Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Created to Be

One of the ongoing struggles in my life - and probably in yours - is the tension that I feel between who God created me to be and what God created me for. 

We are all wired a certain way, a way that God needed to wire us for us to fill the us-shaped hole in His creation. Like Esther, we were made for such a time as this, whether we understand it or not. And most of us spend our lives trying to discover who we are, how we're wired, and how to live with that. 

Me, I am wired in such a way that I have a high sense of justice. Of right and wrong. Of order. I look at the world and see, instinctively, where it is broken and how it could be better. How it could be fixed. I see what is wrong, and I know how easily what is right would fix it. I am heartbroken over the poor decisions, the poor systems, the general poverty of this world that keeps human beings trapped in things they are desperate to get out of. 

When I look at this world, I see the little guy first. I see the forgotten, the broken, the downtrodden, the ridiculed, the hopeless, the weak, the sick, the lame. I see those whose burdens are heavier than their strongest muscle, whose darkness seems somehow impervious to the light. 

This is how God created me. This is the burden He gave me to bear. 

And this does two things to me: 

First, it makes me a jerk sometimes. It makes me a jerk because it's so obvious to me what's wrong and how to fix it. It makes me a jerk because I want the world to do the right thing, and I don't understand why it refuses to do so. It makes me a jerk because I can easily come to a place where I demand a wrong be righted, an error be corrected, an injustice be made right. I ask for things that seem so obvious, so simple, and if they are not granted, I can get really self-righteous and write you off as an idiot...and that makes me a jerk. 

Second, it makes me miserable. It's hard for me to understand why something so obvious goes completely off your radar so much that you can't even see it. It's hard for me to understand why you won't just listen to me and fix things. It's hard for me to understand how we have settled for so much brokenness in our world - not only settled for it, but we seem to accept it. Am I really surrounded by a world that doesn't want better things for itself? How does someone like me even deal with that? 

My misery is only complicated by the first reality - that is, I am even more miserable because I know the way God has created me is making me a bit of a jerk, and I'm not really a jerk and I don't want to be one, but sometimes, it feels like the only way to get the world to listen is to be brash about it. And then, I immediately regret it and, well, here I am. Miserable again. 

Because this world is broken, and so am I, and there's nothing I can do about it. 

But one of the things that I'm learning in this season is that it doesn't have to be this way. Not only does it not have to be this way, but it's not supposed to be this way. 

Most of us figure out who we are, and we decide that's just our burden to bear. That we have to figure out how to live with the things we cannot change about ourselves because fundamentally, who God created us to be must be what He created us for. So maybe God created me to a be a loud-mouth jerk with a high sense of justice who can't stop putting her foot in her mouth and who is doomed to go to bed every night both regretting her decisions and mourning over a broken world. 

That's not, though, how God intended me to live. It's not how He intended any of us to live. 

We think that what we were created for is tied to how we were created to be, but that is just so slightly (yet, dramatically and painfully) off. And if we can make this shift in our heads and our hearts, it will change our entire experience of our existence...and the trajectory of our witness in the world.  

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