To fulfill our true potential as part of God’s design we need to get to know God and we need to get to know ourselves. Self-knowledge coupled with an understanding of God’s Holy Will allows us to grow into the people that reflect God’s light and love on earth.
I read an interesting article on True Self by Dr. John T. Chirban Ph.D, Th.D.
Dr. Chirban earned his doctorate in interdisciplinary studies in medicine, psychology, and religion at Harvard University.
Here is an abbreviated excerpt from one of his articles to inspire our reflection. Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/alive-inside/201304/seven-qualities-the-true-self
“Our True Self is defined by seven intrinsic qualities. I initially identified these qualities during my study of Christian anthropology while in seminary. As I went on to study psychology and religion at Harvard, I found that these qualities are confirmed in the great religions of the world and in the modern scientific study of psychology as defining the unique nature of human being. These qualities are:
Spontaneity is our ability to express our self without hindrance. We preserve and develop spontaneity if we feel safe, cherished, and free from distress.
Reasoning is sound thinking; it accounts for our understanding of life and our progress in it.
Creativity is a unique expression of our ability to make something out of our “originality of thought.” Although we cannot, like God, create ex nihilo (“out of nothing”), we have the power to generate and transform things: to convert our ideas into new forms, to make our dreams realities, to shape our self and our world–to inspire, excite, incite, calm, and originate. When we create in connection with God, we feel inspired and empowered.
Free will is our ability to choose.
Spirituality is our response to God’s call–our communication with the spirit of life’s Mystery.
Discernment is our ability to distinguish Good from Evil–and to choose the Good.
Love is the culminating point–where we put the True Self to its greatest use. Love is a profoundly caring and intensely passionate and personal connection that generates respect, honesty, and reciprocity. ”
I would like to share a story from my childhood that caused a powerful man to reconsider his choices in the light of God’s Will.
There was only one time in my childhood when I was sent with a boy to the Principal’s office for discipline. On that morning a young boy decided to throw paint on my beautiful green sweater perhaps as a childish way of making my acquaintance. Needless to say I was not impressed and I used my ‘free will’ to seek revenge. I piled my paint tray up with powdered paint and I threw it on him. I had a small stain on my sweater but my colleague was covered from head to toe. The teacher didn’t waste any time sending us both down to the Principal’s office for discipline.
The Principal didn’t feel my reasoning ‘he started it’ should exonerate me from being disciplined and punished. So he announced we would both be getting ‘the strap’. The Principal in our Catholic School disciplined children with a ‘scourging with the leather strap’. Feeling scared I prayed ‘God save me!’ and that’s when God intervened.
I said, “Sir before you give me the strap you have to ask for my Father’s permission”. The Principal said, “Fine” as he picked up the black telephone on his desk. “What’s his number?” asked the Principal.
I said, “Sir, my Father is God. You can’t phone Him. You have to pray to Him.”
Then there was silence as the Principal began to reflect. After a few seconds of silence the Principal said, “You are dismissed. Return to your class. I want to reflect more on this.”
Perhaps it was on that day that our Principal had a divine revelation. Is scourging little children the best form of discipline? Is it God’s Holy Will that His little children get scourged with a leather strap?
We never got the strap that day and in the following week the Principal made an announcement that the strap was being abolished as a form of discipline. I learned many years later that our Catholic Principal became a very devout Christian.
The way we use our free will, the way we discern God’s will and the way we love project an image to people around us of who we are, but does that image reveal our ‘True Self’.
As a young married woman my jealous husband always asked me this question. In fact I think it was his favorite question and it was “Who do you belong to?”
You can probably guess what the ‘right answer’ was. It was ‘YOU’!
In my forties I grew very close to Jesus and one day when my husband asked me his favorite question: “Who do you belong to?” I said, “Jesus!” and he said, “I know.”
I believe we all belong to one another, but the highest and most important relationship is with God. I pray “Jesus I love You above all things and above all people and I love You within all things and within all people.”
I think if we can strive to see one another as God’s children we become more compassionate and loving and in that way discover the truth that lies within each of us.
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
Dr. Simcha Sheldon, Israeli licensed Clinical Psychologist discusses how people hide their ‘True Self’ by wearing masks. He writes “The masks that we wear often conceal or obscure our inner goodness, and keep us from relating – with ourselves, our families, our friends, with life, with Truth. When we cut ourselves off from Truth and loving-kindness, we can (God forbid) end up with pain, dysfunction, rage, depression, anxiety, despair, and many other physical and psycho-emotional maladies…Masks cause us to feel lonely, alone, and alienated; and sometimes cause us to see ourselves as fakes and impostors. They encourage us to be distrustful and distant. They impede us from experiencing true friendship, love, and intimacy. They keep us from facing ourselves and each other with respect, dignity, and appreciation, and can even lead us into experiencing life as surrealistic. Even worse, some of us become so accustomed to the masks that we stop realizing that they are masks. A person cannot really be and feel shalem (complete), or b’shalom (in inner peace), or b’achdut – (unified) with him/herself or with others, if she/he is wearing masks.” Source https://www.drsimcha.com/celebrating-the-real-self-behind-the-mask-spiritual-psychotherapy-purim/
Let us pray that God reveals to us the ‘masks’ we may be wearing. My Principal in grade school discovered he could be a better leader of children without the need for physical punishment/discipline. I discovered with the help of God and my husband that I really belonged to Jesus and that identity makes me whole. It inspires me as to what I want to do in life. I want to love and I want to be loved. I want to forgive and I want to be forgiven. I want to understand God’s Holy Will and I want to do God’s Holy Will. I want to be all that Jesus wants me to be.
REFLECT ON HOW MUCH YOU ARE LOVED BY DOING THIS DAILY!
Stop at the Time Jesus died for you, 3pm (in your local time zone) to remember Jesus dying for you and me and all that will believe in Him. Pray for all souls to be reconciled to God and to discover that our ‘True Self’ is a reflection of God’s holy image and divine love. We all belong to God and to one another, so let’s love one another by praying for God’s grace to transform us into the people He wants us to be.
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” 1 John 4:16
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