Who are you, really?
We all have a tendency to put on a mask, especially while seeking out the approval of others. But if we continue hiding behind all of those layers, then we will be farther away from finding our truest self. Counselor and pastor Chuck DeGroat shares helpful insight on the importance of vulnerability and discovering your true self from his book Wholeheartedness.
“I think what Thomas Merton would say is that that’s not your true self; that’s just another that’s just another self of yours. He says, ‘The true self is the self that exists in union with Christ.’ It’s the deepest you in Christ, who is living out of those fruits of the Spirit- gentleness and kindness and self-control, etc.”
We all have different parts of ourselves that we show in a variety of different contexts. Chuck elaborates on this truth by using a personal example,
“A couple of years ago I came in as a faculty of the seminary, for years I’ve been a pastoral ministry. I don’t have a PhD from some big name school like the rest of my colleagues, so sometimes when I walk into a faculty meeting there’s a part of me that feels about 8 years old. That guy wants to just hide under the table.”
“There’s another part of me that says, ‘Well I’ll just joke, I’ll just say some funny things and they’ll like me,’ so this funny guy shows up.
“Then there’s this kind of academic part of me that says ‘If I just throw in a really good question with some theological idea well then they’ll like me.'”
Chuck was struggling to be well-received from his colleagues and felt the need to wear a mask, until he realized that he was doing himself a disservice.
“I’m not giving myself over vulnerably and trusting that I’ll be received, I’m just kind of wearing whatever masks fits for the circumstances. You can see if you live like that it is exhausting.”
There will be times in life where people won’t receive us for who we are, but we need to remember that our identity is in Christ. Chuck has learned this valuable lesson along the way and encourages us to be reminded of the truth.
“I think that I don’t live with as much fear of that now, because I’ve seen what can happen, I’ve been there and I guess what? I’m OK. I’ve got two beautiful daughters, I’ve got a good job, I’ve got a few books out, I’m OK. More than that external stuff, I’m OK because my home is in Christ, so that’s what matters.”