing self and help me discover and appreciate a bit of who I am. We are all formed in a community, around people who shape us and form us, and while we have choices, we equally need these people in our lives to help us discover the important things in life. I think my biggest challenge is to pour into others the way certain people have poured into me, while also taking the time to figure out what exactly my constants look like over this next year.