Blind to Myself
We go through our entire lives unable to see ourselves. I don't mean that as a metaphor (not yet anyway) but quite literally. No one can see themselves directly. Unless you can take out your eyes and turn them back to yourself from arm's length, you depend upon reflections and images. Sight is our one sense that can't be self reflective. (You can hear, touch, smell and even taste yourself - but not see.) Because that is true, I have to trust the morning mirror, an iPhone snapshot, grandkid's art or my wife's admiration to understand what I look like. By the way, none of those offer a completely accurate picture. Most mirrors warp. Photos are pixelated. Loved ones don't always offer an honest perspective. ("Does balding make me look old?") So, I am left trusting a reflection of myself slightly distorted by technologies or human bias. I end my days never seeing the real me.
So it is with our souls. I believe that the mystery of who we really are is buried deep within. My identity is layered with expectations placed upon me, roles I want you to see, dreams I aspire to, and fears that hold me back. Beneath the masks I wear by compulsion or insecurity, my real self resides in shadows. I do not see it. In my twenties and thirties I established who I thought I was. But my forties and fifties were a deconstruction of the identity I had built. Some of the tearing down was a voluntary discovery. Most of it was God pulling at my facade. What I have found is this. Even as I rely on images and voices to reveal my appearance, so I rely on God to unveil my soul. He dwells in the crevices of heart beyond my perception. He has given me a new name that I am starting to recognize. He tells me who I am. How? God holds up the image of Jesus and allows the Spirit to measure me. My failures are obvious, but that isn't what the Spirit has emphasized. (Too easy a lesson!) Rather, He has pointed to Jesus as what I can be, want to be, and will be. He has whispered to my soul, "Beloved." His Voice has been so gentle and insistent, that I have learned to trust it. So when it comes to understanding myself, I peer less at my soul and more at Him. Whoever I am - it is woven together with Him. The fact that I can't see my soul’s shape well, doesn't concern me. I don't fret about it. As long as He knows me, sees me and understands - all with a grace beyond measure, it is enough. I am no longer trying to "find myself." I know I am found. I embrace that as good news - but it gets better. My soul’s shape will not be a secret forever. While I am currently hidden in Christ, when He appears, I will be unmasked (Colossians 3:4). I will see Him as He is. I will be seen as He has made me (1 John 3:2). We will all look good in glory.