The poverty of uniqueness is the courageous but lonely yes to who you really are
O my God, help my heart forget myself so I can find rest from the weight of being my own little god. I am not as strong or important as I think or believe I am much of the time. I spend so much of my time, energy, and life trying to prove myself.
I have what A.W. Tozer calls 'the burden of pretense'. I want everyone to see my best while I hide my poverty at all costs. It is exhausting. I am a sinful man like every other, yes, but the exhausting part of it all is actually in the effort it takes to look other than and more than I actually am.
I do not have to expend much effort to be sinful or to admit with all of humanity that I am a sinful man. It is exhausting to uphold what I am not. It is exhausting to uphold my little god status. It is heart-breaking when people, as they inevitably must, attack the idol of self I have crafted. It is no wonder we find little peace when so much of our life and reality is spend in tireless and fruitless effort to be and appear more than we really are.
God, rescue me from this tireless effort. I am weary and heavy-laden with this burden. Lay upon me your yoke of meekness and peace. I am not as strong as I think I am or appear to be.
As soon as Jesus calls Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus is still not free. He is still bound by the grave clothes. Jesus does not unwrap him. No, the very Jesus who just breathed life into a man did not unwrap the binding grave clothes. He has some other guys do it. Why would he do that? He is perfectly capable of unbinding him with a snap of a finger or a word of his mouth.
Jesus knew the very people who wrapped him will unwrap him. Now, many of us are Christians. Many of us have been a Christian for a long time, but are we still free? DO we still feel free? There are still grave clothes.
I need the reminder, the gospel, every single day. Without it, I forget the gospel and its efforts to change me each day.
I need the people around me. I need the accountability of my gift of grace. I need the accountability of my good friends. I need that challenge to always get back to the gospel, the milk, the simple identity of Abba's Child. I need those around me to help unwrap me. Yes, God is capable of unwrapping me myself. He is perfectly capable of doing it with just a word, but I need to have my brothers as well to unwrap the grave clothes that bind me. It is God's design.
The truth is that when I am in control of my own life, I end up being very destructive to myself and others. This is why it is very important for my life to be directed and controlled by God. But the problem is that I give control over to other things and people when I allow other things and people to determine WHO I AM! I realize in my head that these things cannot make me who I am intended to be, but I still find myself living differently. These things may change who I am on the outside, but they have nothing to do with who I really am. What I do comes out of who I am. How much do I realize God's love for me? God loves me and cares about me. He has a plan and purpose for my life; all the other things I use to determine who I am are false. All the other things I have attached "my self" to are "idols". I have attached my identity, "who I am", to other things than God and have, in so doing, created idols.
My true identity, who I really am, is God's beloved. I have to claim my identity solely with that realization. IF I were able to do that perfectly, I would have given God complete control of my life...
A warning to all people who know me: my identity has been stolen. Be careful when you see "PC" because you need to determine who you are actually talking to. My identity has been stolen by an impostor, and the impostor is well-liked and very crafty. He will do all that he can to make you believe he is the real PC, but not be fooled. The impostor looks a lot like me, but he acts and reacts differently than I do. So be on the look out for a guy who looks just like me but may act or react in any variety of the following ways.
- has no opinions of his own; simply conforms - acts "okay" when things are not okay - lacks emotional honesty - is over-anxious to impress you when he doesn't have to - seems obsessed with getting your affirmation - will not tell you how he fells about...anything - acts better than he really is (to impress you) - speaks very little about his faults or struggles - demands to be noticed - will draw identity from achievement - avoids feeling - overly-passive - not creative (lacks creativity that I have) - intimidated
He may surface from time to time from hiding. If you notice this man, please report him to the proper authority. If you should come into contact with the impostor, please contact his Father (whose name is Abba) and be gentle and loving. He is harmless to most everyone but his true self, me.
Has your identity been stolen by an imposter? What should I keep an eye out for?