Holiness doesn't come so much from our striving, but from our being. We are encouraged to 'be holy as God is holy" (1 Peter 1.16). To be holy means to be set apart. Clearly, God is set apart because God knows really well how to be God! Where things get messed up in my life (and this world) is when I "trespass against God" and try to do God's job for God. Yea, it doesn't work so well.
To be holy or set apart means to be your True Self. Think about it - the thing that sets a border collie apart from a St. Bernard is it's inbred herding instinct. Whereas the St. Bernard is a St. Bernard when it's infracting personal boundaries, sitting on the nearest human feet and drooling spit bombs all over the house. Similarly, a tulip is "holy" when it is being a tulip and not a sunflower. I am most holy when I am being Paula as God designed Paula to be - not trying to be Brene Brown or Robin Jones Gunn or Rachel Held Evans. I appreciate all these ladies creativity and profundity in this world - but I am not them. I cannot be holy if I'm trying to be someone other than who I am.
Clearly, then, a huge part of being holy is discovering my real self. What are the ways God has wired me? What are my natural rhythms and talents and treasures? What is helps me to live most fully alive and bring meaning to others? What gets in the way of these things? If I wasn't so concerned with what everyone else thought of me, what would my natural ways of being, working, loving be?
What has helped me most to discover who I really am is three-fold:
- I participate in Spiritual Direction
- I have done some soul work around the Enneagram - learning better the patterns of what happens when I "disintegrate" and learning practices that help me integrate and grow.
- I check in regularly through the practice of Examen by reflecting on with what brings me life and what drains me. Then, I utilize the result to try and align my life with more of the former and less of the latter.
- What strikes you most from this offering?
- Revisit the questions a few paragraphs above - how would you answer some of these things?
- Consider investing in your soul and self development by working with a Spiritual Director.
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