We live in an accomplishment-oriented society. Our identities are wrapped up in what we do in our jobs, what we can produce, how we “contribute to society.” There’s a lot of ego wrapped up this lifestyle–one that tells us that we know who we are because of what we do. Depending upon and feeding our egos, allowing our lives to be ruled by how many people like us, or how much money we make creates an environment of anxiety and fear.
This is an illness. This is not how we’re meant to live.
We learn in Scripture that our identity is not based on our egos, our abilities, or our status. Though we’ve been confused almost from the beginning of time, hiding ourselves, covering ourselves up with fig leaves when we sense God nearby, our confusion is not a permanent condition.
The truth is, God already knows everything about each one of us–as the prayer for purity at the beginning of an Episcopal church service affirms, “to You all hearts are open, all desires known, and from You no secrets are hid.”
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” Matthew 9:35-38
As God sees and knows us, he does not condemn us; he has compassion for our struggle and desires to lead us safely, like a shepherd, into healing. God’s light, God’s presence, is healing–it is the only place we are fully seen, fully known, and fully accepted.
“though Jesus was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7
Our worth is based in the reality of God; we are so precious that God seeks to dwell in each of our hearts, to be so close to each of us that we become like one being.
When we are healed from wondering and worrying about our own abilities and contributions to society into knowing that our worth comes from being God’s precious creation, from being fearfully and wonderfully made, we are truly free.
By losing our lives–refusing to be identified by our job title or bank account–we lose our egos, and we move into the light, into God’s presence without shame.