The Larger Self
When God created us male and female in his image he declared his creation good, [Genesis 1:27-31] even though he gave us free will. Regardless of the state of the world which seems to be increasingly volatile, which we, all of mankind, have created, we have to entertain the possibility that God who knows every hair on our head[Luke 12:7] and every single thought we have had[Psalm 139:2] and every deed we have done[Hebrews 4:13] still and always loves us as we are. And if we entertain this possibility long enough, we must see that he loves us, warts and all or in the terms of an old western movie—the good, the bad and the ugly; and if that is true…
We are given the option to choose how we behave on this planet we call Earth. The problem comes from our denial of the negative—we give it so much power, we cannot acknowledge it in favor of an unrealistic positive—all good, no bad. So we ignore our self-serving behavior, the mixture of motives in most of what we do and how much our need for love and attention outweighs everything else in our lives. But we are blind to it, because we wear masks to protect ourselves from seeing exactly who we are and to keep from others seeing the truth about us.
Our denial of the truth about our choices has lead us to water down Jesus’ radical teachings to a palatable and easily attainable mix of: attending church, putting a good face on us, doing “good” without our hearts in it and being nice. This is a far cry from what Jesus taught, but it is a mostly attainable standard without requiring any major changes in us. We can continue to deny the negative about us, we can keep wearing the mask, we can live the rest of our lives at home and in our jobs in keeping with the American culture’s way. We can be of help to others, but never engage with them. After all they are “not us.” We can even distance ourselves from God, allowing him into our lives a little and, while we seem very dedicated, we never let him close to us.
We need to be aware that unconsciously all us are able to read each other’s energy. In reality we are not getting away with anything, even when we all play this game, when we’re positively engaging with each other in this acting job, we sense the disconnect between what is being said and what is being “voiced” in the body language and in the state of being. And we judge that person based on our unconscious awareness. We basically know when another is lying, although we may pretend that what they say is true, because we are playing the same game.
The opposite is true, too. So when we’re talking about a difficult subject with someone and the person before us is not showing signs of wanting to leave—looking at the time, turning aside, disinterest, restlessness, etc., we feel accepted. When the person we’re with is actually paying attention to us, asking questions that reveal more and is at peace, we respond by relaxing even when we don’t register the other’s behavior consciously.
Our energy, our state of being has more effect on others than we know. If we’re at peace, then the other relaxes. If we express caring and support with our words and being-ness, the person knows they’ve been heard. If another is present to us—body, mind, soul and spirit, then that is an affirmation of who we are. It’s not our words that matter, they can easily be belied by our inner state; it’s the state of being behind the words that says more about us than any words we will ever utter.
Think of times when you’ve said one thing, but you didn’t believe in what you were saying. Or when you have outright lied. Or said something to be nice. We think we are safely behind our mask and others can’t see the dichotomy, but unconsciously they feel the disconnect, and trust what we say less.
In seeing ourselves from the where-we-fall-short point of view the thing we overlook most is that we are actually meant to live from a larger self than we usually see in ourselves. So if we fulfill the promises of our creation, then we are love wherever we go, we are living out our purpose—we are needed in this world living as our true selves. When we stay in the small self, we don’t see the epic potential that God has hoped and planned for us. We overlook the effect we can have in a positive way on others as we clean up our own act. And we can be a living invitation for others to step into their larger role in the creation of the kingdom on this earth.
Interestingly, Francis of Assisi once told his followers to preach the Gospel wherever they went and to use words if necessary! When we live the Gospel, we hardly have to say a word, because we live with integrity—the inside and the outside of us are exactly the same. If we speak of love, we are loving inside. If we talk about peace, we are at peace in ourselves. Or if we talk of the trouble we’re having, we expose the troubled part of ourselves. There is no false front; we are what we are.
We’re more afraid of living out of our larger self than we are of our “sins.” We afraid of what God will ask of us that we feel we couldn’t do. We’re afraid, most of all, of losing control of our lives, giving them completely over to God. But this is our task if we want to live fulfilled, purposeful lives where it really does matter if we show up or not, if we give back to God and to others what we are designed to give, if we are loving to all we meet, if we demonstrate how to live in peace by how we live.
It is a radical paradigm shift, a teutonic shift of the “plates” that are the bedrock of our being, a shift from the very limited and very human perspective to a God-centered vision of how he sees the world and us.
Look at the disciples after Jesus died, at loose ends, their leader dead, confused about what to do, huddled together in Jerusalem. See them rudderless, very human. Contrast that with the empowered apostles after Pentecost and the Holy Spirit suddenly and forever dwelling in them, speaking so that a speaker of any language could understand them, healing, teaching, walking their journey as Jesus walked his. They are transformed, vital, no longer rudderless. Their transformation is the same that awaits us: empowered by the Spirit we can live out our destiny as we were created to be.
There no longer is any question about what we are to do and be; there is no longer any wavering; we are captured and captivated by the indwelling Spirit, living in the kingdom of God, that state of mind where we are so wedded to the Lord that we no longer have a clear picture of who we once thought we were. We now see a need and step in to fill it, we listen with an open heart and mind, we love who or what is before us, We are using all our talents and gifts. We speak truth with integrity, no longer trying to hide our weaker side.
It is a total sea change in us. And yet we are still competent in this world, not removed or otherworldly, too good for the human side of things. We are even more human, more engaged, not self-preoccupied.
And we are humble. There is no longer any reason to need to promote ourselves or aggrandize or put down ourselves. We just are who we are, just like every other person on this planet. No advantages we’ve had make any difference. A person’s race is just an interesting item about them that intrigues us. A person’s talents are a given; as is his or her intelligence. A person’s status no longer matters. A person’s job is not important. We are looking for the essence of each person. We don’t elevate anyone or denounce anyone. We just are who we are. Our neighbor is everyone and we love everyone equally.
Questions to ponder over the week: How do I really feel about what God might have in store for me? Is it punishment or love? Judgment or promise to be fulfilled?
Blessing for the week: May we be aware of God’s love for us in all different ways and times. May we be filled with gratitude for our lives and for all God does for us. May we be blessed beyond measure in everything we do.
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